Work in Art Project

An idea stemmed from Bob Rose to create a collection of abstract art from local professions based off of the Olympic Art Collection spearheaded by Anheuser Busch in 1984. Here is a little background of this collaboration:

  • The Olympic Art Collection toured the country to raise money to help train U.S. athletes for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
  • Each of the six original canvases were created by the artists using the "tools of their trade" the discus, hockey stick, running shoes and other devices.
  • The artists were basketball great Bill Russell, track star Wilma Rudolph, swimmer John Naber, discus thrower Al Oerter, hockey player Mike Eruzione and distance runner Frank Shorter.
  • The Olympic artwork program was part of a three-year promotion by Budweiser, flagship beer of the Anheuser-Busch brewery. It was hoped this program would help raise the $1 million needed to finance the U.S. Olympic Teams preparations for the 1984 games.
  • The originals were sold for a total of $86,500 in a 1981 auction. They were immediately taken on a national tour to help raise more funds and public awareness for next summer's Olympic Games.

Artist of this collection include:

Bob Rose from Arts on Grand, Sheriffa Jones from Spencer Chamber of Commerce, Nancy Naeve from Spencer Main Street, Stephanie Horsley from Clay County Heritage Center, Amanda Mack from City of Spencer, Kevin Brown from Grand Avenue Community Outreach, Mandie Muehlhausen from Spencer Public Library, Sarah Andresen from Spencer Community Theatre, Adam Coates from Spencer Golf & Country Club, Jeremy Parsons from Clay County Fair & Events Center and Nathan Prenzlow from Spencer Family YMCA.

Please note some of the collection is still available to make your own. Call the gallery or stop in to make a bid.


Nathan Prenzlow
Spencer Family YMCA

FOR ALL, 2020
Acrylic on canvas

We are calling this painting FOR ALL.

The YMCA strengthens the foundations of community by creating an environment where everyone comes together through our three areas of focus: youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

This piece was created for the Work in Art Project. 2020.10


Starting Bid of $50


Sheriffa Jones
Executive Director
Spencer Chamber of Commerce

Links, 2020
Acrylic on canvas

I have learned, in less than a year as Executive Director at the Spencer Chamber, that no two days are alike.  This is especially true with the rollercoaster ride of 2020.

I used a four-foot piece of heavy chain to “paint” what the Chamber profession is like.  I moved the chain with each color (the Chamber is active and collaborative); however it always stayed grounded. I chose the chain because the Chamber works to create a network and link businesses and individuals with other businesses and individuals. I started with green and had a plan in mind of how I would paint the chain and by the end of applying the first color, my method had changed.  In general, I think this is true in the Chamber and business world; and certainly has been true in 2020 - have a plan and be ready for a ‘few’ back-up scenarios.  We work to execute as best as possible. Be ready for criticism and additional obstacles.

I used four full intensity colors.  These colors are: green, purple, yellow, and orange. The colors mimic that of the new Chamber logo and they also signify:

Green - growth, stability, support and strength especially with our partner organizations.
Purple - the tradition of the Chamber. We’ve been in existence for 130 years.
Yellow - leading and carrying the torch of the business community.  It is creativity, inspiration and encouragement.
Orange - represents enthusiasm, creativity, determination, success, encouragement, and stimulation; symbolic of strength and endurance.
Blue - is one of our key branding colors and while it is not evident as blue, blue goes into making green and purple.
Yellow is the only primary color that is used.  This is to signify that we have forged ahead in 2020 under new direction with the strategic plan, brand, website, and leadership.  That despite restraints (chain also signifies) that we can expand our horizons and think of new improved ways of conducting business (dare I say ZOOM).  I used all three of the secondary colors (green, purple, and orange).  We (the Chamber, individuals, businesses) have reinvented ourselves in 2020 and have determined other ways to continue life and business as “normal” as possible.  We mixed/shook things up (all three colors are made with primarily colors) these past seven months.

This work of art is also representative of how we have had to be continuously creative this year - our right brains are getting a workout.  The “so we can’t do this, why not try that?”  It’s been like testing spaghetti noodles - throw it and see what sticks.  In my mind there were a few “mistakes” in this piece; however, you wouldn’t necessarily know them and I kept on.  As a wise person I once worked for would remind me, “forward, always forward.”  And this is what it’s like working with the tools of the Chamber - ever moving, connecting, and strengthening the (business) community.

This piece was created for the Work in Art Project. 2020.4


Starting Bid of $50

Falling for Spencer

Bob Rose
Board Treasurer
Arts on Grand

Falling for Spencer, 2020
Acrylic on canvas

First, I want to say a big Thank You to Tara and Arts on Grand for listening to a rather crazy idea I had about various Community Leaders doing a poster depicting their thought, ideas, describing their particular business or profession. This idea was based on a promotion Anheuser Busch (Budweiser), did 40 years ago as a method of generating support for the 1984 Olympics. I am utterly amazed at the response and the quality of the artistic talent displayed. Thank you all for participating.

My poster is a depiction of my daily walking activity with a subtle reminder of the fact that some of the trails need repair. An effort to address this need is ongoing as you all well know. Yes, I did take a bad fall about five years ago when I tripped over a fallen branch on the trail. Nothing hurt except a bruised forehead, both eyes blackened, and my pride took the longest to recover. A good lesson for all of us is to be extremely careful of all foreign objects that may cause injury.

Once again, a big Thank You to all who participated and building on the success of this first effort, I believe it has possibilities for expansion in the future.

Thanks again, Bob Rose

This piece was created for the Work in Art Project. 2020.11


Starting Bid of $50

Blue Ribbon Towers

Jeremy Parsons
Clay County Fair & Events Center

Blue Ribbon Towers, 2020
Acrylic on canvas

Painting of the Clay County Fair’s Historic Gate A. Actual fair blue ribbons were used as paint brushes.

