SPENCER CREATES space to live

SPENCER CREATES space to work

SPENCER CREATES space to play

Visual Arts

Performing Arts Literary Arts

Creative Industries

Glass blowing at Bogenrief Studio.  Image courtesy Judy Hemphill. SPACE initiative is to help and promote artists and creative entrepreneurs in the Spencer area. One of Spencer's key assets is its viable economy and diverse work environment. Once primarily agriculture, the farm crisis of the 80's changed the thinking of community leaders forever. The city has invested in medical, communication, high-end manufacturing, journalism, higher education and the arts. This has made Spencer more viable, diverse and attractive to creative professionals throughout the United States. Bogenrief Studios, the stained-glass makers who have become a national sensation while operating from Merrill, a town of 754 located 20 miles north of Sioux City has opened a studio and glass blowing operation in Spencer. Along with Bogenriefs, Louis (Tony) Curiel has moved his neon glass blowing studios from Michigan to Spencer, Iowa and will be offering classes about the art.

To make Spencer strong, the region has economic clout. Spencer boasts 185,000 year round residents within 50 miles, is centrally located between three major cities and sits next to an Iowa vacation destination with over a million visitors to the region every summer. This economic clout the region generates is over $160 million.

Glass blowing at Bogenrief Studio.  Image courtesy Judy Hemphill.Work Environment
Spencer is creating an environment that is not found in large cities or bustling college communities. Our Great Plains surroundings and easy living nature bodes well for those of you looking for space and freedom to perfect your craft, write your book, design the next great widget or perfect your talents. Our industries (many of them home grown) offer a variety of latitudes not found in major settings, which offer relaxed dress codes, flexible schedules and open-minded policies that foster community. Our high-tech communication and citywide wireless offering keeps you connected. Our city cultural district, recognized by the state of Iowa will create a unique business and entertainment district. Our arts and theater programs will offer you opportunities to express and foster your talents. Our community is open-minded, accepting and offers support and services to a wide variety of professions and interests.

This environment has lead to many creative individuals to call Northwest Iowa home. Over 50 of them are showcased every year in an event called the "Artisans Road Trip". The event showcases their crafts, offers insights to their inspirations and provides tours of their facilities. Our area artist range from fashion designers to jewelry makers, woodcarvers to furniture makers, sculptures to pottery makers and photographers to painters. For more information go to www.artisansroadtrip.com

Existing Business Network
Spencer and the region is also home to a large number of traditional industries that is craving creative and talented individuals. With over 70 medium to large business identities in the area, which cover a wide range of product and services, one will find their niche company. The business climate is stable and has the 5th lowest business closing and is 9th lowest in cost of doing business in the nation. Our area businesses have an extensive network of support organizations and programs that rivals large cities. Spencer Industries & Foundation, Spencer Jobs Trust and Iowa Lakes Corridor (www.iowalakescorridor.com) are only a few of the many organizations that offer a variety of support, training and mentoring to new and existing companies in the region.

Spencer city government has put money and resources behind SPACE, stands behind our mission and is ready to help in many ways to foster an environment suited for a creative individuals and business.  The Spencer City Council, Spencer Industries Foundation, Clay County Board of Supervisors and the Jobs Trust are local entities responsible for the economic development of the Spencer area.


Kate Iola and DEADSTOCK

When Kate Iola moved back from California to the Midwest in 1998, she wanted a change. She got it. Kate drew upon her science background to create her own niche: Molecular farm writer. Her favorite topics? Viruses, genetic engineering of crops and animals, and invasive weeds and insects. They’re complicated topics that are a challenge to explain, but are extremely important; they can have a huge impact on the ag economy and rural life.

Result #1: In 1999, Kate first stumbled on the bizarre, complicated story of the most underestimated livestock virus in, literally, the world: FMD, or foot-and-mouth disease. She decided it was a story that needed to be told, and in 2001 she started to write it. “I knew right away,” she said. “This was my story. It would be a book, a novel, and I would call it DEADSTOCK"

Result #2: She spent five years learning how to write fiction. “I knew the facts about FMD,” she says, “but then I had to figure out how to write things like…a plot! Suspense! Tension! That’s tough, tougher than I thought. But if the book wasn’t at least somewhat interesting, people wouldn’t read it. And then what good is it?"

Result #3: Done. “Yeah, I could keep working on it for another couple of years,” says Kate. “I’ve still got so much to learn. But the story of FMD needs to get out there.” And it will: DEADSTOCK comes out in trade paperback in August 2006. Plus, through collaboration with other area artists, DEADSTOCK will also be available as an audiobook, flipbook, instrumental soundtrack, and an audio theatre production adapted from the novel.

Result #4: Kate’s working on book two in the series, CORN PALACE. She won’t disclose the subject, but you can bet it’s got something to do with molecular farm writing.

about SPACE

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