‘American Gothic’ homage leaves Peoria Riverfront Museum

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The “God Bless America” sculpture outside of the Peoria Riverfront Museum is leaving Peoria.

It’s moving from the riverfront to Saginaw, Michigan.

The 25-foot tall Seward Johnson sculpture pays homage to the 1930 “American Gothic” painting by Grant Wood. “God Bless America” came to Peoria last May.

“This is our second Seward Johnson large size sculpture that we have enjoyed and now we have to bid ado. One year ago, we knew this day was coming, and we have been preparing for this day with the replacement of this work,” said Bill Conger, curator of collections and exhibitions for the Peoria Riverfront Museum.

Crews will begin de-installing the sculpture Tuesday around 8 a.m.

The process is expected to take about three to four hours.

Conger says the sculpture brought a part of the Regionalism art movement to Peoria.

He says many who came to see the sculpture felt the impact of its presence.

“You can find the sculpture from the bridge, you can find it from any direction, and the oversized quality is really just a kind of moving I think visual phenomenon to walk up to this really monumental approach to sculpture which we have found is just very moving to our public,” said Conger.

Conger says the Peoria Riverfront Museum is still working on what will replace the sculpture, but he says it will be equally impacting.

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