Guttenberg Gallery and Creativity Center is a nonprofit organization that provides high-quality community arts experiences for all ages in a safe, positive environment.
Guttenberg Gallery, formerly known as Shepherd Gallery, displays the work of local artists, and sells one-of-a-kind hand-made gift items. The gallery features work in many media, including glass, pottery, jewelry, photography, and painting. Guttenberg Gallery is also available for use by civic groups, private parties, and organizations.
Located on the second floor, our community art studio promotes the visual arts through ceramics, glass fusion, glass and tile mosaic, jewelry making, and painting. The studio welcomes artists of all ages to explore and create a piece of their own inspiration. The Creativity Center provides an after-school program, workshops, and classes taught by volunteer staff and local artisans.
Our historic building
Guttenberg Gallery and Creativity Center is located in scenic downtown Guttenberg, Iowa. Guttenberg is a small river town found alongside the mighty Mississippi River. We are housed in a historical limestone building on the Great River Roadway. The three-story Albertus Building was originally built by a German immigrant and his family in 1852. Our gallery and studio is located in the adjacent two story building completed in 1858.
Since its completion in 1855, the Albertus building has been used for numerous commercial and residential purposes including a hotel, clothing store, grocery store, drug store, meat market and cigar factory. Upper stories of the building were primarily residential, as was our gallery/studio building. Currently on the National Register of Historic Buildings, a major renovation was completed in 1971. Historic records indicate that the Albertus building housed the Ratskellar Bar and Cafe in the cellar until 1975. Currently, the upper floors of this building are private residences and the lower level is a bed and bath.
Keith Elwick purchased these buildings in the mid-1960s and made the renovations to make the Albertus building viable once again. In 2006 he gave generous terms to Cindy Olsen for the purchase of the adjacent two story building. Cindy has been the motivation behind the major renovations that have taken place since then to bring this Iowa landmark back to life and to accommodate both the gallery and studio settings.
The Creativity Center has been evolving since 2007, when non-profit status was granted. Renovations and development have been made possible by the generosity of donors, volunteers, and the previous owner of our historic building, Keith Elwick.
The building was vacant and basically abandoned. Renovations began with meager start-up funds, hard work and focus on the BIG DREAM! The original limestone walls were covered with a thick layer of plaster and were exposed by beating the walls with tire chains. This original plaster can be seen in our entryway where local artist Emily Moser painted a beautiful mural.
After the plaster was removed more hard work began with tuckpointing these original limestone walls to create the wonderful backdrop for our gallery. All of this work was done with no running water, very little heat and many hands over a period of several weeks. Vision was truly required!
Since then other revisions have included new lighting, new flooring, the framing/building of a new kiln room, painting, general cleaning and finally the utilities were turned on. We are proud that local contractors and suppliers were the primary source and providers for all of this work.
Our community art studio, The Creativity Center, located on the second floor, was also a part of renovations. A new staircase, work stations, shelving, studio supplies, counters, cupboards, pottery wheel, fusion glass and mosaic supplies, ceramics and other general art supplies were all part of the dream.
The Creativity Center is a 501c3 non-profit organization funded through grants and donations and staffed by volunteers. Our most successful grant was a $50,000 grant from Pepsico in 2011.
Grants received have included: UMGC (Upper Mississippi Gaming Commission) grants 2010 and 2011; McElroy Trust grant 2010 and 2014; CCFF (Clayton County Fund for the Future) grant 2010, 2013, 2015; DRA (Dubuque Racing Association) grant 2011; Pepsi grant 2011, Iowa Cultural Trust Sustainability Challenge Grant 2014, Iowa Arts Council Art Project Grant 2015. In 2016 we received grants from Isle of Capri, RC&D, the Clayton County Foundation for the Future, the Upper Mississippi Gaming Corporation, and the Dustin Eglseder Memorial Endowment. In 2017, we have received grants from the Dubuque Racing Association and Clayton County Foundation for the Future.
These grants helped us to bring our building to life with heating and cooling systems, water heater, new wiring, insulation, our kitchen and bathroom fixtures and kitchen appliances, as well as helping to staff the organization and provide for sustainability planning.
We have a wonderful group of volunteers who work to keep the studio and gallery staffed. They also contribute their art work either by donation or by consignment. All profits are used to fund our after school scholarship programs.
Select the files below to view our sustainability plan, supported in part by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.