Art and design students put the ‘Goth’ in American Gothic

Photos by student Todd Cross

Mount Mercy University art and design students and faculty are helping celebrate Iowa artist Grant Wood’s 125th birthday with entries into Overalls All Over and 2x2xU.

Overalls All Over

After 75 collective hours of work, the “American Gothic” inspired statue is ready to be showcased during Overalls All Over, Cedar Rapids’ public art program dedicated to Wood. The university’s contribution comes out of much hard work and generosity.

The statue was donated by King’s Material president and Mount Mercy board of trustees member Charles Rohde. King’s also provided the concrete bases for all 24 of the Overalls All Over statues on display around Cedar Rapids this summer.

Mount Mercy art and design program students and faculty volunteered to design and paint the piece—most of the work took place over Spring Break—which will be proudly displayed on Mount Mercy’s campus. Faculty project advisors Kathryn Hagy and Jose Clemente, and students Lauren Brunson, Emma Bojorquez-Oldenburg, Gabriel Acosta, Mariah Kidd, Molly Metz, and Njenga collaborated on the project.

The life-size fiberglass statue took on a gothic theme, mirroring the iconic painting’s name. The woman—Wood’s daughter in real life—and man—Wood’s dentist—don tattoos, necklaces and ear piercings. To represent Mount Mercy’s most popular programs, the student-artists included organs and bones. And as a nod to Rohde and King’s you’ll find a crown in one of the tattoos.

“We’re so thankful for Mr. Rohde’s donation and President Hamen for allowing us to take on the project,” said Acosta, graphic design major and Art Club president. “We’re excited for the opportunity to show our artistic talent to the Cedar Rapids and national community—to show everyone we’re a little program that does big things.”

You can find Mount Mercy’s design on the Donnelly Center patio across from the Sisters of Mercy University Center from May 8 until Labor Day. Learn more about the project and find a map of the statues at

2x2xU “My Grant Wood”

In keeping with the Grant Wood theme, 21 students and two faculty members submitted pieces to 2x2xU, Cedar Rapids’ annual celebration in the New Bohemia District.

For the 13th year, the district will be transformed into a giant art gallery of 2x2 foot wood panels hanging in storefront windows, painted in response to the year’s theme “My Grant Wood.”

Mount Mercy students involved include Acosta, Metz, Bojorquez-Oldenburg, Njenga, Brunson, Kidd, Alicia Livingston, Alyssa James and son Grayson, Andre Vicuna, Brianna Paup, Cassandra Neff, Mason Evans, Nicole Petersen, Leslie Hoffmann, Quinton Sims, Jake Herndon, Kelsey Bills, Abbey Konzen, Anna Rohde, Kathryn Weiland, Jacey Cummings, and Abby Johnson. Faculty include Clemente and his daughter Amaris, along with Hagy and her son and daughter Ashwin and Priya.

The pieces will be on display May 21–September 3.

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