Spectator: Iowans as art

Peter Feldstein's photograph adorns the interior of the new College of Public Health Building

Photo by Tom Jorgensen.

“I wish I could have taught in a building like this,” says Peter Feldstein (BA ’65, MA ’68, MFA ’75) of the University of Iowa’s new College of Public Health Building, which he describes as industrial and cool, yet “beautifully calculated.”

When university planners commissioned Peter Feldstein, UI professor emeritus of photography, to create artwork for the new College of Public Health facility, he decided to “soften” the building’s interior with images of ordinary Iowans.

“My work’s always been about community in a certain sense,” says Feldstein, who photographed hundreds of his neighbors in Oxford, Iowa, for his 2008 book The Oxford Project. “Everybody in the state in some way is affected by what the college does here, so that was where I started.”

Feldstein traveled throughout the state photographing the diversity of residents. From more than 300 portraits, he selected 12 for the final installation.