The end of the “God Bless America” sculpture’s time in Anamosa came May 20, and it came quickly.
The 25-foot sculpture of Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” couple arrived at the green space in between Wapsi Physical Therapy and Remley, Willems, McQuillen & Voss, L.L.P. 11 months earlier and was met with great fanfare. Community members came out and supported it with a huge event, including ice cream, music, t-shirts for sale, art activities, photo opportunities and a dunk tank.
Its departure was much more muted.
Due to a mix-up in communication, the first time Anamosa Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director LeeAnna Boone said she was made aware of its imminent removal was just five days before representatives from Seward Johnson Atelier began deconstructing it.
“They were supposed to let me know when it was going to be going, and there was some miscommunication. So, none of us knew until Thursday that it was going to be taken,” Boone said.
During its 11-month stay, the sculpture was a gathering point. Community events were held in the area surrounding it, and it served as the backdrop for many photo opportunities for vacationing tourists and locals alike. A proposal was even held at the sculpture. Feedback Boone got from the downtown businesses spoke to the fact that the fixture was a draw for the community.
Over the course of the removal, community members stopped to watch the progress and take one last photo of the massive 25-foot sculpture.
“I felt we did the stuff that we could in the timeframe that we had,” Boone said.
After being loaded up on the trucks, the sculptures made their way to their next destination: the Peoria Riverfront Museum in Illinois.
The sculpture may be gone, but the hope is it will return soon.
“Definitely sad to see it go, but the endgame is to get it back here,” Boone said.
Even without the sculpture leaving, the pickets painted to provide a backdrop for the sculpture will likely remain and plans to raise funds for the sculpture to make its permanent home in the heart of Grant Wood Country continue to move forward.
A fundraiser to help pay to get the sculpture to Anamosa permanently will be June 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the space where the sculpture stood. The event is a juried art show, featuring local artists, music, food and art activities.