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Great Dysart Gorge coming to Main Street

April 20, 2018
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Dysart Reporter

Main Street is set to transformed into a deep gorge in a matter of days later this spring, an illusion of a gorge that is.

The Great Dysart Gorge, an anamorphic illusion, is a street art that will give the impression of a gorge down Main Street between Clark Street and Wilson Street. The art will be painted by Mary Behrens, who hopes to draw more visitors to Dysart's main street as the pass along Highway 21.

"Last year, Iowa Economic Development did a walk-around assessment of Dysart and the assessment looked at pluses and minuses in our community," Behrens said. "Branding was one of things they said we need to polish up on and visuals were another thing. I got involved and thought we should look at big cities. I saw some amazing stuff out there and thought we could do it with the support of the city council and businesses.

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Behrens has worked in art for 36 years and recently became involved in Vision Dysart, a steering committee sponsored by the Dysart Development Corporation (DDC), to help find "inventive new ways to help contribute to the betterment of Dysart now and into the future." Behren's proposed the idea of street art starting with The Great Dysart Gorge. The site for the art was chosen because of no residential driveways and can be blocked off of traffic.

"We wanted something with high impact, something visually curious," Behrens said. "This is a piece of art people are going to stop and look at in Dysart and can participate in it."

Over time, the art will be affected by cars driving over it and weather damage, but Behrens and Janet Wilson of Vision Dysart are confident some touch-up will keep The Great Dysart Gorge alive for many years.

"We will have salt on it over the winter, scraping and other damages, but it should be much easier to repair than starting from scratch again," Wilson said.

Behrens further explained the project is not as complicated as it looks and mainly relies on the visuals for its effects. Most of the cost involved with the project is the paint for The Great Dysart Gorge, which volunteers and area businesses like Custom Creation have begun donating to make the project a reality. CNC Lumber has also donated tarps for the project. Both Behrens and Wilson are still looking for latex paint, oil-based primers, brushes and able bodies.

"We have 10 people from Dysart signed up to help us," Wilson said. "Then the Union High School art teacher is very interested in the educational value of this, so she is going to plan a field trip and invite all her art students to help."

The Great Dysart Gorge is the first in several project ideas developed by Behrens and Vision Dysart. During the city council meeting on Wednesday, April 12, Behrens proposed another anamorphic art project in Dysart Park at a later date and more leading up to Dysart's sesquicentennial.

"I'm really thrilled to be doing this for the community," Behrens said. "If I lived in a really big city, this would takes years just to get the paperwork."

According to Behrens and Wilson, The Great Dysart Gorge is set to be completed by mid-May with a ribbon cutting ceremony on May 27 barring any bad weather. For more information, contact Mary Behrens at 319-476-3310 or Janet Wilson at 319-239-8009.



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