About the Us

I am Peggy Fleming, long-time artist and collector. I was challenged by Steve Schutt and the folks from Clarion, Iowa to develop a show in the Des Moines area that would continue the tradition of Teddy Bear Reunion in the Heartland in the context of the changes in the market over the last quarter of a century. Since this is something I would like to experience myself, I accepted the challenge. Steve's signature line is "Be magic!" and that's what he sent me off to do. I hope that my cohorts and I can live up to that.

The Dream Continues

Trying to recreate the magic of something that started over 25 years ago and holds a special place in our hearts is a daunting task. The world has changed, the cast of artists and collectors have changed, collecting itself has changed. Time marches on and instead of trying to recreate shows of the past, it's time to build a new one. We're starting small and keeping an open mind, welcoming feedback from collectors and artsts about what you want this show to be. The one constant is that it should encompass the things that we all hold dear - teddy bears and their friends - dolls, folk art, a few antiques...and most of all the friendships that have developed around our common interests.

Experience

For those of you who don’t know me, I have been a teddy bear artist for over 25 years, have exhibited all over the country, and am a former designer for Effanbee Doll Company. I also make dolls and Santas and primitive pieces. I am President of the Iowa Teddy Bear Makers’ Guild and in my spare time I have a full-time career as Director of Communications at a local community bank. I serve on the national board of my professional association and I have serious marketing skills.

In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, I was part of a group who produced teddy bear shows in Des Moines. I worked with Steve Schutt on his 2010 and 2015 Teddy Bear Reunion in the Heartland convention. I have consulted with a team of advisors that includes Daniel Epley and Joel Hoy, the former promotors of Kansas City Teddy Bear Jubilee in its heyday and former owners of Dolls, Bears and Funny Hares, and several artists to design this event.

I am regularly besieged by requests for another show here in Des Moines. The demise of the Kansas City Teddy Bear Jubilee and Teddy Bear Reunion in 2015 left a huge void in this part of the country. We now have no shows and few shops that offer what we like to collect. People are longing for a new shopping experience.

A Celebration of Art that Touches the Heart

The tradition of Teddy Bear Reunion in the Heartland emphasizes the teddy bear as an art form. Artists and collectors alike have expanded their interest to include art dolls,folk art, and steam punk. Most of us have a mix in our collections. We will celebrate the varied work of these artists and in October, we will gather to celebrate the art of the teddy bear with special exhibits and activities.