Skip To Main Content

Shelli Finch Art Exhibit begins Aug. 26

Shelli Finch

Marshalltown native, Shelli Finch, will kick off the new academic year as the first featured artist at the newest exhibit in the Ray Frederick Gallery, room 306, on the Marshalltown Community College campus. The exhibit opens with a reception at 12:15-1:30 pm, Wednesday, Aug. 26, and will be on display through noon Friday, Sept. 18. This month’s exhibit will feature Shelli’s canvas work.

“After 15 years, I feel like I’m still learning every time I paint,” says Shelli. Shelli was born and raised in Marshalltown, and graduated from Marshalltown High School. She was a self-proclaimed “jock” in high school, participating in basketball, track, softball, and golf. She didn’t take any high school art classes. Then after taking one year of classes at MCC, things changed for her.

“After a year at MCC, I moved to Boston and took a nanny job. While I was there, I visited the Museum of Fine Art almost every weekend, spending a lot of time in the Early American Art sections of the museum. I also had a chance to travel to New York and really solidified my interest in Art and Art History while visiting the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), and the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA).  At that time, I was simply a fan of art…drawn to History and pieces of art with historical importance and also to the romanticism of Delacroix, Goya, Waterhouse, and Turner.”

After her time in Boston, she finished her undergraduate degree at Northwest Missouri State University, receiving a bachelor’s in English. She then took another job as a nanny in New York, then moved to Omaha, NE, and eventually landed back in Marshalltown.

Shelli Finch artwork Shelli Finch Artwork

When Shelli returned to her hometown she began taking some art classes at MCC. She says it was those classes that really helped push her to becoming serious about her artwork.

“In 2000, after my son was born, I began to take painting and sculpture classes from Tim Castle,” says Shelli. “The freedom that Tim allows his students to experiment and learn, and the synergy of working around young students helped push me even further. I became involved in the Central Iowa Art Association and took classes there, and was included in a few local shows and exhibitions.”

Shelli says she challenges visitors of the exhibit to “look for what is underneath”.

“What started this exploration of ‘beneath’ or ‘under’ was the saddest moment of my life—when my father died of a massive heart attack in February of 2012. To me, the past three years have been spent covering my sorrow and pain so that I can be strong enough to help my family through crisis. The paintings for this show were created as a way to deal with my hidden grief and pain, but they were also created as a way to relax, unwind, discover, and release.”

Shelli currently resides in Marshalltown, and works as an Administrative Assistant at Emerson Process Management-Fisher Controls.

“I’ve been feeling a strong pull to learn new techniques and mediums. I’m interested in incorporating more photographic images in my art and have been looking at and experimenting with new ways in which to do that. I’d also like to work with digital media and drawing on the computer. Because I came to art so late in my life, I feel like I’m behind the 8-ball to learn, experiment, and create. My hope, as is most artist’s, is to be able to create art full-time and make a living at being a professional artist.”

The Ray Frederick Gallery is open weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm. For more information contact MCC Art Professor Tim Castle at 641-844-5776 or

Related Articles