The Winterset Art Center is governed by a volunteer board of directors. We meet monthly at the Art Center on the 4th Thursday of each month at 7:00 pm. Meetings are open to all and we encourage participation by all members of the community.
Our Mission: The Winterset Art Center is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to art education, to the history and preservation of local art and artists, and promotion of artistic endeavor in Winterset, Madison County and the state of Iowa.
Current Board of Directors
History of the Winterset Art Center
In October of 1958, a group of Winterset citizens were having a discussion around the coffee bar in Good’s Bakery on the west side of the square. The subject was an evening painting class being held at South Ward by instructor Don Thomas. Thoughts were focusing on the idea that having a permanent place to meet, which would allow people to learn, work and discuss art would be a benefit to all. Thus was the beginning of what today is the Winterset Art Center.
Plans were formulated and details worked out. In November in rooms above the Madisonian’s Court Avenue location, the first general meeting was held. The organizers, Don Thomas, June Kaser, Dorothy Good, Ethel Lee Osborn, Yvonne Meyer, Elton King, Jennie Thrift, Mary Winjum, Mayme Jones and the Revered Steinmetz formed the first board of directors with June as their chair. The following year found the meetings moved to the basement of the K&K Laundromat at 53 Jefferson, and by 1961 membership was up to fifty-six.
1961 was the year that Dorothy Good and June Kaser looked at an old house in rather sorry condition on South First Street. One of the oldest structures in Winterset, the old home had a charm and local lore of being linked with the Underground Railway aiding runaway slaves. The 1854 building didn’t bring enough bids to sell at auction, and by negotiations with the attorney for the estate, a deal was reached. Sixty days were given to raise the $1500 down payment and five years to raise the balance. The property was purchased and the Art Center had a home. Over the following years much effort was put forth by the members to renovate the building and to pay off the mortgage through fundraising efforts of every description. A building was added behind the home to be used for pottery classes, the old barn was also converted into a classroom and eventually the two outbuildings were connected as they are today.
Over subsequent years the Winterset Art Center was incorporated as a recognized non-profit organization. The Art Center of today is a cumulative effort of the work of hundreds of members and the support of the community over many decades. In its history it has offered a place for artists to meet, work, and exchange ideas. Classes have been offered in a wide spectrum of artistic expressions appealing to beginners as well as more experienced artists. For many, the informal atmosphere of the various workshops have perfectly suited their needs.
With over a half century behind us, the Winterset Art Center is looking forward to continued service to the community and support of the arts in Madison County.
By maintaining a strong sense of our history and heritage while at the same time looking forward with excitement to the future directions that art may take us, the Winterset Art Center boldly undertakes its second half-century.
Founding Board Members
We are eternally grateful to our founding board members for their leadership and lasting vision: Don Thomas, June Kaser, Dorothy Good,
Elton King, Jennie Thrift, Mary Winjum, Yvonne Meyer, Mayme Jones, Rev. Steinmetz, and Ethel Lee Osborn.