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Two art shows will open on Aug. 11 in Mt. Morris

A straw sculpture of the Black Hawk statue was on display last week during the Ogle County Fair. Photo by Chris Johnson
A straw sculpture of the Black Hawk statue was on display last week during the Ogle County Fair. Photo by Chris Johnson

Two unique art events will open in downtown Mt. Morris this week.

The first is the U.S. National Straw Sculpting Competition, a presentation of fine art in straw, which opens Friday, Aug. 11 at 6 p.m. on the historic Mt. Morris campus. 

Giant sculptures will be on display, and the competition winner is determined by visitors’ votes. 

The campus event will continue daily Aug. 12–27 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

Straw sculptures from the 2016 competition have been on display around the area recently at the White Pines State Park, the Ogle County Fair, Ukulele Station America in Oregon, and various locations in Mt. Morris. 

Additional information is available at

WATT Global Media and Encore! Mt. Morris will present a display of poultry breed portraits in Old Sandstone Gallery, also opening Friday, Aug. 11 at 6:30 p.m. 

The show features the largest single collection of rare poultry breed portraits worldwide (1926–1950). 

The complete collection, which has never before been publicly displayed in its entirety, is comprised of 58 framed oil paintings of the most important poultry breeds. 

The paintings were created by three American artists, A.O. Schilling, L. Stahmer and F.L. Sewell, and were commissioned in the mid-1920s by J.W. Watt and Adon Yoder, founders of Watt Publishing Company (now WATT Global Media). 

Old Sandstone, the former location of Watt office headquarters, is on the Mt. Morris campus.

Following the opening, gallery hours for the show will be Saturday, Aug. 12 from noon to 8:30 p.m., Friday, Aug. 18 and 25 from 6 to 9:30 p.m., and Saturday, Aug. 19 and 26 from noon to 6 p.m.

Other campus events for the month of August include:

• Round Bale Races, two-person teams will roll straw bales 75 feet in timed races on Main Street in Mt. Morris on Saturday, Aug. 19 at 1 p.m.

• Country Living Tour: Local Foods, Technology & the Arts, is an agricultural tour featuring local businesses: Berryview Orchard, Dietrich Ranch, Hough’s Maple Lane Farm and Witmer Precision Services. The tour is Saturday, Aug. 26; registration starts at 12:30 p.m. on the campus.

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