One painterly professor

June 23, 2011 —

You read in the blog about this weekend’s Des Moines Arts Festival, a veritable visual feast not to be missed. Making the festival even better is “the other art show,” the ArtFest Midwest, also this weekend in the air-conditioned Varied Industries Building at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

Professor Gary Hoff paints still-lifes and much more.

ArtFest Midwest is especially special to DMU, because the more than 200 Iowa and regional artists featured at this ninth annual juried fine arts event will include Gary Hoff, D.O., FACOI, FACC, chair of DMU’s medical humanities and bioethics department. This cardiologist is loaded with talent: His works include paintings, portraits, pencil drawings and more; he’ll display oil paintings, his preferred medium, at this year’s ArtFest.

“Perhaps the most important part of my work – for me, anyway – is seeing, not simply looking, and then translating that close observation into paint – an endlessly fascinating process,” Dr. Hoff says.

His participation in Artfest will not only please the eye; it also will help eradicate polio: He plans to devote 10 percent of his art sales’ revenue to Rotary International’s efforts toward that goal. In response to a $355 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the organization is raising another $200 million to support immunization campaigns in developing countries where polio continues to infect and paralyze children. Dr. Hoff is a member of the Des Moines Rotary, which, in its 100th year, is the oldest Rotary west of the Mississippi River.

Dr. Hoff also was accepted this February into membership of the Salmagundi Club in New York, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious organizations of artists.

Admission to ArtFest Midwest is free, just like the Des Moines Arts Festival. Enjoying both festivals is made easy by the bright yellow school buses that shuttle continuously between the downtown festival and the fairgrounds. So put on your walking shoes, grab your friends and get ready for an art- and fun-filled weekend!


Endlessly curious and easily entertained, Barb Dietrich Boose loves being a member of the friendly, fascinating DMU community and its creative communications team. The University's publications director and DMU Magazine editor, Barb is always on the hunt for story ideas, good books and new recipes to try out on her family, such as her surprisingly tasty pork-and-bean bars.