People of Siouxland – Portraits of the Extraordinary

Carving an Extraordinary Life

More than two decades ago, Mark Avery ended a significant chapter in his life. He left a prominent career as a businessman to pursue his burning passion for the arts. What he didn’t know is that his passion would lead him to a path of philanthropy. A path that he has continued to walk on to this day. 

Long before they were displayed in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. Transportation Center in downtown Sioux City, these 14 busts were at Mark’s home studio. These are sculptures of people who have made a lasting impact on Siouxland as part of the Celebrating Community Project. 

Each sculpture was individually crafted by Mark. Originally molded with clay before being cast into a bronze sculpture, Mark spends at least six months creating each bust. 

In between his artistry, the Sioux City native has also created Kindness Siouxland, a community project focusing on spreading kindness through brightly colored signs in the shape of thought bubbles displayed across local schools and retirement homes. That is not all…he’s got 5,000 more signs ready to go for display. 

“When you do art, it helps you see the different layers of existence, and it also helps you to not only understand yourself but also understand how you relate to others and how they relate to you,” shared Mark. 

Mark was born in Sioux City, May 22, 1954. He and his wife have been married for 42 years. They have two daughters and one son.

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