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Parisian Artist On Falling In Love With Iowa And The Mississippi River

The Mississippi River alongside Fort Madison

You wouldn't expect a world-renowned charcoal and pastel artist like Cecile Houel to move from Paris to the southeastern corner of Iowa, and she didnt either. But Houel fell in love with Iowa, drawing strength and inspiration from the Mississippi River.

In this Talk of Iowa segment, Charity Nebbe talks with Houel about her life and career in Paris, her first impressions of Iowa and what has kept her here, her love of humanity, and her desire to heal through her work.

Houel is currently working on painting portraits of every recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, an idea she came up with 30 years ago while painting Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr. She has painted 17 so far. She also works on her collection God's Feet and sculpts driftwood paintings.