Isabel Bloom studied under Grant Wood and became an accomplished artist whose art is displayed in gardens and homes throughout the United States. Her subjects varied from children to friendly creatures along with items from the land, sky and sea. Cast in concrete and hand-finished to resemble weathered bronze garden sculptures of the Victorian era her art has become an icon of the Davenport area.
Isabel Bloom passed away in 2001 but her work has been carried on by designer Donna Young, Isabel’s protege and artistic collaborator since 1986.
Isabel Blooms study encompassed a wide range of different influences. She was born in Galveston, Texas in 1908 and raised in Davenport. As a child she would go to the banks of the Mississippi and gather the clay, bring it home, shape it into small animals and bake it in the family hearth. As she grew a bit older she received daily art lessons at Davenport’s Immaculate Conception Academy, followed by further training at the Vogue School of Fashion and Design. Later still, Isabel attended the Chicago Art Institute.
During the 1930′s she studied at the Grant Wood Stone City Art Colony where she learned to sculpt in limestone.
You can see Wood’s regionalist influence in the artwork of both Isabel and her protege, Donna Young. Crafted from the locally-available materials of concrete and river stone, Isabel Bloom figurines reflect inspiration from the artists’ own backyards. Children playing and exploring. Pets lounging. Snowmen standing stout against the Midwest’s winter cold.
The Isabel Bloom Studio Production Tour is a free, one-hour-and-fifteen minute guided tour with behind-the-scenes access to every step in the making of each Isabel Bloom sculpture. Visitors can even offer opinions on future sculptures, and purchase exclusive sculptures available only to tour guests. The tour is at Harborview Production Studio in Davenport, Iowa, near the banks of the Mississippi River.
Although the tours are free they ask that you call ahead to make an appointment. They also allow for group tours but, again, be sure to call ahead and make arrangements.
736 Federal Street
Davenport, IA 52803
Call to schedule tour: 800-273-5436
Mon. – Fri. 8:30 am – 4:30 pm by appointment