The town of Grinnell has recently been named one of the finalists in the Prettiest Painted Places in America competition. Grinnell is one of ten finalists in the North Central region, and is the only city in Iowa to be a finalist, edging out six other applicants.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be one of the finalists. …It’s exciting to know Grinnell stood out to the judges as a finalist,” said Emily Schmitt-Counts of the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce.

The Paint Quality Institute holds the competition in order to promote appealingly painted communities, cities, neighborhoods and towns across the United States. To apply, each nominee needed to submit a minimum of 15 photographs that exemplify painted murals, buildings, statues and more from the nominated place. A panel of judges looked at over 200 entries and judged each community based on their evaluation of the overall aesthetics in terms of appropriate color selection and architectural style.

There are ten finalists from each of six different geographic regions. The final round of judging will select one small place and one large place from each of the six regions to be named the twelve prettiest painted places in America.

Photo by Emma Sinai-Yunker

“All the beautiful homes and businesses make Grinnell an attractive and inviting community,” Schmitt-Counts said. “Pretty, well-kept neighborhoods and downtown appeal to visitors as well as potential residents.”

Grinnell’s photo submissions included pictures of local businesses, residences and the mural on the Railway Express building. The mural, called “Eclipse,” was painted by David Loewenstein and is considered one of Grinnell’s main attractions.

Being named a finalist shows that Grinnell has a very large talent pool.

“Grinnell is a vibrant community with a lot of arts and culture opportunities, especially for a town our size. Art is definitely appreciated in Grinnell, although all but one photo [of the mural] submitted was of nicely painted and well-kept homes and businesses,” Schmitt-Counts said.

The winners of the competition should be announced in the next week or so, according to the Paint Quality Institute blog.

“It is an incredible honor to be the only Iowa community named as a finalist in the competition,” Schmitt-Counts said. “We already know Grinnell is a special place, but accolades like this make others take a closer look at our community.”