A local artist will showcase his work this weekend with a solo art show at the Fort Dodge Fine Arts Association Gallery.
The Isaiah O’Neal Degen Solo Art Show will be at the FDFAA Gallery, 921 Central Ave, on Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m.
Degen, a 2015 graduate of Fort Dodge Senior High, will show pieces he created in recent months and some from the past year using acrylic paint mixed with oil pastels and chalk. He said there will be about 15 works of art, including one containing four canvases.
“Isaiah has always been a friend of our organization and we are excited to share this show with the community,” said Shelly Bottorff, executive director of the FDFAA.
The theme of the art show is a journey with mental health.
“As a biracial man who grew up in a small community, I wanted to express the mental health issues that I had and have people look at it in a way that they can also understand that these things are okay to express , to talk about, to share with each other,” Said the dough. “Most of my work is very personal to me.”
Art is deeply rooted in Degen’s life. He said he had always loved drawing and enjoyed art classes while in elementary school, but as he got older, his confidence began to waver, so he hid art in his heart until he was a senior in high school.
“I stopped really caring what the world thought of me,” he said. “I had to drop a lot of other classes just to take art classes.”
Degen credits his high school art teacher, Lori Daniel, with rekindling his passion for art.
“She’s the one who kind of pushed me and told me ‘You’re capable, you’re a good artist,’ and gave me that space where I could build some confidence,” he said. “And later I wanted to pursue it after high school.”
Degen also grew up with another artist in the family—his great-uncle was an art instructor at the University of Iowa.
“In a way, art has always been a part of me,” Said the dough. “It just took me a really long time to consider myself an artist and just pursue it.”
This will be Degen’s first art show ever.
“I really enjoy hosting these events at our gallery,” Bottorff said. “Celebrating the arts and artists is what we do.”
Bottorff also noted that the FDFAA gallery also has artwork by several area artists for sale.
IF YOU GO
Isaiah O’Neal Degen Solo Art Show
When: 17:00-19:00 Saturday
Where: FDFAA Gallery, 921 Central Ave.
Free entry. Open to the public.