'Metamorphosis,' by Jacob McGinn. Photo by Bruce Walters.

A human-like insect – larger than you – is frozen in a 10-foot-long stride. Its flailing arms are extended. All four of them.

Blue, Third Place: Dale Fehr, Hampton. 'I took this photo at Thousand Island Lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Mammoth Lake, California. I was camping there on a hiking trip. I wanted to try a photo by lighting up my tent. The moonlight made fo

Our 2016 photo contest drew more than 50 entries, and here are the winners and other favorites selected by the River Cities’ Reader staff from our three categories: “Red,” “White,” and “Blue.” Many thanks to all who entered!

Photo by Bruce Walters.

Abraham Lincoln is listening to a young man seated on a railroad track. Lincoln’s deep-set eyes look outward, not returning the gaze of the young man. His left hand rises to his face in a speaking gesture, but his smile seems to have frozen – cut off as if by a sudden realization.

Photo by Bruce Walters.

Stylistically, the Porter Building – in the Annie Wittenmyer complex at 2800 Eastern Avenue in Davenport – is an English Period Cottage. Its half-timbered frame and steep pitched gables are drawn from European medieval building techniques.

Its architectural style is fairly unusual for the Quad Cities. What really sets it apart visually, however, is its playful, creative brickwork. Regular rows of bricks give way to unorthodox coursing patterns in the middle section of the walls. Like a stream of consciousness, like the drip paintings by Jackson Pollock, the rows of bricks wrap around large stones, rise up and down in waves, then – suddenly – are stacked at odd angles.

The building was designed by Bradley Rust (1908 -2000), an Iowa City architect. It is his earliest work that still stands, and perhaps his most creative. Nearly 500 construction and remodeling projects created by Rust are maintained by the State Historical Society of Iowa in Iowa City.

There isn’t another building in the Quad Cities quite like it. Its connections to history, however, are equally unexpected. And genuinely significant.

Playgrounds can be innovative, bold environments with intriguing sculptural forms: their colors bright and exciting; their designs active - imprinted with the rhythms of jumping, climbing, running, and hanging. They can capture our imagination as fully as abstract works of fine art.


"When I was a child in Australia," says 75-year-old Ron Campbell, "the way you saw cartoons was you went to the movies on Saturday afternoons, which was the way the movie industry catered to the children's audience. We went to see Hopalong Cassidy and Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, but before all that bang-bang cowboy stuff, there were cartoons. And I remember thinking, when I was like seven years old, that Tom and Jerry were real, and were somehow behind the screen running around.

The Giant Wheel rises to a height of 110 feet above Modern Woodmen Park's baseball field in Davenport. This exciting addition to the Quad Cities' riverfront is part viewing platform, part light display, part landmark. It is also a part of our regional history.

Many thanks to those who submitted entries to our 2015 photography contest, with the categories "On the Waterfront," "School's Out," "Summer in the City," and "Hot Stuff!" Our favorites are presented here, along with any comments from the photographer. Click on each photo for a larger version.

The River Cities' Reader's summer photo contest has returned, with four new categories for your submissions: "On the Waterfront," "School's Out," "Summer in the City," and "Hot Stuff!"

Photo by Bruce Walters.

The height of the five-story Black Hawk mural in the Rock Island District is what first catches our eye. Our attention continues to be held as we begin to realize that much of the mural is a painted illusion of three-dimensional space - blended seamlessly with actual architectural forms. Its most compelling aspect, however, may be the clash of values between Native American culture and ours that can be discovered in the work.

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