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  • Towering 25-ft. “American Gothic” Homage to Replace Giant Lincoln at Peoria Riverfront Museum

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    May 15, 2019
    Event: “God Bless America” 25-ft. Sculpture Installation Celebration

    Date & Time: Tue., May 21, 1:30 p.m.

    Location: Peoria Riverfront Museum · 222 S.W. Washington St. · Peoria, Ill.

    PEORIA, Ill. – A towering 25-foot-tall bronze “American Gothic” homage will be installed May 21, 1:30 p.m. at the Peoria Riverfront Museum, replacing the now-familiar sculpture of giant Lincoln, “Return Visit.” The newly arriving Seward Johnson sculpture, “God Bless America,” evokes Grant Wood’s iconic painting of an Iowa farmer holding a pitchfork and standing next to his daughter. It was created by Johnson to commemorate Wood’s art and agriculture, themes which the museum will also be celebrating.

    “Peoria is surrounded by the world's richest and most productive farm ground,” said museum president and CEO John Morris, “For years we have stood as the Silicon Valley of agriculture technology. The Peoria Riverfront Museum is thrilled to work with Seward Johnson to bring this famous monumental bronze in gratitude for all farmers and farming does for our region and our nation."

    “We’re excited to be able to host the three-dimensional realization of Grant Wood’s masterpiece ‘American Gothic,’” said museum curator Bill Conger. “As an icon of American art, the enigmatic imagery depicts regionalist pride and Midwest determination. Along with Wood’s own artistic achievement, ‘God Bless America’ celebrates the ongoing cultivation of the greatest farmland in the world.”

    “I am thrilled to have this sculpture on display at the Peoria Riverfront Museum,” said Johnson. “My Lincoln was so warmly embraced upon its arrival and I feel certain that the farmers will feel equally welcomed by this piece.”

    The installation celebration of “God Bless America” will take place May 21, 1:30 p.m. at the site of the sculpture pad where “Return Visit” now stands. “Return Visit” will be de-installed between 9 and 11 a.m. Seward Johnson Foundation director Paula Stoeke will return to Peoria for the ceremony.

    The sculpture is on loan from The Seward Johnson Atelier, Inc. and was previously exhibited in Chicago, Mesa, Ariz., Key West, Fla., Elkhart, Ind. and Grant Wood’s hometown of Anamosa, Iowa.

    “God Bless America” is sponsored by the Visionary Society of the Peoria Riverfront Museum. Additional support came from Harriett Swager, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Community Foundation of Central Illinois, River City Construction LLC, Dewberry, R. Gingerich Crane Inc., Centre State International Trucks Inc., Prairie Material, Mathis Kelley Construction and Ironworkers Local 112.

    For more information about the museum, call 309.686.7000 or visit RiverfrontMuseum.org

    The Seward Johnson Atelier
    The Seward Johnson Atelier, Inc., a not for profit entity., was incorporated to promote the appreciation of, and education about, sculpture and public art in general, primarily through the creation, maintenance, sales and public placement of Seward Johnson’s artwork. For additional information about the artist or the sculpture, contact: or additional information about the artist or the sculpture, contact: Jenee Castellanos, 310-264-2400, info@sewardjohnsonatelier.org, www.sewardjohnsonatelier.org.

    Peoria Riverfront Museum
    The only multidisciplinary museum of its kind in the nation, the Peoria Riverfront Museum uses art, science, history and achievement to inspire confidence, lifelong learning, and talent. Since opening in 2012, the privately funded museum has provided more than one million experiences through major exhibitions, a permanent collection, interactive galleries, a dome planetarium, giant screen theater and educational programming including curricula-related student visits. The AAM-accredited, Smithsonian-affiliated private nonprofit museum is supported by more than 4,000 members and donors, and is housed in a county-owned LEED Gold-certified building on a campus overlooking the Illinois River. The museum has been designated one of the 200 great places in Illinois by the American Institute of Architects.
    Cathie Neumiller, VP of Marketing and Communications
    (309) 863-3006