2017 Microgrant Dinner

6 to 8pm, Wednesday, May 31
Big City Burgers and Greens at Capital Square

Special thanks to the generous support of the Des Moines Arts Festival ®, Moberg Gallery, Olson Larsen Galleries, Visionary Services, and Beeline + Blue. Chicken Tractor is proud to receive operating support from Bravo of Greater Des Moines. Congratulations to this year's presenting artists.

Speak of the Devil/WIP

Speak of the Devil/WIP

Edward V. Kelley


Edward Kelley received a BA from the College of Charleston, Charleston, SC and a MFA in Sculpture from Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY. Edward exhibits nationally with an upcoming solo exhibition at Art League Houston in Houston Texas. Recent exhibitions include DEMO Projects, Manifest Gallery, and The Anderson gallery at Drake University. In September, Edward presented at the International Sculpture Center Conference in Pittsburgh, PA. He has led cast iron workshops as a visiting artist at various institutions including The Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis TN and the State University of New York Oswego.

In 2014, Edward spearheaded and curated the first “Art on Dart” exhibition, turning a Des Moines Area Rapid Transit bus into a mobile fine art gallery for a two-month period.  He is a recipient of a Des Moines Area Public Art Foundation funding grant for his work with Des Moines Area Rapid Transit.  Edward is a faculty member and studio technician in the Department of Art and Design at Drake University.

Rachel Merrill


Rachel's current work consists of both sculptural props for  performances, and videos documenting those performances. The performances are not live in the traditional sense of artist performance, They are pseudo-scripted improvisations that have been crafted and stitched strategically together through the process of video editing.

Her artwork can be viewed from a cursory surface level of humorous absurdity and ridiculous repetitive actions, and also discuss the absurdity of those actions and question their validity. The ideas come from an investigation of her own contradictions and the idea of performance. She is interested in performance as a means of survival and self-preservation in popular culture. The work is also an investigation into the symbolism of American sports as both performative and competitive. Rachel sees the competitive nature of organized sports with opponents in organized conflict as a great metaphor for her personal behavior. Rachel is really interested in the nature of the competition when the purpose of the competition is both entertaining and redundant. That symbolism translates into everyday actions and behavior as she competes against others and herself.

Rachel's research explores the universal nature of competition and performance in both grand and mundane senses. She asks, "Why do I compete in areas that I am really not qualified to compete? Why do I need to perform and why do I perform against others and myself in menial and tedious tasks that do not serve my betterment? Why do some days seem redundant in their structure? Why do I enjoy watching my performance crush the competition (insert evil laugh here)? And why is overrated appearance so overrated?"



Cat is an artist and an organizer living in Des Moines, Iowa. She runs a whole bunch of projects like blogs, and an indie craft fair, and a community supported art program. A lot of Fridays find me teaching portrait-drawing and zine-making workshops to grade schoolers across the state. I do some political organizing and I tell stories on stage

When I'm not doing one of these things I'm playing music or Dungeons & Dragons or am lost somewhere in the woods. 



Bob Schulte is a mixed media artist who gleans images and icons from popular culture to create series of works that adhere to specific geometric constraints and mathematical considerations. He considers his collages to be visual haiku, and his LP disc works attempt to unpack cultural narratives one minimal image at a time.


Alyssa Tauber has lived in the Des Moines area for most of her life. She graduated from Valley High School before going on to earn a B.F.A. with Honors in Art and a B.A. in English from The University of Iowa, as well as an M.F.A. from Illinois State University. Alyssa currently teaches drawing, printmaking, and other classes at the Des Moines Art Center. She has shown her work both in the U.S. and internationally, with notable shows being in Olson-Larsen Galleries’ Seven Printmakers show (2017), the Monoprint Guild of New England Third National Juried Monotype and Monoprint Exhibition, judged by Mark Pascale, Curator of Prints and Drawings, Art Institute of Chicago, and the 2015 Awagami International Miniature Print Exhibition in Tokushima, Japan, in which Alyssa’s work was awarded an Honorable Mention.
Alyssa writes: "My work explores my relationship with my environment -- both physical and psychological. Each influences the other. Physical spaces affect our emotional states and, conversely, our emotional states condition our responses to our physical environment. I use these relationships to examine my connection with my environment, and as projections of my mental state, but ultimately to search for myself -- and I hope the viewer will do the same. Personal experience, places lived in, places passed through, literature (such as the work of William Faulkner, Colette, and Ray Bradbury), comparative mythology, psychology, and other artists such as Edward Hopper, Andrew Wyeth, and Giorgio de Chirico, have all been important to my work