This collection contains important works by many contemporary women artists. The installations consist of paintings, prints, and photographs both acquired in 2019 and from the University Museums’ permanent collection. The collection also includes the 2019-2021 Faces of Iowa State series by Iowa artist Rose Frantzen.

The Art in Parks project, coordinated by former dean Beth McNeil, resulted from discussions about the importance of art to campus and how it can bring diverse voices to campus spaces. “These works of art expose students, faculty and staff who visit Parks Library to new perspectives, artists and stories,” McNeil said. “Adding these works [to our collection] is integral for growth and it responds to student requests for broader representation in our art ­– more women and people of color.”

Works by artists Tilly Woodward, Elizabeth Marie Van Hoesen, Virginia Thorne, Marion J. Kitzman, Bethany Collins, Rachel Sussman, Mary Kline-Misol, Renata Sack, Rose Frantzen, Frank Oscar Lind III, Louise Minert Kelly, Elizabeth Catlett, Molly Scannell and Emily Arthur join works by Grant Wood, Doug Shelton and Christian Petersen in Parks Library.


Collections by floor

Straight-on head and shoulders painting of an African American woman with pulled back curly hair wearing a blue dress with features accentuated by geometry.


Three quarter view grayscale bust portrait painting of a woman with short hair looking upwards with features accentuated by geometry.

Elizabeth Catlett (American, 1915-2012)
Keisha M, 2008 (top)
Jackie,1985 (bottom)
Location: First Floor, Learning Connections Center, north of the glass wall

Elizabeth Catlett studied under Grant Wood at the University of Iowa. She was the first African-American woman to receive an MFA from the school in 1940. Catlett came to Iowa State University in the spring of 1940 to kiln fire terracotta sculptures for her thesis project and at this time likely met Christian Petersen. It is possible that his sculptures, particularly Fountain of the Four Seasons which was being constructed at the time, were an influence to her thesis work. Encouraged by Wood to create images of black culture, Catlett’s work is renowned for its bold portraiture and political messages.  She stated that “I have always wanted my art to service my people- to reflect us, to relate to us, to stimulate us, to make us aware of our potential.” Ultimately splitting her time between Mexico and the U.S., Catlett’s work depicts the black American experience, finding influence in Cubism and Primitivism. Keisha M. and Jackie capture the complexity of identity through their strong geometric and sculptural qualities.

Three quarter view painting with an orangish yellow hue of a seated pale faced woman with black hair and a bob haircut wearing a dress with vertical stripes in front and horizontal stripes on sleeves.

Mary Kline-Misol (American, b. 1952)    
Phantomwise, from the Alice Cycle, 1990-1995
Location: First Floor near the center staircase

Gift of Dr. Marshall and Judy Flapan. In the Permanent Collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

Row of gable roofed cottages with canoes next to them by the beach under a blue sky with large fluffy clouds.

Louise Minert Kelly (American, 1876-1948)
Truro, Cape Cod, 1942
Location: First Floor, Fireplace Reading Room 

Gift of Friends of Regina Friant. In the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

People viewing a collection of face paintings displayed in two rows.

Rose Frantzen (American, b. 1965) 
Faces of Iowa State, (2016-2017)
Location: Second Floor, outside Room 204

Faces of Iowa State is organized by University Museums with major support from: College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Business, College of Engineering, College of Human Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, ISU Extension and Outreach, University Library, Office of the Vice President for Research, and University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

Photograph of four horizontally adjacent framed floral paintings.

Elizabeth "Beth" Marie Van Hoesen (American, 1926-2010)
Left to right: California Poppies, 1995; Park Cyclamen, 1988; White Poppy, 1974; Basket of Camellias, 1979-1991 
Location: Second Floor hallway, west of Upper Rotunda.

Gift of the E. Mark Adams and Beth Van Hoesen Adams Trust in honor of Lynette Pohlman. In the Art on Campus Collection,University Museums Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

Crude circular bird's nest against a black backdrop.


Circular bird's nest above a small horizontal chain against a black backdrop.

Tilly Woodward (American) 
Birthday Nest, (top)
Copper's Curb Chain and Nest, (bottom)
Location: Second Floor, north of the glass wall

Iowa artist Tilly Woodward brings clarity to the layered beauty of the world, focusing in on small elements with impeccable details. Easily mistaken for photographs her small-scale oil paintings capture both man-made and natural objects, sometimes juxtaposed on the same canvas. Woodward remarks, “There is so much that is uncertain in the world. I find it a comfort to take time to see one thing clearly, or a part of one thing clearly, each day. I think of what I do as witnessing...I paint what I see. It feels right to look closely and celebrate objects through observation, meditation and documentation, giving voice to their inherent meaning and beauty... I love the idea of painting as the accumulation of small actions." Her meditations on the bird nests compel the viewer to pause and look deeply and to contemplate both the strength and fragility of their constructions, particularly when compared with a man-made chain.

