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Exploring Iowa's Loess Hills through Art and Storytelling

Kathy Fiscus is a local artist that creates paintings based on the Loess Hills of western Iowa. Her work covers the formation of the Loess Hills, the archeologic history of the hills, who lived here, what lived here, and the seasonality of this specific ecosystem. Her goal is to draw attention to the unique landform and make a difference for the future of the hills!


According to Fiscus, the most rewarding aspect of this five-year-long project has been "…revealing the fascinating pre-history formation of the hills, and to explain why the Loess Hills are fragile and easily erode."

In January of 2022, Fiscus presented her body of work at the Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center. Check out the outstanding presentation below! After viewing the presentation, Kathy recommends visiting the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway to experience the wonder of the hills for yourself.

About the Artwork Above:

Monona Hidden History Series:

The yellow image above is of Monona County depicting Preparation Canyon, famous in Mormon history.  In addition, this valley is the home of "Turin Man", a pre-history skeleton plus of other family members near Turin Iowa. Then the dark areas represent purple volcanic ash in the loess that was determined to have blown in from volcanoes near Yellowstone Park!

Harrison County Series Yucca and Toad:

The green image above is of Harrison and Pottawattamie Counties.  Depicted is a yucca plant and the pre-history spade foot toad.  Interestingly, the yucca plant and other plant species blew in from southwest desert areas and settled on dry hilltops in the Loess Hills.  In fact, you can still see yucca plants growing at Folsom Point in Pottawattamie County just off Interstate 29 South near Bunge and Google.

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