Our Town Marion: Arts and Culture

By Ashley Hinson, Reporter

MARION, Iowa -- Recognized by the state of Iowa as a Cultural and Entertainment District, Uptown Marion is an anchor for art and music. Craig and Priscilla Campbell have been at the forefront of Marion's cultural renaissance when they opened Campbell Steele Gallery in Marion's Uptown business district.

"Art and design and culture in general, whether it is music or the visual arts or performing arts, mean a great deal to Priscilla and me. And the other businesses in uptown Marion are just gorgeous little places." Craig Campbell said

Together, the couple have supported the arts by turning their business into a personal art gallery, a collection of professional artwork hand picked and available for purchase. Craig Campbell said,
"I can tell you with all honesty, Priscilla and I work for ourselves first of all. Everything we do in our lives is because we like it. We choose an artist because we like their work, we like their work ethic."

Campbell Steele Gallery hosts a variety of shows throughout the year and is well known for hosting music events that draw a loyal crowd. Just down the road from Uptown, Marion's Lowe Park embraces art and culture. Inside the Lowe Park Arts and Environment Center, visitors can stroll through a vibrant art gallery featuring local talent.

"I think as far as the local artists we have and the ones we are showcasing, people are really excited about what we are doing. We have some very talented people here locally and the venue in phenomenal. People realize what we have out here and fall in love with the place," said Bob North, Jr. of the Marion Arts Council.

Members of the Marion Arts Council maintain the park's gallery. In addition to art shows, the gallery hosts a number of coffee house music events during the winter months. North said, "We do about six shows. They are on Friday night and it's a great time to showcase the talent music talent we have around here."

For the Marion Arts Council, they hope their investment in arts and culture will benefit future residents and enhance the quality of life in this growing community. North said, "As far as the city is concerned, the city is planning on growing, almost doubling in the next 30-years and Lowe park itself will the central location of the city. And so we are trying to do things to get people to realize what is out here because the future growth is all coming this way and this is going to be a keynote place."
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