Publisher Roderick Kabel was born in Kansas and raised in the small farming community of Manchester, in North Eastern Iowa. His love for all things creative lead him to Des Moines in 1986 to study Fine Art at Grand View College. After graduating with bachelor degrees in Graphic Design and Fine Art, he embarked on a sojourn of graphic design careers finally finding his true calling in the publishing industry.
As the Creative Director and Production Manager for two different publishing companies from 1998 to 2003, Roderick was provided the opportunity to work and learn from some of the publishing industry’s best. He soon found himself winning awards for publishing page design and became an authority on electronic pre-press, page layout and electronic publishing at national conferences. Cementing his love for the publishing industry. However, this career success was tempered by a lack of fulfillment — his creative soul was slowly fading, and he needed to recapture the original fire that fanned his spirit. So, he left the publishing world to supercharge an ever-growing freelance graphic design business. Although successful, industry shifts and a cut-throat graphic design industry pressured his freelance development.
Kabel’s own epiphany came on July 16, 2003. Trained as a fine artist, Kabel’s current form of expression was in modifying auto engine parts and reconfiguring them into sculptural items and figures. As his hands busied themselves in his studio, his mind wandered along an ever-shifting creative path. Yearning again for the publishing business, his thoughts turned into questions; “is there any publication covering the arts I could work for?” “Is there such a publication serving the Midwest?” “If not, why not?” The seed of inspiration had been planted.
After days of Internet searching and phone calls, Kabel determined there was no publication solely dedicated to the arts. Yes, there are many publications that do write about art and culture (Fairfield, Quad Cities, Council Bluffs, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Decorah and Des Moines). However, these publications also include general issues such as politics, local news, entertainment and their local bar band scene. There was nothing that strictly covered the Fine Arts, publishing articles covering artists and cultural opportunities, or providing insight and opinions from the vast cultural audience in the Midwest. Hence, Kabel’s bold new creation of Art Scene: “The Midwest’s publication dedicated to the arts and culture.”
Now over 10 years old, Kabel’s publication, Art Scene Iowa, relishes over 550 distribution locations in more than 60 towns and cities in the Midwest and is seen as the premier cultural publication in the area. Art Scene continues to connect the arts and cultural happenings that are in our own back yard, a few blocks away, the next town over and just a few hundred miles away.