Straight-on half-length painting of a Black faceless woman in white long sleeve blouse and skirt with pronounced red and pink heart and a number plate reading 11033 by her neck in juxtaposition with her slightly larger translucent left facing profile view with pulled black hair tied in a bun in the background.

Molly Scannell (American, b. 1975)
Big Heart, 2017
Location: Second Floor, north of the glass wall

Acquisition to the Art on Campus Collection by Dsn S 145x – Diversity in Art, Spring 2018. Gift of the artist with funds provided by David Faux, Mark Hansen, and Malcolm Rougvie memorial gifts. In the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

Blank white paper with subtle prints.

Bethany Collins (American, b. 1984)
April 12, 1963, 2016
Location: Second Floor, outside Room 203

Bethany Collin’s artistic practice questions and explores the confines and bias of language and the telling of history. She explains, “My work very much concerns issues of race and identity and language, and the inability of language to actually speak to those former two topics,” Bethany Collins’ blind emboss April 12, 1963 evokes the question of visibility, of who gets to write history and of which voices are unheard. Walking up to the work of art, it looks like a blank piece of paper, yet on closer examination April 12, 1963 reproduces the front page of the Birmingham News. Days before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others led a march and sit in, none of which is documented in the news. This very same day, the Good Friday Parade in Birmingham Alabama would radically change the face of the Civil Rights movement, leading up to the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. During this march, Dr. King was arrested and wrote his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail”. Collins’ technique perhaps literally whitewashes history, asking us to consider the narratives left out of tomorrow’s news.

Zigzag layered part of a town in yellow hue featuring arches and many buildings, with some spired, on a white background.

Marion J. Kitzman (American, b. 1929) 
Lake Veracruz (1976)
Location: Third Floor, study area near Room 304

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. John Salsbury. In the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

Framed panting of a cream space with a small centered red dot.

Renata Sack 
The Importance of Red 
Location: Third Floor, south study area 

Gift of Chunghi Choo. In the permanent collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

Hilly rock shaped green shrub in a desert with many such shrubs.

Rachel Sussman (b. 1975)

La Llareta #0308-2B31 (3,000+ years old; Atacama Desert, Chile), 2008 
Location: Third Floor, study area outside Room 302

Rachel Sussman investigates the deep ecological connections that humans have to the earth across time. The biological organisms that she photographs eclipse the length of average human life by millennia, and yet they inhabit and share the same earth that we do. Over the course of ten years Rachel Sussman produced her project The Oldest Living Things in the World. She has researched, traveled to and documented continuously living organisms that are 2000 years and older. La Llareta is just one of these species, a densely flowering shrub found at extreme elevations that resembles a moss covered rock. Sussman’s research is akin to that of a scientist, yet her art centers itself in reawakening mankind’s innate emotional connection to the earth.  “I approach my subjects as individuals of whom I’m making portraits, in order to facilitate an anthropomorphic connection to a deep timescale, otherwise too physiologically challenging for our brain to internalize.” Reconciling the brevity of human life with the ancientness of nature asks us to consider our relationship to our environment.

Solitary tall and narrow tree with few bare branches housing a nest and circled by birds with a butterfly near the trunk, on a pale bluish gray background.

Emily Arthur
Cherokee By Blood (open book format), 2018
Location: Third Floor, north of the glass wall

Arthur’s print Cherokee by Blood, like many of her works of art, ponders questions of displacement and a sense of home. She states, “My fine art practice is informed by a concern for the environment, displacement, exile and the return home from dislocation and separation. I seek the unbroken relationship between modern culture and ancient lands which uses tradition and story to make sense of the enduring quest to understand our changing experience of home.” Arthur explores the displacement of the Cherokee from along the eastern coast to the “Indian Territories of Oklahoma” and the attempted reclamation of identity documented in the text Cherokee by Blood. Over this list that has names of her own ancestors, Arthur creates imagery of a solitary tree, birds, nest and butterfly. Birds and butterflies, both migratory species, features strongly as motifs in Arthur’s work.

Photograph of a horizontal pair of framed paintings, one featuring stemmed flowers surrounded by butterflies and the other featuring trumpet-shaped flowers on a creeper with a bird near a flower.

Virginia Thorne (American, b. 1913-)
Butterfly Weed, Asclepias Tuberosa, 1988 (left)
Trumpet Creeper, Campsis Radicans, 1988 (right) 
Location: Forth Floor, north of the glass wall 

Gift of Samuel and Louise Hamilton. In the Art on Campus collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.