Visitors to Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Prairie City will be greeted by a new exhibit of 30 original watercolor paintings of native Iowa wildflowers. The exhibit “Wildflowers of the Upper Midwest” highlights the works of Lydia E. Curtis, who was born in 1886 near Charles City.
“My mother lived a remarkable Iowa life, raised first on a farm which her grandfather broke the prairie soil to cultivate. Her works capture the beauty of Midwestern wildflowers and give us a window to an earlier time in Iowa. Our family is excited to have her paintings exhibited at the restored prairie at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge,” Cora Hayes, daughter of. Curtis, said.
Lydia (Krueger) Curtis raised her family in Iowa and in her retirement began a 15-year project painting the wildflowers of the Midwest. Her cumulative work covers more than 150 different species. Along with each painting, she wrote one-page narratives of each flower, including descriptions, the habitats where they were found and uses of the plants by Native Americans and pioneers.
The exhibit is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through April 26 at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 9981 Pacific St. In addition to daily viewing, visitors are invited to join members of the Krueger-Curtis Family for a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. April 6.