Cafe at Prairie Lights

  • When I Was Your Age

    Storytelling as collaborative knowledge making. Storytelling is a fundamental source of knowledge and agency. To tell a story is to remember, contemplate, question, interpret, and ultimately voice a particular history. When I was Your Age is a collaborative project that uses storytelling to explore the relationship between artists and their elders. Participating artists asked their mother, grandmother, or like-figure to share a story from their past. Each pair constructed a piece of text reflecting the life of the elder when she was the age of the artist. Each artist created a visual response to complete the piece. The following pages present a dialogue between generations, where the residue of the past is deeply felt in the present and maintained by one’s willing imagination.

    Mary Coats and Shari Coats
    Zoe Hawk and Phyllis Hawk
    Elizabeth Davenport and Paul Davenport Jr.
    Cheryl Robinson and Maryjane Robinson
    Andrea Dejong and Margaret Dejong
    Jared Wittenmyer and Ruth Wittenmyer
    Sarah Smith and Kathi Smith
    Danielle Kimzey and Jean Alys Lindow Huey
    Mary Laube and Edmund Laube

  • Ty Smith & Ken Dubin, 'Fish Nor Fowl'

    Fish Nor Fowl features the work of Ty Smith and Ken Dubin in an exhibition that envelopes absence, presence, and everything in between.

    Ty Smith was born in Montgomery, AL in 1979. He received his BFA in painting from the University of Alabama in 2001 where he worked with Professor Alvin Sella. In 2006, he moved to Tulsa, OK, where he completed his MFA and began teaching at the University of Tulsa. This past year he has been teaching as an Adjunct Faculty for Auburn University and has recently taken a new position as Museum Preparator at the Jules Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn, AL.

    Ken Dubin's paintings have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad.  He has participated in a number of residencies including the Ragdale Foundation and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.  Dubin received an MFA from the University of Illinois, Chicago.  He was born in Chicago, Illinois and moved to Iowa in 2009.

  • Michael Wille, 'New Day'

    Michael Wille was born in Pontiac, IL and currently lives and works in Normal, IL. He received an MFA in painting from Bowling Green State University and a BFA from Milikin University. His work has been exhibited at the Space Art Gallery in Pittsburgh, Hoffman LaChance Contemporary in St. Louis, Resolution Gallery in Johannesburg (South Africa), and many others. In 2007 Wille was featured in Mapping the Terrain: New Directions in Abstract Painting in Louisiana and has been featured in New American Paintings many times. He has lectured about his work in places such as Temple University in Tokyo, Japan and the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg (South Africa), where he was an artist-in-residence in February 2009.

    In addition to keeping an active studio practice, Wille is an Associate Professor of Art at Illinois State University in Normal, IL. He teaches a wide range of courses to undergraduate and graduate students within the Painting and Drawing curriculum.

  • Danielle Kimzey, Kristen Necessary + Kelly Jones, 'Chambers'

    Chamber music is a style of music arranged for small instrumental groups. Historically, a composition was performed in a private living space among acquaintances and can be compared to the act of conversation. The intimacy of the home creates an atmosphere that shapes the experience of the performance in a manner unlike its counterparts. The exhibition Chambers, featuring the work of Danielle Kimzey, Kristen Necessary, and Kelly Jones, similarly embraces the domestic space as a site rich with unique narratives. The private realm harbors sensitivity, which magnifies the nuances and idiosyncrasies of its inhabitants and sets a stage for noticing the extraordinary in the seemingly banal.

    Originally from Dallas, TX, Danielle Huey Kimzey currently lives and works in southern California. She graduated from The University of Iowa with an MFA in Painting in 2011. Prior to graduate school she worked as a gelato scooper, a muralist in Costa Rica, a tour guide in France, and a high school art teacher. She is currently a visiting artist-in-residence at Knox College. For more information please visit

    Kristen Necessary is a working artist and the director of Zenic Press in Iowa City. Born and raised in the coalfields of southwest Virginia amidst the cultural region of Central Appalachia, this experience influences her artistic work and conceptual awareness to the relationship between place and identity. She was awarded an MFA by the University of Iowa and a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally
    and is part of many collections including the Denver Art Museum. For more information please visit

    Kelly Jones is originally from Iowa City where she currently lives and works. She earned her B.A in Art History and Studio Art with a B.F.A in Painting at the University of Iowa. Kelly currently works at Herteen and Stocker Jewelers where some of her paintings are hung in the windows.