July 22, 2015

‘Wading Bridge’ Invites People to Reconnect with the River

The public is invited to dip their feet in the Raccoon River as part of a public art installation by New York-based artist Mary Mattingly.

The art installation, titled “Wading Bridge,” is a dock off the riverbank that lets people walk not only over the water – but in the water – as the center section of Wading Bridge is submerged under water. The art installation opens to the public Friday, July 24, and will remain in the water through Sunday, August 9, near the boat launch in Water Works Park.

The installation of the art in the river was made possible by the generous volunteer work of Michael LaValle (pictured center, during installation), president of Port of Des Moines, LLC, and Tim Monson of Shuck-Britson.

The installation of the art in the river was made possible by the generous volunteer work of Michael LaValle (pictured center, during installation), president of Port of Des Moines, LLC, and Tim Monson of Shuck-Britson.

“Our rivers determine our land, livelihood and lives – and Des Moines’ rivers are a force,” Mattingly said. “Crossing ‘Wading Bridge’ and getting our feet wet allows us a momentary intimacy with this river.”

The public art installation is aimed at engaging people in a community conversation about the future of the waterways and nearby greenways in Greater Des Moines. The public is being asked for their ideas for approximately 150 miles of the region’s waterways as part of a regional water trails master plan being developed by the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization on behalf of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The public art work and the event is funded by the Des Moines Area MPO, the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation, Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts and the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. The installation of the art in the river was made possible by the generous volunteer work of Michael LaValle, president of Port of Des Moines, LLC, and Tim Monson of Shuck-Britson.

The public can share their ideas for improving the region’s waterways in an interactive online game: RIVER

July 13, 2015

French artist JR

French artist JR (born 22 February 1983) works anonymously, but the giant images he pastes on buildings, streets, and bridges around the world are meant to put faces on often-ignored slices of society, from victims of crime to the elderly.

French artist JR poses with his public art installation "Actions" on the Terrace at Somerset House in London on October 7, 2013.

French artist JR poses with his public art installation “Actions” on the Terrace at Somerset House in London on October 7, 2013.

He has described himself as a “photograffeur”, he flyposts large black-and-white photographic images in public locations in a manner which is similar to the appropriation of the built environment by the graffiti artist. He started out on the streets of Paris. JR’s work often challenges widely held preconceptions and the reductive images propagated by advertising and the media.

JR, who has received a TED Prize for his work, sees the streets as his stage and says he “owns the biggest art gallery in the world.”

Keep scrolling to see four of the artist’s most visually arresting works that are integrated into a specific site.

In early 2014, JR took portraits of dozens of people, and turned them into a collage around the dome of the Pantheon in Paris while it was under construction. The installation depicted "the diversity of the contemporary world." [ABOVE] More of the artist's portraits were displayed under the dome of the Pantheon in Paris.

In early 2014, JR took portraits of dozens of people, and turned them into a collage around the dome of the Pantheon in Paris while it was under construction. The installation depicted “the diversity of the contemporary world.”
[ABOVE] More of the artist’s portraits were displayed under the dome of the Pantheon in Paris.

JR covered the walls of homes in favela Providencia in Rio de Janeiro with photographs of women in 2008. The project, called "Women Are Heroes," depicted women whose relatives were the victims of clashes between police and drug traffickers.

JR covered the walls of homes in favela Providencia in Rio de Janeiro with photographs of women in 2008. The project, called “Women Are Heroes,” depicted women whose relatives were the victims of clashes between police and drug traffickers.

Starting in 2011, JR and his team photographed individuals as part of a global project called "Inside Out."  portraits were pasted on walls in a central part Shanghai. A different part of "Inside Out" was displayed on the roof of a foot bridge at Hong Kong's Financial Central District in 2012.

Starting in 2011, JR and his team photographed individuals as part of a global project called “Inside Out.” portraits were pasted on walls in a central part Shanghai. A different part of “Inside Out” was displayed on the roof of a foot bridge at Hong Kong’s Financial Central District in 2012.

For "Wrinkles of the City," JR's plastered murals of the elderly around various cities. In this photo, a bird flies past Berlin's decorated television tower.

For “Wrinkles of the City,” JR’s plastered murals of the elderly around various cities. In this photo, a bird flies past Berlin’s decorated television tower.

July 13, 2015

Public Art & Skateboard Parks

The skatepark as public art. Photo courtesy of Antonie Robertson.

The skatepark as public art. Photo courtesy of Antonie Robertson.

Recently in Vancouver, British Columbia a skateboard competition transformed a park into a public art installation. Reigning Canadian champion Alex Sorgente was joined by dozens of featured for an annual skate park jam, Design direction for the temporary public art project was provided by graffiti artists Virus and Ben Tour, supported by talent from the city.

