Martin Jones of Charles City is one of those people who make you proud of your northeast Iowa roots. Solid and self-effacing with a quick wit, one immediately feels at ease in his presence. That's a good thing because under that comfortable demeanor is a skilled artist of no small measure. The results of his artistic impulse are being featured in the current Temporary Exhibit at the Carnegie Cultural Center in New Hampton entitled "WoodSong- carvings by Martin Jones". On display through mid-April, the exhibit includes naturalistic as well as decorative carvings executed mostly in basswood and butternut. Largely self-taught, Jones took advantage of Iowa Arts Council grants to hone his skills under woodcarver Ivan Whillock in Faribault, MN. He also took advantage of chip carving workshops offered by the Vesterheim in Decorah. In the end, detailed sculptures in the round and deeply carved reliefs have become hallmarks of Martin's distinctive carving style.
Martin's contribution to the Carnegie is like a double dip ice cream cone, however. The occasion of his temporary exhibit coincides with the opening of a new Permanent Exhibit, "Paths and Power" that traces the development of farm to market roads and highways in the Chickasaw County area. An impressive display of models of road building equipment masterfully crafted in wood by Jones highlights the new exhibit. Carnegie Cultural Center Volunteer Administrator, Juanita Andersen, comments, "Martin is a 'hidden treasure.' His carvings are beautiful and fluid and his woodworking pieces are stunning examples of skill perfected. We are excited to tribute his creativity in "WoodSong" and are very appreciative of the contribution his wood models are making to "Paths and Power."
An artist reception is slated for Sunday, March 3 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm at the Cultural Center. Woodcarvers, woodworkers, lovers of nature, heavy equipment aficionados and the general public are all invited to attend, take in the exhibits, meet the artist and enjoy refreshments.
The Carnegie Cultural Center is located at 7 N. Water Ave. in New Hampton. It is open Thursdays noon to 6; Saturdays 10 am - 4 pm; Sundays 1 - 4 pm; or any time by appointment. Admission is free. For more information, or to schedule a tour, call the Center at (641) 394-2354, email email@example.com or visit the websitehttp://www.carengieculturalcenter.org/
PHOTO: Master carver and woodworker, Martin Jones holds his wooden model of a road grader while posing in front of some of his woodcarvings currently on display at the Carnegie Cultural Center.