The Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center’s 4th floor is abuzz this month, as the Anne and John P. Nelson Gallery transforms into a multi-media, interactive art show, set to open Friday, May 28th. Centered around the Midwest’s impressive meteorology, STORMS aims to educate and inspire visitors with brand-new installations by the Hoff’s resident professional artists.

“Witnessing a storm always leaves a mark,” painter Ann Brugenhemke said when asked about the show’s theme. “It’s a universal experience of nature’s power. Everyone has a storm story.”

Sharing their storm stories will be The Hoff’s five studio artists, who represent a talented local cross-section of disciplines and crafts: 

Kent Hertz, of Hz Productions, is known for his multimedia technical work across the country as an audio engineer, music producer, videographer, and projection mapping artist. He plans to harness projections that recreate rolling storm fronts and bring their visual majesty to the gallery. 

Susan Woodford, a metal sculptor, and fabrication artist will display multiple pieces, including a metal tree with interactive leaves which explores how the individual parts of a whole, be it person or tree, are mementos of past victories, like surviving emotional and physical storms.

Buck Christensen runs Council Bluff Photography, and his contributions to the gallery include swirling,  fractal paintings made with light. These color vortexes explore the geometric beauty of light and motion, mapping natural movement often hidden by physics and speed. 

Ann Brugenhemke has been thinking about storms for awhile, as her new body of work, paintings that capture dramatic atmospheric phenomena, began long before STORMS. Her quest to find beauty amid chaos also led her to ceramics, and guests should look forward to seeing multiple pieces built from hundreds of hand-formed ceramic raindrops. 

Image courtesy of PACE

Jeff Koterba is an internationally syndicated and award-winning cartoonist whose drawings have flown on the space shuttle, but for STORMS, he picked up another medium, his old flame, painting. Jeff’s installation promises a bold take on his own storm story, when he was struck by lightning as a child. 

“Our studio artists each interpreted the theme of STORMS in their own way,” says Adam Van Osdel, Program and Gallery Director for PACE. “There will be paintings, projections, sculptures, and even games to play. The diversity of mediums and messages will unite differently for each guest as they think about their own experiences with nature.”

Van Osdel explained that STORMS will also include multiple large-scale installations, similar to those in a science museum. These include a wind tunnel, where visitors will be able to feel the push of gale-force winds, and a tornado machine, which creates a mini cyclone with the press of a button. 

“Science and art have always inspired one another, and so it’s only fitting that a show about nature includes both.” Van Osdel says, “Let’s just say, it’ll blow you away.”

The show will be free and open to the public through September 18th. For more information, visit their website at https://www.paceartsiowa.org/exhibits.

The Hoff Center has enhanced safety measures in place including reduced visitor capacity, face mask requirements, and more. Because of this, guests are encouraged to register online and reserve their visit time.

PACE encourages those interested to check their website www.paceartsiowa.org/calendar as more live performances and in-person events are added.

*This blog originated as a press release from PACE, Pottawattamie Arts, Culture, & Entertainment

This post was originally published on May 26, 2021 on the Unleash Council Bluffs blog.