Corn Palace murals to be less colorful thanks to droughtArtist removes 4 colors of corn from design.
By: Frannie Sprouls, The Daily Republic
The Corn Palace Festival Board voted Tuesday to redecorate the Corn Palace this year, despite earlier concerns that a drought would make it impossible.
There will be a concession made to the drought, though. Four colors of corn will be taken out of the mural designs: blue, calico, orange and light brown.
The board met Tuesday at City Hall, which adjoins the Palace. Corn Palace Director Mark Schilling said there may be some usable cobs in each of the four colors, but it will be a limited amount.
“After going through the first four fields, things looked very bleak,” Schilling said. “There were areas where you would walk 100 rows going sideways through the field and you literally had to search … You could not see an ear of corn that was usable for the Corn Palace.”
Cherie Ramsdell, the local artist who designs the murals, reviewed the designs and removed the four colors.
“When you look at some of the more traditional designs of Oscar Howe and Cal Schultz, they didn’t have the color palate that I have,” Ramsdell said, referring to mural designers of the past. “The colors are pretty arbitrary when you place them. It’s a matter of contrast.”
Schilling said Wade Strand, the grower of the Corn Palace corn, will still go through and pick all usable ears.
“What has saved us this year is most of the fields that are good were not planted last year, because it was too wet,” Schilling said.
Some ears of corn were passed around to committee members to examine. The unusable ears were a milky color and some had no kernels.
Mayor Ken Tracy, who sat in on the meeting, said he is optimistic about what was reported but has some doubts.
“I would be somewhat cautious in how you proceed and know exactly what you have to work with,” Tracy said.
Schilling said the easy thing would be to leave this year’s murals in place another year.
“But I think the Corn Palace is really too important to us. It’s the icon,” he said. “If there’s ways to make it happen, we need to make it happen.”