Review, voting on public art concepts for Mulberry/2nd Street roundabout set to begin

The three proposed concepts for the Mulberry/2nd Street intersection. [courtesy @CityOfMuscatine]

Citizens of Muscatine will have an opportunity to review and vote on three public art concepts being considered for the center circle of the Mulberry and 2nd Street Roundabout.

The concepts and additional information will be available online and at select in person locations from Wednesday, December 1, 2021, through January 10, 2022.

The online survey provides details about each artist and the proposed concept and can be accessed at In-person voting will be available at the Musser Public Library and HNI Community Center, the Muscatine Art Center, and Sunrise Galleries. Informational posters will be displayed at these in-person voting locations.

The Muscatine Public Art Advisory Commission published a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) in 2020 seeking artists to prepare concepts for public art in the center circle of the roundabout with 17 artists from Iowa and throughout the United States responding.

After consulting with City departments to help ensure that each artist was capable of carrying out a large-scale project, the Advisory Commission selected three artists to submit concepts including Daniel Miller of Iowa City, Iowa, Nathan Pierce of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and Greg Mueller of Lutsen Mountain, Minnesota.

“The Advisory Commission carefully reviewed the materials submitted by the artists,” Melanie Alexander, City staff liaison to the Public Art Advisory Commission and Director of the Muscatine Art Center, said. “We were looking for artists with a record of successful public art commissions and with the ability to create something unique for Muscatine.”

The three artists all found inspiration in Muscatine’s relationship to the Mississippi River.

Mueller and Miller both referenced Mark Twain with Miller incorporating Twain’s bust into his piece while Mueller drew on Twain’s quote about the sunsets in Muscatine.

Miller’s concept also integrates a steamboat and a series of buttons along with the flow of the Mississippi River.

Daniel Miller – Old Man River

Mueller researched the name “Muscatine” and found that the name means “island of fire” in Native American language.

Greg Mueller – Fire Island

For Pierce, his life on the Mississippi River in Missouri made the creation of his concept, “Zenith,” especially meaningful.

Nathan Pierce – Zenith

The applicants provided information about themselves, examples of their completed projects, and a statement explaining their interest in the project.

“This project is one of the first projects managed through the Public Art Advisory Commission,” Alexander said. “It was critical that the selected artists have the capabilities to carry out a project of this scale and complexity.”

All three artists have completed multiple public art projects.

Mueller received his Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in Sculpture from Montana State University School of Art. He has held several academic appointments and has exhibited throughout the Midwest.

Miller is the Program Head of Sculpture and Intermedia at The School of Art and Art History for the University of Iowa. He earned his MFA in Time Arts from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. His works have also been shown in solo exhibitions in Illinois and Rhode Island and in group exhibitions throughout the United States and in South Korea and China.

Pierce received his Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Sculpture from Southeast Missouri State University. His work is held in collections or installed in public places in Florida, Indiana, Georgia, Missouri, South Dakota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Alabama, Kansas, and Canada.

The three selected artists participated in an online meeting in May 2021 and worked on their proposals through summer 2021. A stipend of $750 was paid to each artist. The stipend was provided through a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine.

Each artist provided a detailed proposal including the inspiration for their concept, concept drawings, a detailed budget, dimensions and materials for the piece, and a list of other concerns such as lighting and mounting.

The first opportunity to vote on the concepts took place during the IDEAdash events on November 16.

Questions regarding the public art concepts for the roundabout may be directed to the Muscatine Art Center. Please call 563-263-8282 or email Melanie Alexander at