City Notes: The people behind the doors of the Charles City Arts Center

By Jacqueline Davidson, Director, Charles City Arts Center

Carnet Starr, our housekeeper, calls our building Isabel.

Erik Gordon, our caretaker, views the center as doors to the mind of creation.

Jacqueline Davidson, director, Charles City Arts Center
Jacqueline Davidson, director, Charles City Arts Center

The Arts Center started its days as a library. Most people in town know that fact.

Andrew Carnegie built 2,509 libraries in the USA, and another thousand in New Zealand. Our Arts Center was a Carnegie Library. The children of Charles City in 1904 raised the money for our beautiful stained glass windows.

It was the Charles City library, so only the Charles City children could borrow books. However, there was a much loved librarian, Miss Leahy, who kept a secret list of out-of-town children who were allowed to borrow books. If your name was on that list you wore it like a badge of honor.

Barbara Thomsen is the first on my honor list at the Arts Center.

She is our resident potter. Barbara grew up in Bassett and graduated college here in Iowa. The Potter room is now the backbone of the center. A high percentage of the art community in Floyd County at least dabbles in pottery. Barbara keeps our potters from segmenting off and keeps them involved in our community.

Barbara is also our understanding of our artists’ way of thinking.

She understands the inner working of the artist’s mind, which is something even most artists do not understand.

Stewart Dalton is the vice president of The Charles City Arts Council. Stew is our go-to guy. He says he is not an artist, but trust me, he is a master of fine cooking. His most important quality is he knows how to get things done right. Stewart has worn many hats and that has taught him where to look for inadequacies and how to fix them.

And, of course, there is Christopher Anthony, our president. He is involved in many aspects of Charles City and we are privileged to have him. A florist and a father of two Marines, Christopher sets in the chair of consideration and keeps us on the right track.

Julie Morton, our secretary, keeps track of our doings and expectations. Julie keeps us smiling with her quick wit and insights.

Ron Noah came to our rescue as our treasurer. His raised eyebrow and mostly serious demeanor allow us to keep an understanding of what has to be.

Ann Schneckloth is our art of artists. Ann has served many roles for the Art Council. Ann, with Barbara’s help, keeps our garden. Ann also keeps the Rain Garden in town. Ann steps up whenever there is a need.

Robin Kruger came in to fill the position of art teacher. She is a retired Charles City schools arts educator. Robin missed children and their insightful minds. She walked into our classroom and took the reins .

Nancy Clarke is a board member of the Art Council and fills in whenever needed.

Bob Faust is another well-valued contributor to our art community. Bob just sees what needs to happen and goes about getting it done. He is now heading efforts to re-establish the Stony Point Players, our much-needed theater group.

There are many more volunteers and benefactors, present and past, to whom we owe immense gratitude. Thank you for helping and being there for us.

Then there is me. I open the doors.