Adam Hopkins of Vancouver competes in the Van Doren Invitational skateboard competition at Hastings Skate Park in Vancouver on Saturday, July 11, 2015. Photograph by: Jenelle Schneider

Adam Hopkins of Vancouver competes in the Van Doren Invitational skateboard competition at Hastings Skate Park in Vancouver on Saturday, July 11, 2015. Photograph by: Jenelle Schneider

Looking around the nation, there are other fascinating public art projects connected to skateboard parks. Here are a few examples:

LAND studio partnered with Grindline Skateparks Inc., Public Square Group, and the City of Cleveland to create an beautiful skate park. The skate park covers 15,000 square feet and features the iconic snake run, street park elements, ledges and more.  Cleveland-based designer Dru Mckeown of TOI studio was selected as part of the City of Cleveland's public art program to design a shade structure for the park. The 40-foot structure is inspired by the industrial landscape of the Cuyahoga River Valley.

LAND studio partnered with Grindline Skateparks Inc., Public Square Group, and the City of Cleveland to create an beautiful skate park. The skate park covers 15,000 square feet and features the iconic snake run, street park elements, ledges and more. Cleveland-based designer Dru Mckeown of TOI studio was selected as part of the City of Cleveland’s public art program to design a shade structure for the park. The 40-foot structure is inspired by the industrial landscape of the Cuyahoga River Valley.

The Canopi Bowl

Back in 2012, Tashkeel, a hub for creatives and artists in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, held the first Skate Biladi event constructing a huge skateboard ramp in its gardens. The unique skate park design was created as both a functional space for skateboarding and an art installation celebrating the curves of Arabic calligraphy. The ramp is open to all and is accessible throughout the year. The much-loved Canopi Bowl is also located at Tashkeel and is built around natural obstacles such as trees and shrubbery creating a cool and sheltered place to skate. Photo credit: Angelo Aguilor Photos

Back in 2012, Tashkeel, a hub for creatives and artists in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, held the first Skate Biladi event constructing a huge skateboard ramp in its gardens. The unique skate park design was created as both a functional space for skateboarding and an art installation celebrating the curves of Arabic calligraphy. The ramp is open to all and is accessible throughout the year. The much-loved Canopi Bowl is also located at Tashkeel and is built around natural obstacles such as trees and shrubbery creating a cool and sheltered place to skate. Photo credit: Angelo Aguilor Photos

In the summer of 2013, the City of Seattle, Oregon partnered with 4Culture  (a public art organization) and the company Red Bull conducted a call for artists to create a public art piece that would accommodate skateboarding. 40 artists applied and after an extensive interview process artist C.J. Rench was chosen to produce Seattle’s first skateable public art sculpture.

In the summer of 2013, the City of Seattle, Oregon partnered with 4Culture (a public art organization) and the company Red Bull conducted a call for artists to create a public art piece that would accommodate skateboarding. 40 artists applied and after an extensive interview process artist C.J. Rench was chosen to produce Seattle’s first skateable public art sculpture.

June 29, 2015

SHOWSTOPPER at Des Moines Art Festival

 Jay Vigon's art is the second of four original  artists' designs to be wrapped around a large DART transit bus.

Jay Vigon’s art is the second of four original artists’ designs to be wrapped around a large DART transit bus.

More than 100,000 people saw Jay Vigon‘s design when they came to the Western Gateway Park to enjoy the Festival. The bus was unveiled to the public on Friday morning, June 26, then on view throughout the day and evening. On Saturday, all ages were able to ride the bus for free guided tours of public art in the downtown core!

The Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation is grateful for Jay Vigon’s artistic vision and helping launch the second artist’s design to wrap an entire DART bus! Thank you DART, Des Moines Art Festival, and volunteers for partnering with us on this venture! With our ongoing Project Spaces initiative, the Public Art Foundation places compelling, temporary works of art in highly accessible and visible public space—and in this case, around a large transit bus! We hope that this bus will be a source of joy and inspiration to all!

Support public art and ride the DART bus!

Remember to share your photographs of this bus: #ArtOnDART

June 25, 2015

Public art bus wrap unveiling at Des Moines Arts Festival

Des Moines, IA — The Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation’s ProjectSPACES initiative, in partnership with the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART), will unveil the latest public art bus wrap at the 2015 Des Moines Arts Festival. The bus wrap is the second of four planned public art bus wraps featuring artists’ one-of-a-kind designs. Artist Jay Vigon’s design will be unveiled at this year’s Festival.

