Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation (GDMPAF) is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) educational organization which, as a public charity, funds and administers a program to advance public art and public art education throughout Greater Des Moines.
GDMPAF is the “go to” resource, the lead organization and advocate for “advancing public art” in Greater Des Moines. It is dedicated to envisioning, developing, advancing and promoting public art projects in the community. GDMPAF recognizes that art belongs in streetscapes, parks, buildings and infrastructures of a thriving community, not just in galleries and museums. Thus, it actively seeks opportunities for art integration throughout the community with the goal of establishing a world-class destination for public art.
Through a global, multidisciplinary and diverse approach to public art, the GDMPAF:
- Researches and interprets public art for all ages and provides educational curriculum to teachers, focusing on pre-K through high school students;
- Selects and commissions works of art created by venerated professional artists for installation in public spaces;
- Acquires artworks for a public art collection by means of direct commissions, invitationals, community initiated projects, and gifts;
- Enhances the physical environment, public buildings, and lands;
- Provides financial support and assistance in commissioning professional artists for private or municipal urban development projects;
- Integrates professional artists into the planning, design, and construction of city and privately developed facilities, e.g., buildings, parks, streetscapes, and any other facilities and spaces that would benefit from participation by an artist;
- Celebrates the multi-cultural and diverse character of the community’s residential and commercial neighborhoods and citizens;
- Nurtures a sense of citizen ownership and pride in a public art collection;
- Encourages creative partnerships between artists and residents, neighborhoods, businesses, and community organizations located in the city.
On 22 October 2001, by the passage of an Ordinance No. 14,005, the Des Moines City Council established the City Public Arts Program, with a goal of annually funding the City’s Public Arts Program at a level equal to 1.5% of the general obligation funds of the City appropriated for capitol improvements in the Capitol Improvements Program.
Before Foundation’s incorporation, the program operated as a City of Des Moines governmental unit, then known as the Public Art Commission. The enabling ordinance was crafted over a two-year period by a 20-member Public Art Task Force, appointed by then Mayor Preston Daniels, with a membership representing a diverse cross-section of city residents.
In 2003, the City of Des Moines and Greater Des Moines Community Foundation began a series of discussions to transfer the public art program, governing body, and financial resources to the Community Foundation. A 2004 agreement with the City of Des Moines formally transferred the administration and associated private fundraising to the Community Foundation. That same year the Community Foundation established a new organization called the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation to in part fulfill these obligations. The Community Foundation appoints members to the Public Art Foundation Board of Directors, provides administrative support services to the Public Art Foundation under a customary service fee schedule, and administers the trust account to hold funds transferred by the City of Des Moines for the purpose of public art.
Today, the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation is responsible for advancing and administering the affairs and activities of the community’s public art program and serves as an advisory body to the Des Moines City Council. It is also provides a process for the public to more easily support the acquisition of public works of art.
Commissions and Collaborations