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Art in Arboretum

Art in the Arboretum

The Arboretum is home to 9 permanent sculptures. NABG collaborated with the City of Newton, the Center for Arts and Artists, and generous donors to acquire art for display on the grounds.

During your visit, we hope you appreciate the Art in the Arboretum. Learn about the artists, their inspiration, and the donors.


Periwinkle is a limited edition bronze casting of an original sculpture by Jane Rankin. Jane’s sculpture was selected for the Community Purchase Award at the 2003 debut of the Iowa Sculpture Festival. The Arboretum became the perfect place to exhibit this whimsical young girl who captures the beauty of a periwinkle flower between her toes while watering.

Jane Rankin
February 18, 1945 – April 30, 2019
After a life of travel as a military wife, Jane’s family settled in Monument, Colorado. A former schoolteacher, Jane’s work reflects the innocence of youth. She often used her children and grandchildren as inspiration.

“We need beauty in our lives for emotional and social well-being.”


Boyhood Wonder created by Nick Klepinger of Reasnor, Iowa was made using the lost-wax casting method. This bronze sculpture, privately commissioned by Ed & Geneva Trost of Newton, was gifted to the Arboretum for display at the pond.

Boyhood Wonder embodies the innocence of youth enjoying nature with a sense of adventure and curiosity. A young boy is in full anticipation of a frog about to leap into the water.

Nick Klepinger has been an active, award-winning artist for over 30 years. His work is proudly displayed in Newton and throughout the state.


Serenity is one of four pieces on Arboretum grounds created by Dale Merrill. Donated by Ralph & Glenis Nunn, the welded steel butterfly flutters in ‘serenity’ within the Butterfly Garden.

‘A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam, and for a brief moment its glory and beauty belong to our world. But then it flies on again, and though we wish it could have stayed, we feel so lucky to have seen it.’

Dale Merrill owns Liberty Iron Works in Mt. Vernon, Iowa. His career as a welder naturally expanded into art.  His current works include public and private sculpture, residential and commercial architectural installations, and custom furniture. Dale is known for mixing metals and finishes to maximize contrast. A prolific sculptor, his work can be found throughout Iowa.


The Weatherman was commissioned and donated to the Arboretum by Carl & Barbara Zacheis of Newton. Another Dale Merrill creation that features mixed metals.

The Weatherman is a combination of science and math. Weather gauges and geometrical shapes all come together to function as the Arboretum’s weather station.


Donated by Quentin DeVore the Armillary is the third metal sculpture at the Arboretum created by Dale Merrill.

An armillary sphere is a model of objects in the sky. It’s a spherical framework of rings, centered on the Earth or the Sun, that represents lines of celestial longitude and latitude. Armillaries were used to show the movement of celestial bodies through the heavens.


Herons is a pair of stainless steel, lifelike sculptures. This is the fourth piece of art created by Dale Merrill.

These graceful, native Iowa birds reside at the stream. Gifted to the Arboretum by Dwight & Becky Stanfield in 2005, this pair keeps silent watch over all passing over Maxine’s Bow Bridge.


Soda Fountain was donated as a memorial sculpture for Margaret Poage Anderson. This steel sculpture with cables streaming was created by John B. Brommell of Des Moines, Iowa.

John spent 35 years as a steamfitter. His lifelong interest in art found a natural outlet in welding. He taught himself to sculpt with metals and broadened his media to stone. John also began painting. An active artist his work can be found displayed around the state.

“My art is a never-ending journey of discovery and invention. I avidly recycle and repurpose material, drawing from diverse technical genres, searching out new and innovative applications.”


Kids Walking On Log was donated to the Arboretum as a memorial for Dale & Berdine Nolin. Three kids are precariously crossing a log on their way to go fishing.

Attributed to Ken Ross, this is another sculpture that portrays the joys of childhood.


Created by Lucas Remley as the Bonnie Hansen Memorial, this sculpture has special meaning for the Hansen family.

Nine butterflies adorn the sculpture. Each butterfly represents one of Bonnie’s children. A closer inspection also reveals multiple cocoons attached to the flowers. The cocoons portray her grandchildren.

The memorial acts as a floral family tree for the Hansen family.