Three days of art, music and film will replace Western Gateway Park in Des Moines as the Des Moines Arts Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary from June 24-26.
Stephen King, the executive director of the Des Moines Art Festival, has been at the festival for 16 years and has seen it expand to include more artists and programming.
“As we all know, the Iowans like to hibernate during the winter,” joked King. “So this is a great opportunity for them to jump out there and see everyone again. I also think one of the biggest draws is the artists, to be able to see both artists who have been here before and then just go out to see who it is. new, how the new job looks and trying to explore something new. “
According to King, the festival will feature 32 more artists than last year, for a total of 190 visual artists.
The artists hail from 34 different states and Nova Scotia. Of the 190 artists, 17 are from Iowa and 53 from neighboring states of Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin.
“For me, it’s like a family reunion,” King said. “I know a lot of these artists, thanks to past experiences and the Des Moines Arts Festival. So it’s always nice and fun to see them on the weekend. I love to look at art, I love to buy art, as my wife will point out, but this is really my favorite “.
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With many artists losing revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent lockdowns, King sees the Arts Festival as a way for the community to support independent artists.
“Coupled with their talent, there is a need for us to help support their business,” King said. “I definitely think Des Moines as a community has shown how incredibly they support individual artists. I think one of the things that the Arts Festival offers is that opportunity to meet the artists, to know who that person is and understand what the story behind it is. the work they produced. “
Here’s what you need to know about the 25th Annual Des Moines Festival of the Arts.
What is the Des Moines Arts Festival?
The festival has its roots in 1958, when the Des Moines Art Center hosted the All Iowa Art Fair to celebrate its 10th anniversary, according to the Des Moines Arts Festival website.
The exhibition underwent several name and location changes until 1998, when it was moved downtown along the Des Moines River and renamed the Des Moines Arts Festival.
While the first All Iowa Art Fair attracted only a few hundred guests, the Des Moines Arts Festival now boasts an annual attendance of over 200,000 people. The Arts Festival has seen more than 2.5 million visitors since it moved downtown in 1998.
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“I can’t tell you how many times it has been shared with us by companies that helped sponsor the festival how important art and culture are in our community,” King said. “Things like these festivals are important to our communities for the ideal place to live, the quality of life, the retention of employees, not to mention the tax base it is contributing and helping to support the community at large.”
A portion of the proceeds from the Arts Festival goes to support the Des Moines Art Center.
Before leaving: what to know about parking and admission to the Des Moines Arts Festival
Admission to the festival is free. However, VIP packages are available for purchase on the Des Moines Arts Festival website for as low as $ 80 and include access to the Silent Rivers VIP Club at the festival, fast lane at food outlets, a commemorative poster, and more. benefits.
The VIP car park is located at 212 Walnut St., at the intersection of 12th Street and Walnut Street.
For non-VIPs, Nationwide Insurance offers free parking on its ramp at 1100 Walnut St., between 10th and 12th Streets, starting at 11am on Fridays and throughout the weekend.
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In addition, DART’s free D-Line shuttle runs every 10 minutes from the Iowa State Capitol to Western Gateway Park. Line D operates from 6:30 to 18:00 from Monday to Friday and from 7:00 to 17:00 on Saturdays.
For those hoping to avoid traffic altogether, biking is another option. The festival will have a free parking service sponsored by Friends of Central Iowa Trails. The valet will be on Locust Street between 15th and 16th streets. The bike valet will close every day 30 minutes after the end of the festival.
Emerging artists at the Arts Festival
Since 2003, the Arts Festival has been helping young emerging artists through the Emerging Iowa Artists program.
Iowans enrolled in any higher education institution are welcome to apply. Young artists are selected through the same process as the jury that selects professional artists. It offers emerging artists the opportunity to exhibit and sell their works of art together with festival professionals, at no cost to them.
The seven emerging artists of this year are:
- Haleigh Anderson by Ames, a student at Iowa State University
- Ashley Craddock by Ankeny, a student at Grandview University
- Becca Hickok by Des Moines, a student at Drake University
- Kayana Janay by Des Moines, a student at Grandview University
- Megan Rohr by Oskaloosa, a student at Central College
- Luca Schuster by Johnston, a student at the Universidad de Antonio Nebrija
- Alima Sula of Cedar Falls, a student at Kirkwood Community College
Art, films and music to discover
The Interrobang Film Festival will return to the Des Moines Central Public Library, 1000 Grand Ave., during the Arts Fest, with a competition partly with jury, partly public screening and partly workshop. Go to the library to see films like “Steps to the Moon”, “Cattle on Earth” and “Jimmy in Saigon”, or check out one of the short film sessions with three or more screenings together.
For a more hands-on Arts Fest experience, check out one of the many free interactive art activities offered. Prairie Meadows and the Altoona Lions Club will offer a spin art station, and the Blank Park Zoo will help guests create seed balls to plant. Create a DIY bird nest at the Iowa Bird Rehabilitation Station, or design and spray paint your own custom tee with help from Supply Hive volunteers. Whatever your artistic niche, the Arts Festival’s many interactive activities have you covered.
The 25th anniversary kickoff concert with William Elliott Whitmore will be held at 7:30 pm on June 23 on the Roots Stage, in the parking lot east of 1416 Locust St. Whitmore grew up on a family farm in Lee County, Iowa, according to his description by the artist of the Arts Fest. He has traveled across the country performing folk music with blues, soul and punk rock influences.
Other musical artists performing during the Arts Fest include G. Love & Special Sauce, an alternative, blues and hip-hop band from Philadelphia, and James Tutson and the Rollback, a soul / rhythm and blues band from Iowa City. Musical artists will be taking to the Arts Fest stage throughout the weekend, so check out the full list of artists performing at the Art Festival to find a show.
Throughout the festival, artists will offer demonstrations on the techniques used to create their works. An artist, Alicia Velasquez, will demonstrate traditional Native American beading techniques. Another artist, Ashley Craddock, will show how she uses wood burning tools to create her art of hers. For a complete list of artists’ demonstrations, times and venues, visit the Des Moines Arts Festival website.
New to the Arts Festival this year is a Pride Month-inspired drag brunch at 10:30 am on June 26 on the main stage at Hy-Vee. Drag brunch costs $ 40 per ticket, available for purchase online, and includes brunch, soft drinks, and an opportunity to mingle with drag artists.
After brunch there will be a free drag show, from 11:30 to 13:00. Drag artists include Nikki Love, Mae Banks, Jack Frost, Riri Sanchez-Herrera, Kitty B and Sharaya Sinz Diamond.
“We’ve really built a stronger programming schedule for the festival this year,” King said.
Road closures near the Des Moines Arts Festival
Des Moines residents should keep in mind the road closures that will occur during the festival. Locust Street between 17th and 10th streets will close at 9:00 am on June 24th and reopen at 6:00 am on June 29th.
Grand Avenue between 16th and 10th Streets will close at 6:00 pm on June 24th and reopen at 6:00 am on June 29th. The cross streets (12th, 13th and 15th streets) will close at 9:00 am on June 24th and reopen at 6:00 am on June 29th.