ImaginArt in the Alleys

City of Marion

Funding Received: 2014
Marion, IA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
October 7, 2016

Cedar Rapids artist John Schwartzkopf’s woodworking studio was inundated during the flood of 2008, but the bulk of his equipment, tools and materials were safe upstairs in the historic Cherry Building when the Cedar River crested above flood stage again in September. John was busy fabricating 2 benches and a gateway feature for the 11th Street entrance into the project site when he and other tenants were forced to suspend work and move their belongings to the hallways upstairs. Fortunately most of the New Bo area was protected this time around, but small business owners like John remain stressed due to lost productivity.

John Schwarzkopf’s project titled Alley Gateway consists of a roofed structure that forms a porch-like entrance between adjacent buildings. The differing heights of architectural features gave rise to the asymmetrical design. Homage is paid to the historical context by using related materials while also reflecting a contemporary look rather than a pastiche of the design of adjacent structures. The two benches placed within the alley reflect the design of the gateway feature and offer pedestrians a place to linger. While majoring in Philosophy and Anthropology in college, John Schwarzkopf was doing woodworking. His artwork was first shown at local galleries and the Marion Arts Festival, which jumpstarted his career. He now shows at galleries around the Midwest and his work is held in many private and public spaces, notably Cedar Rapids institutions.