Public Art Bus Wrap Unveiling
Date: Friday, June 26, 2015
Time: 11:30 a.m.
Location: 12th Street between Grand Avenue and Locust Street in downtown Des Moines

“In the spirit of the Public Art Foundation’s mission, we are a catalyst for the active engagement of audiences with public art!” remarked M. Jessica Rowe, Director of the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation. “A ProjectSPACES program, this project is a great example of our temporary public art initiatives. We embrace our role as an engaged community partner with DART to help nurture the City’s wider strategies for economic, social and cultural development — our aim is to enrich the lives in our community by advancing the best of public art.”
“The public art bus will travel to nearly every community in Greater Des Moines,” said Kirstin Baer-Harding, DART marketing director. “DART’s presence within these communities lends a perfect opportunity to join with the Public Art Foundation and bring public art into areas you wouldn’t normally find it.”

The bus wrap is the latest in a series of projects, supported through the Public Art Foundation’s ProjectSPACES initiative, and follows temporary art installations at the Iowa State Fair. Through ProjectSPACES, the Public Art Foundation places compelling, temporary works of art in highly accessible and visible public spaces.

Public Art Bus Tours Scheduled for Saturday, June 27, 2015
New to the Arts Festival this year, attendees are invited to ride the public art bus for a tour of public art in the downtown Des Moines area. The bus will pick up and drop off at the corner of 12th and High, just north of the Festival. Bus tours will begin on the hour from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. The tour is free and will last approximately 40 minutes.

ABOUT ARTIST JAY VIGON

The artist Jay Vigon is known nationally and internationally for his distinctively bold graphics to logo design, music packaging and fashion advertising. His clients include American film director George Lucas, the media company Warner Bros. Entertainment, Gotcha Sportswear and the University of California in Irvine. Vigon’s pioneering style led him into broadcast graphics for television commercials with such clients as AT&T, Diet Coke and Toyota. He also directed Mercedes Benz, Estee Lauder, Seiko watches and Kaiser Permanente, as well as the Cesar Chavez documentary.

ABOUT GREATER DES MOINES PUBLIC ART FOUNDATION

The Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation, established in 2004, recognizes that art belongs not just in galleries and museums, but in streetscapes, parks, buildings and infrastructures of a thriving community. Dedicated to envisioning, developing, advancing and promoting public art projects, the Public Art Foundation collaborates with local entities and artists to engage, inspire and enrich the lives of residents and visitors to the community. The goal is to increase awareness of our community as a world-class destination for public art. For more information about the Public Art Foundation, visit www.dsmpublicartfoundation.org.

ABOUT DART

The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority is the public transportation provider that serves Polk County. DART operates a family of transportation services that makes getting around the Greater Des Moines area easier and more convenient. For more information about DART services, schedules, route changes or directions to the nearest DART stop, visit the website at www.ridedart.com or call 515-283-8100. The MyDART Tools, Trip Planner and RideTime Transit app are now available at www.ridedart.com.

RIDE DART TO THE UNVEILING

Attendees of the unveiling are encouraged to ride the D-Line Downtown Shuttle to the event. The D-Line loops through downtown on Grand Avenue and Locust Street and picks up passengers at any of the designated stops along the route. The D-Line is free to ride and departs from stops approximately every 10 minutes. Due to road closures, the route will detour the day of the unveiling. Route will turn south to Locust at 10th Street and return to regular route.

D-Line Downtown Shuttle Detoured Route: Effective 6/24/2015 through 6/28/2015

D-Line Downtown Shuttle Detoured Route: Effective 6/24/2015 through 6/28/2015

June 11, 2015

Making the impossible possible

Thin glass bars cleverly crafted to move like wings make up Studio Drift’s latest body of poetic work for the 2015 Venice Art Biennale.

This kinetic sculpture is created from the Amsterdam-based duo: Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Naura. Their delicate and ethereal designs, along with their fascination with movement and light, has quickly becoming their signature—see their Rijksmuseum installation "Shylight" or dandelion-inspired spectacular from "Fragile Futures." The common thread being that epic dialogue between opposites —a high tech dance, if you will—between nature and technology, fantasy and reality.

This kinetic sculpture is created from the Amsterdam-based duo: Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Naura. Their delicate and ethereal designs, along with their fascination with movement and light, has quickly becoming their signature—see their Rijksmuseum installation “Shylight” or dandelion-inspired spectacular from “Fragile Futures.” The common thread being that epic dialogue between opposites —a high tech dance, if you will—between nature and technology, fantasy and reality.

Titled In 20 Steps, the Amsterdam-based artist-designers have channeled the ‘human desire to be able to fly, despite the force of gravity, and the poetry of persistence in the face of adversity,’ into one beautiful form.

June 11, 2015

Percent for Art Program: Toward a Beautiful Future

Today, “Percent for Art” represents for many U.S. cities the most important public art fund since the Great Depression. Just look at Kansas City, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, or Chicago (the Chicago Public Art Collection includes more than 700 works of art in over 150 municipal facilities around the city, such as police stations, libraries, and CTA stations.)

