Vilsack Unveils Iowa Quarter Design

CEDAR RAPIDS – Governor Tom Vilsack announced today thatFoundation in Education Quarter Image “Foundation in Education,” based on a painting by world-renowned Iowa artist Grant Wood, will be the design for Iowa’s state quarter.  The image on the quarter is based on the painting “Arbor Day,” and shows a group of students and a teacher planting a tree outside a one-room schoolhouse.  The Iowa quarter will go into circulation in August 2004.

“From the one-room schoolhouse to the virtual classroom, Iowa has a strong foundation in education,” Governor Vilsack said.  “The Iowa quarter will be a symbol to the rest of the nation of Iowa’s values: that we are committed to our responsibility to educating our young people, that we respect our agricultural heritage and work to protect our environment, that we are dedicated to helping people secure a brighter future and contribute to their communities, and that we are determined to create opportunity for all Iowans.”

Vilsack made the announcement at PMX Industries in Cedar Rapids, an advanced manufacturing company whose products include copper plating used by the U.S. Mint to make quarters.

“It is fitting that we are holding this announcement today here at PMX Industries, an Iowa advanced manufacturing company,” the Governor said.  “Education is at the heart of Iowa values, and the Iowa Values Fund will be instrumental in helping us create additional opportunities and good-paying jobs for Iowans in industries like advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and information solutions.”

The Iowa quarter design was developed through submissions, suggestions, and comment from the public.  The Iowa Quarter Commission, appointed by the Governor, oversaw the process and submitted five initial designs to be considered by the U.S. Mint. 

The U.S. Mint did not approve two of the quarter designs.  “American Gothic,” based on Grant Wood’s most famous painting, was rejected by the Mint because of legal issues over rights to the image.  “The Five Sullivan Brothers,” based on the five Sullivan brothers of Waterloo who were killed serving on the same U.S. Navy ship during World War II, was not approved because of rules that prohibit certain representations, such as a "head and shoulder portrait or bust of any person, living or dead."   

To honor the Sullivan brothers, the Governor renamed the Governor’s Award of Valor, a special commendation presented to law enforcement officers who have performed heroic acts to save the lives of others while risking their own lives.  The award is now known as the Sullivan Brothers Award of Valor.  The Governor decided to rename the award after the U.S. Mint ruled out the Sullivan brothers quarter design.

Governor Vilsack chose the final quarter design from five choices approved by U.S. Treasury Secretary John W. Snow.  The other finalists were “Beautiful Land,” based on the Grant Wood painting “Young Corn,” and three variations on “Feeding the World,” an agricultural theme from Iowa artist Lennis Moore.