Inspired by the fantastic new mural we stumbled upon inside a welcome center along Interstate 35 in northern Missouri last December, I started looking into efforts by other states to spruce up their highway pit stops with art. And lo and behold, I find out from several knowledgeable sources that the great state of Iowa – where I live – has one of the more impressive programs.
Which means an estimated 17 million people who stop at an Iowa rest areas each year may be in for a treat – if they stop at the right one. Thirteen rest areas or welcome centers – most along I-80 and I-35 – have been redesigned as part of Iowa’s “art-in-transit” program to include site-specific, regionally-themed art projects during the past 10 years – the latest in 2009 and more to come. Iowa has even printed “rest area posters.” For more info see: (www.iowadot.gov/maintenance/restareaposters.html)