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COVID & the Arts: Figge Goes Virtual

Even though the building is closed, the Figge Art Museum in Davenport is still "open." During the pandemic, it's offering tours, art lessons, and other activities online.

Membership and Database Manager, Tessa Pozzi, says audio descriptions of some of the artworks were already available for tours in the museum, they just had to move them online.

Credit Figge Art Museum

"So we just decided well we can use that remotely - people can just call into it,  or have the link right to that webpage that we have for that mobile audio tour, and use it in their homes. What a great way to still be able to bring our collection out to people."

One example is the famous Tiffany window, done for the Denkmann family mausoleum, that was stolen from Chippianock Cemetery in the 1970's,and only recovered 20 years later.

"Tiffany frequently used the peaceful "River of Life" motif in memorial windows. Its meditative subject matter was appropriate for churches and cemeteries. Notice the beautiful composition of this scene, with the trees forming a frame."

Credit Figge Art Museum

Another is "Study of a Cow" by a French artist, Rosa Bonheur.

"As a young child she could sketch but had trouble learning to read. Her mother taught her by having her draw an animal for each letter of the alphabet. Bonheur attributed her love of drawing animals to this." 

Pozzi says normally staff from the Figge go to local schools to lead classes in art education. But that's had to move online too. 

"She's in her house and she's giving a little art lesson and then at the end of the video is her teaching an art project that people can do easily in their home with their children or even do it themselves. They're very fun."
The museum sends out images from its collection to 7,000 people each day, and is accepting submissions, online for a virtual art exhibition. 


Formerly the arts and entertainment reporter for The Dispatch/Rock Island Argus and Quad-City Times, Jonathan Turner now writes freelance for WVIK and QuadCities.com. He has experience writing for daily newspapers for 32 years and has expertise across a wide range of subject areas, including government, politics, education, the arts, economic development, historic preservation, business, and tourism. He loves writing about music and the arts, as well as a multitude of other topics including features on interesting people, places, and organizations. He has a passion for accompanying musicals, singers, choirs, and instrumentalists. He even wrote his own musical based on The Book of Job, which premiered at Playcrafters in 2010. He wrote a 175-page history book about downtown Davenport, which was published by The History Press in 2016. Turner was honored in 2009 to be among 24 arts journalists nationwide to take part in a 10-day fellowship offered by the National Endowment for the Arts in New York City on classical music and opera, based at Columbia University’s journalism school.
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