This piece was created for the Work in Art Project. 2020.6


Starting Bid of $50


Nancy Naeve
Main Street Director
Spencer Main Street

Footprints, 2020
Acrylic on canvas

This painting was meant to exemplify some of the great things in Downtown Spencer! Our iconic Art Deco light poles, our new high tech roofline lights, the importance of shopping local, our ever popular wine stroll and my 3 wiener dogs. All things I love. And in the middle my foot prints. I can only hope my work as Main Street Director will leave a positive foot print on my hometown as I follow in the footsteps of my dear friend, the beloved Bob Rose.

This piece was created for the Work in Art Project. 2020.8


Writing History

Stephanie Horsley
Executive Director
Clay County Heritage Center

Writing History, 2020
Acrylic on canvas

This piece of artwork was designed to reflect the amount of writing my position as Director at Clay County Heritage entails. Using my fingers dipped in paint, I typed the mission of Clay County Heritage, "To collect, preserve, and interpret Clay County History for the education and enjoyment of the public" across the canvas. Other phrases I typed included the importance of Christian faith in my life and work. The feather quill design represents historical writing done hundreds of years ago. The colors chosen for this piece were a gray/green, gold, white, and teal, which are found either in the Clay County Heritage logo or in the Heritage Center building.

This piece was created for the Work in Art Project. 2020.7


Watering For the Future

Amanda Mack
City Manager
City of Spencer

Watering For the Future, 2020
Acrylic on canvas

Giant timber bamboo takes five years of diligent watering and nurturing before it shoots out of the ground at an impressive speed. Bamboo must be watered every day, and the farmer must trust that her work of watering and caring for the see will be enough to yield a great harvest. City Management is a lot like growing bamboo. Growing our communities take time, patience, love grace and a lot of faith.

I used, like most City Managers in our daily work, the tools I had available to me to complete this art project: sponges, computer paper, brushes, and the hands of two little boys who are always eager to jump in and help.

You’ll notice the large bamboo front and center (It may look like corn. I promise it is bamboo!) This is the crux of my work. Watering the seeds that we, as a community, have planted to continue to grow and be prosperous. In the background you will see outlines of a neighborhood. Again, our work is leading us to community growth and development. The green grass is representative of future growth, and also a hat tip to our Northwest Iowa roots. The yellow is the sun, providing warmth and peace in what can be challenging times. The blue is the water we use to grow our bamboo and ALSO represents the rainstorms that come into our lives. As we know, rainstorms don’t last forever, and can often lead to beautiful rainbows.

The bamboo reminds me, that even in our darkest of days, there is hope for the future.

This piece was created for the Work in Art Project. 2020.9


Repurposed Through Faith

Kevin Brown
Executive Director
Grand Avenue Community Outreach

Repurposed Through Faith, 2020
Acrylic on canvas

First off - I am very grateful to my 5-year-old son, Oscar for coming to the studio with me tonight to offer his artistic advice and talent that ultimately assisted in my process for this piece. He decided that we really needed some grass at the bottom of the canvas, and then helped with the multiple colors dancing across the top.

From there I chose to incorporate the color schemes from two of our more popular services – the community meal program (black & yellow) and the food/clothing outreaches (red & blue) to create a collage across the center of the canvas. Then it became apparent that we needed to signify the reason WHY we do what we do at Grand Avenue Community Outreach: Jesus and the Cross, so you will find 2 of them within the painting to signify His death and resurrection. This is similar to what we see from time to time in our building as people repurpose themselves. Their old life dies and they are re-born with a new attitude and outlook upon life.

That leaves us with the dots on the far-right side. Quite frankly; we had some white space that needed something, so we cleaned the brush over there..….enjoy!

This piece was created for the Work in Art Project. 2020.1


A Book is My Favorite Place

Mandie Muehlhausen
Spencer Public Library

A Book is My Favorite Place, 2020
Acrylic on canvas

This piece was a challenge for me, because I am not an abstract artist at all. In fact, I'm the exact opposite. I love lots of detail in my art, and while I very much appreciate abstract art, I struggle with the concept and creation of it. I started in one direction with this piece, and I was not at all happy with the way it was going. Until I started thinking about the emotions that my favorite places in books made me feel.  When I read, it is as if the words are instantly translated into a movie in my mind.  So, I made my best attempt at harnessing the emotion and energy of a few of my favorite literary places.  Places that I've fled to when life has gotten difficult. Oz, Hogwart's, Hobbit, on the ocean, a hidden paradise. My painting turned in a completely different direction and resulted in the piece that you now see.  So I hope it evokes in you the same feelings of warmth, curiosity and mystery that those books did for me.  And I hope that you also, have a favorite place.

This piece was created for the Work in Art Project. 2020.3


The Light

Sarah Andresen
Office Manager
Spencer Community Theatre

The Light, 2020
Acrylic on canvas

This piece was created for the Work in Art Project. 2020.2


The Clock

Adam Coates
PGA Golf Professional
Spencer Golf & Country Club

The Clock, 2020
Acrylic on canvas

I decided it would be most fitting to paint a golf scene that represents the community of Spencer. The four sided post clock pictured was donated to the Country Club by good friends of mine and was added to the #1 tee box this summer. Anyone who has been to SGCC recently to notice it would instantly identify the location of this painting scene. Spencer has many beautiful buildings, posts, light poles, etc. that add charm and character to the community and the four sided post clock at SGCC can be added to that list.

To create, I used only items that a golfer would have with them while golfing on the course!

- golf glove
- golf towel
- golf tees
- golf ball
- ball marker (coin)
- grass blades (golfers throw grass in the air to gauge wind direction)

This piece was created for the Work in Art Project. 2020.5