Jennifer Dutcher, originally from Fort Dodge, has been teaching art for almost 20 years.
Dutcher, visual arts coordinator at Iowa Central Community College, will now look to use that experience to represent the Fort Dodge area at the state level.
Dutcher was appointed to the Iowa Arts Council, an agency designed to “Empowering Iowa to create and sustain culturally vibrant communities by cultivating creativity, learning and participation in the arts.” She was informed of the appointment on October 7.
“I am really excited about the opportunity to serve as a voice for our region and I just think a lot of amazing things are happening in our region”, said Dutcher, a graduate of St. Edmond High School in 1997. “I’m excited about the potential so this will be a great way for me to serve as a voice for our community in terms of art.”
Dutcher holds a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts, Art History, and Art Education from the University of Iowa in Iowa City. She received her Masters in Arts Education in 2004, also in Iowa.
It was in Iowa City that Dutcher was able to decide the right path for her.
“Initially, I wanted to be a graphic designer and I took graphic design courses and although I liked them, I quickly learned that at the University of Iowa I liked too many other things too”, she said. “Art education allowed me to work with so many different types of mediums that it seemed to me much better suited. I wanted to do a bit of everything.
After graduation, Dutcher taught in Iowa before later teaching Kindergarten to Grade 12 art in Arizona.
She has extensive experience working in museums such as the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History.
“I have always done arts education in different ways and with different age groups as well” said Dutcher.
She returned to Fort Dodge in 2010. At that time, she worked at Fort Dodge Senior High School for four years before moving to Iowa Central in 2014.
A visible project in which Dutcher was involved can be seen inside the DART Bus Station at Central Avenue and South Ninth Street. In 2015, Dutcher students painted a mural as part of a service learning project. The mural was inspired by the painting by Vincent van Gough “The starry Night.”
Dutcher has experience in the following mediums: printmaking, ceramics, painting, drawing, illustration, graphics and fibers. She has worked in various private collections in the United States and Canada.
“I just think I’m drawn to the creative experience no matter how you want to look, whether it’s the act of creating something or learning to create something.” said Dutcher. “Teaching, especially at Iowa Central, allowed me to use a variety of mediums. I didn’t need to have an area of emphasis. I can give a drawing class, a graphic design class or an art history class, that’s what I really like. I love so many different aspects of visual art. Arts education has allowed me to explore areas that I just couldn’t do otherwise in any other field of study.
Dutcher currently sits on the Fort Dodge Public Art Commission and the Blanden Memorial Art Museum Board of Trustees.
As a member of the Iowa Arts Council, Dutcher will be able to help create opportunities for others and encourage participation in the arts.
“They offer grants – they also serve as a platform for artists”, she said. “Many entities turn to the Iowa Arts Council when looking for an artist to complete a project. Networking is a big part of what they do.
Dutcher said she was proud to be from Fort Dodge.
“I have lived in many places and at the end of the day I think Fort Dodge is a strong community that I am proud to belong to,” she said. “I think we have great people and a lot of good things are happening. What’s most exciting is the potential that’s here.