Area residents will be treated to an exceptional collection of the works of Vinton resident John F. Kortson at the La Porte City FFA Historical and Ag Museum. The exhibit entitled “A Simple Kind of Beauty” will be on display from September 3-November 21.

A special opening for the exhibit will be held on September 10 from 6:30-8:30 PM. Mary Ellyn Jensen, former local resident, will speak about Kortson and his work. Mary Ellyn collected antiques for many years but became interested in art when she saw how the human spirit shines through so many people in how they see and express their world through all art mediums. Admission will be $2.00.  Light refreshments will be served.

John Kortson retired to Vinton after spending his life farming in the Cedar Rapids area. He began painting at the age of 83, after having suffered the loss of his wife and the crippling effects of arthritis and diabetes. (Kortson would lose a leg to diabetes and eventually arthritis would paralyze all but his thumb and the first finger on the hand he painted with.) While he began with watercolors, his sister-in-law purchased him some oil paints to encourage his painting. Having no formal training, Kortson had to experiment with technique. He found that learning to mix the oils to obtain the tone you wanted was his biggest challenge, but also gave him the most freedom as an artist. Kortson once stated that he had spent his entire career trying to master the color of a chestnut sorrel horse. While Kortson may not have felt he mastered that color, his works reflect fabulous colors from a vibrant palette.

As Museum Director Jan Erdahl noted, “We are extremely happy to have this collection to share. We feel that Kortson’s paintings, done in the midst of severe health issues and deep losses, reflect a poignant lesson in the pioneer spirit of Iowans, that despite everything they continue to see a simple inspiration in life.”

For more information on the exhibit or to schedule a tour you may contact the Museum at 319-342-3619, visit the website at or on Facebook.