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The new addition to the Pottawattamie County’s public art collection, “Goldfinch Gates,” features Council Bluffs artist Cait Irwin.

“The concept aims to represent the experience of travelling down a trail while being led by Iowa’s state bird, the Goldfinch,” said a press release. “The two panels at the entrance have a sunrise sky design, while the other end of the bridge beautifully displays a sunset sky design.”

The exhibit contributes to the public art collection through the initiative ArtFITS (Art on the Frontier Iowa Trails System).

Irwin has known since a young age that she was an artist.

“It’s like breathing, it is necessary and life giving for me,” she said. “Although I have been creating art my whole life, I have only been officially full time for seven years.”

Irwin found her inspiration for this project from her two great loves: art and nature.

“This project was an opportunity to combine those passions,” she said. “When I read what the intention was for this project — to create art that fits the surrounding area — I immediately thought of the many walks I have taken in nature and I recalled my interactions with wildlife, especially birds.”

“The ‘Goldfinch Gates’ installation can be found on one of the newest segments of the trail near Railroad Highway, just east of County Road L34,” said Pottawattamie County Trails Association Board President Courtney Harter. “The current trail extension starts at Smith Wildlife Area which is located about a quarter-mile north of Husker Lane along Railroad Avenue.”

The artwork takes some time to get to, as work continues to connect the trail to the bridge and beyond toward Underwood and Neola. Those interested in seeing it could park along the highway and walking through some tall grass.


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