The Iowa State Fair through the lens of writer, photographer Kurt Ullrich – Voice Of Muscatine


Maquoketa, Iowa, artist Kurt Ullrich will open an exhibition in the Musser House galleries at the Muscatine Art Center on June 13, 2024. His exhibit will explore the Iowa State Fair through photography.

Ullrich’s art career started when he became the photographer for collegiate publications at Wartburg College in the 1970s. As a writer and photographer, he uses both mediums to tell stories and for many decades his written newspaper columns, accompanied by his photos, have appeared regularly in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Baltimore Sun, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Houston Chronicle, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, The Iowan among others.

The exhibit includes 50 delightful photographs featured in his book The Iowa State Fair published by the University of Iowa Press.

“I see the Iowa State Fair as an important part of the history of the state and as a fan, I created a photo book to cover the event,” Ullrich said. “The purpose of the first agricultural fairs in the early 1800s was to introduce early American farmers to some of the best agricultural practices and farm animals. As fairs grew and became family affairs, women were asked to compete in cooking and baking contests, and then rides and games were added for the children.”

Today’s Iowa State Fair is still very much about agriculture, and attendees will see some of the most gorgeous animals on earth and the people that care for these animals. On any given day at the fair, you will be surrounded by 100,000 other people and all are pursuing happiness, regardless of what is happening in their lives.

Kurt Ullrich’s exhibition at the Muscatine Art Center will be on view from June 13 through September 8. The Iowa State Fair books will be available for purchase throughout the exhibit with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Muscatine Art Center. The general public is invited to meet the artist during the annual Ice Cream Social that will be held from 1:30-3:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 30.

The Muscatine Art Center is located at 1314 Mulberry Avenue in Muscatine, Iowa. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Thursday evenings until 7:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated.