Art Beacon Digital Residency

15 NOV TUE 2021

My Art Practice – It Might Not Look Like Art

Before the “Days of COVID” series there were four Riverview Artist Salons (RAS) (17-20) and a couple Salonniere DSM events. RAS19 was held at xBk Live the day the WHO declared COVID a pandemic and 6 days later I started working my day job from home for what would be an “indefinite” amount of time.

RAS is a community service art project I started In January 2017 and Salonniere DSM is where River City Art and Music (RCAM) got its start back in 2014 with a group of the same name.

The RAS mission is “To elevate the status of Creatives living in our cities and state and to provide a center for networking, public engagement, new ideas, personal development and artistic growth”. Events include Poetry Intermezzo, Art Advocacy, Community Outreach, Creative Showcase and Pop-Up Art Show. Member’s of a RAS Facebook Group and/or other Iowa Creatives come forward and/or are invited to participate in a free two hour public event to share their words, sound, passions and works. Events were held at the Des Moines Social Club, University of Iowa Pappajohn Center for Higher Education, Mainframe Studios and most recently it’s new homebase, xBk Live. Due to the COVID pandemic, and lack of funding, events are on hold.

Salonniere DSM is membership based and includes small, intimate gatherings where art, music or cultural events are the highlight with dining experiences at locally owned Des Moines restaurants. Due to the COVID pandemic, events are on hold.

Each event “is” a work of art and requires a lot of creative thinking to bring it to life. I create a “theme”, which everything revolves around, promotional content, publicity, copywriting, graphic design, planning, coordinating, decorating, timing, narration, etc., etc. Using my education and skills acquired from 10 years in hospitality management, including 4 in conference center/event management, I know a thing or two about back and front of the house. It’s been a great marriage of my “own” art and my “career” to bring this great passion of mine to life.

“If you dream it, you can do it. What’s stopping you?” – vlvh

Art Beacon Digital Residency

14 NOV TUE 2021

My Past Work

Before ZODIAC there were The Days of Covid

July 2020, I was self isolating at Phenix in Valley Junction, Iowa, working from home, having groceries delivered, only frequenting places where masks were required, overwhelmed by the daily dosing of COVID numbers, laws, and mandates. I needed an outlet to vent my frustrations about people who refused to get vaccinated, the anti-vaxxers. I created this short series of drawings throughout the month on the pages of a Moleskine Kraft Cahier Journal, using an 0.5 ALVIN Draft/Matic No. DM05 Mechanical Pencil, Pentel Arts Hybrid Technica Ink Pens and Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils.

Did it help? Yes it did.

If you’re not vaccinated, for your safety and the safety of others, visit to find a vaccine location near you.


Art Beacon Digital Residency


14 NOV TUE 2021

Context – Life’s Work

This short notice digital residency has forced me to take a fast and hard look at my Life’s Work. Thank you Rachel Buse for the push. The timing couldn’t have been any better as I move into a new phase of my life. Everything happens for a reason, and this is one of several positive things that have happened since my INK365Draw show at Five Monkeys was cancelled (rescheduled to Sat. Nov. 20th 6-8 p.m.)

This residency has pushed me to reflect on the past, today and the future. Long ago I started my Artist’s Journey with a scholarship at the art center, then aced every course in high school and the one year I spent at Grandview majoring in Art. However, as I’m sure many of you can relate to, life gets in the way and can change your journey. That’s what happened to me.

Art has always been with me and used “alot” in other ways, but many times my own art was not a priority. Sure I rolled all those credits at Grandview and the University of Chicago into a Minor in Design Studies at Iowa State, but I knew at the age I was when I returned to my studies that I couldn’t live on an Artist’s salary, I had to be smart to put a roof over my head and went with my second passion, hospitality, which I knew I could make a lot of money doing.

Fast forward, the 60+ 365/7, high paying career is gone, and it took forty three years to get back to where I left off, spending the past eleven years fully immersed in my unconventional art practices mostly part-time, but now full time with a side job. Complete reversal and I cannot put into words the feelings I have about coming back to where I’m supposed to be. I have always been an Artist, since I was six years old. It’s about time I returned home and share my work with you.

@valerievanhorne_artist @ink365draw

“Life is too short to not have fun everyday” – vlvh

RAS Photo: @dan_troxell


Art Beacon Digital Residency

13 NOV TUE 2021

My Art Practice

Behind the scenes of any art practice are the daily tasks and chores of living.

Only three weeks into my part time job, and I’m still figuring out the rhythm to each day. This new life, where my life’s work is provided more time, is a welcome transition.

And the day isn’t over yet!

Art Beacon Digital Residency

11 NOV TUE 2021

My Art Practice

“The medium doesn’t matter to me. I start with a thought and use whatever I want to bring it into existence.” vlvh

A full time day job and a couple community service art projects were taking up a lot of time and getting into the studio to work on my own art was becoming increasingly difficult. It was actually starting to make me feel miserable because I didn’t think I could call myself an “artist” since I wasn’t making any art on a regular basis. That’s when I shifted my perspective.

I started seeing my community service art projects as part of my practice – a practice that wasn’t just about being in a studio but included supporting Iowa Creative’s and connecting them to a larger community. By not defining my art through one lens, I recognized my art practice had matured and grown and I started to see the bigger picture and my role as an “artist”.

With a switch to a part time day job I no longer have to squeeze my own art into whenever I have time. I can now plunge deeper into my life’s work. My art practice includes my own art, community service art projects, mentoring other artists. and engaging creatively as often and in as many ways as I can.

📷 @karl.ajconrad & @alexjacobsphotography

Art Beacon Digital Residency Nov. 9th to Nov. 22nd 2021

09 NOV TUE 2021

Back Story & Catch Up

The Art Beacon is a resource for finding out about art happenings in Central Iowa and Artist Rachel Buse is it’s driving force. Currently living and working in Des Moines, Iowa, Buse is also the co-owner of Portrait Studio, an interactive drawing exchange between artist and sitter and manages the Art Beacon Digital Residency on Instagram for Iowa artists to share their work.

The Art Beacon Digital Residency offers a view into diverse art practices from Iowa-connected artists and helps them become visible to a community outside of their established network.  Artists can personally share context around their work that might otherwise be missed or overseen and can connect with new artists accrued through the Art Beacon Instagram account. Residencies run from 1-2 weeks in length and Artists are invited by the Buse and are occasionally selected from call submissions.

When Rachel Buse invited me to participate in the digital residency, of course I said, “Yes!”. I respect her role in Iowa’s Creative Community and appreciate her support of my Life’s Work.

Over a period of two weeks I’ll share with you my art practices, images of past work, what I’ve been up to over the past year with my INK365Draw project and my upcoming pop-up show on Saturday, November 20th at Five Monkeys Inc. in Historic Valley Junction.


“The medium doesn’t matter to me. I start with a thought and use whatever I want to bring it into existence.” – vlvh

Artist’s Journey

My Grampa Van Horne was an Artist.  He was a lithographer, photographer, inventor, outdoorsman, craftsman, visual artist and comedian.  He served in WW1, making maps and taking pictures in France and worked for Iowa Lithographing before and after the war.  He, my Grandma and Uncle Bob all lived in a bungalow near the corner of 26th and Woodland in Des Moines.  Many fond memories in that house.  Many fond memories with my Grampa and his cat, Tiger.

I guess I take after him.

It was my First Grade Teacher, Miss Hoffman, who recognized my talent and awarded the school’s only scholarship to me for classes at the Des Moines Art Center.  Having the love and support of family and teachers is crucial to the success of any Artist.  It boosted my self esteem and made me feel special.  I had big dreams and goals, and with their love and support I knew I could achieve them.


Artist’s Journey

Let’s start here …

I had no idea I would find this photo album in an old trunk I only decided to bring on my move because I had a spot to fill.  The story behind this album’s journey is long.  It’s filled with photographs taken over a lifetime and carefully assembled by my Mom after my Dad passed away.  I don’t remember when she gave it to me, or when I put it in the trunk, but here it is at the right time.