From about 1900 to 1910, cities of 2,500 or more were cropping up throughout the U.S. Initially, most of these cities were focused on industry and commerce. More than 3000 Village Improvement and City Beautiful Associations (i.e., Des Moines, IA) were established in these growing cities to foster more beautiful, sustainable, and safer neighborhoods.

Des Moines Municipal Building (City Hall) was designed by a group of four architectural firms, 1911

Des Moines Municipal Building (City Hall) was designed by a group of four architectural firms, 1911

In the 1930s, the United States of America was struck by the Great Depression. Then president Franklin Roosevelt set up the Works Progress Administration, a government agency which helped relieve the economic depression by employing unskilled workers in public works. The Federal Art Project was one of its programs in which unemployed artists including Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Diego Rivera were recruited to produce murals, paintings, sculptures and posters for public buildings.

During the course of the project, apart from producing a whole new collection of American art, more than a hundred community art centers and galleries were established throughout the country, which helped develop a new audience for art. Even after the termination of the program at the outbreak of World War II, its influence has lasted to the present day.

Despite the long history of incorporating sculptures, skillfully crafted ornaments and paintings in architecture, it was not until the early 20th century that the awareness of ‘public art’ as an important genre instead of mere decoration subordinate to architecture was aroused.

France was the first country to implement the ‘percent for art’ policy in the 1930s. The policy states that for all construction projects of public buildings, universities or schools, 1% of the total project fee should be used on the installation of artworks. Other countries which implemented a percent for art program include Germany, Japan, Great Britain, Italy, Sweden, and Canada.

U.S. PUBLIC ART POLICY & LEGISLATION TIMELINE
1900 – 1910 – 3,000 Village Improvement/City Beautiful associations are established
1935 – 1943 – During the depression, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Art Program
employs more than 6,000 artists who create more than 2,000 murals, 17,000 sculptures and 100,000
paintings which adorn many federal buildings/sites.
1959 – Philadelphia passes the first one percent for art ordinance in the United States
1965 – National Endowment for the Arts is established
1972 – The Government Services Administration (GSA) Art in Architecture program is established, requiring one half of one percent on select Federal buildings
2001 – 2003 – CITY OF DES MOINES’ PUBLIC ART COMMISSION
2004Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation was founded as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization through an agreement between the City of Des Moines and the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines.
2015 – There are now well over 350 municipal public art programs in the United States

Des Moines, Iowa has followed in stride with this national movement. The Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation (GDMPAF) advances the best of public art, through public and private collaborations, by integrating art within common space — on the street, in a park, in the infrastructure of a building.

Public art is one very visible component of the arts and cultural make-up of our city. In Des Moines it fulfills a variety of aims:
1) providing aesthetic betterments in the form of urban beautifications (Cowles Commons),

The Cowles Commons design team is led by Ken Smith (pictured above with illustration of monumental sculpture "Crusoe Umbrella" by Claes Oldenburg) of Ken Smith Landscape Architect, a landscape architect committed to creating landscapes as a way of improving the quality of urban life. Jim Campbell is a visual artist who collaborated on the Cowles Commons design. His custom electronic sculptures have made him a leading figure in the use of computer technology and video as an art form.

The Cowles Commons design team is led by Ken Smith (pictured above with illustration of monumental sculpture “Crusoe Umbrella” by Claes Oldenburg) of Ken Smith Landscape Architect, a landscape architect committed to creating landscapes as a way of improving the quality of urban life. Jim Campbell is a visual artist who collaborated on the Cowles Commons design. His custom electronic sculptures have made him a leading figure in the use of computer technology and video as an art form.

2) contributing to city making in the form of iconic buildings (Des Moines Arts Center),

View of 2nd building addition to the Des Moines Art Center with sculpture "Animal Pyramid" by Bruce Nauman.

View of 2nd building addition to the Des Moines Art Center with sculpture “Animal Pyramid” by Bruce Nauman.

3) developing sites for cultural tourism (State Capitol Grounds, Pappajohn Sculpture Park) to place-making (HubSpot and Jun Kaneko’s “Dangos” and glass mural),

Commissioned by GDMPAF, the artist Jun Kaneko's "Five Dangos" is integrated into the HubSpot Plaza along the Principal Riverwalk. Photo by Paul Crosby

Commissioned by GDMPAF, the artist Jun Kaneko’s “Five Dangos” is integrated into the HubSpot Plaza along the Principal Riverwalk. Photo by Paul Crosby

4) promoting community development and civic engagement (Temple Chess and Poetry Garden by Siah Armajani), and

Detail of  artist Siah Armajani's "Temple Chess and Poetry Garden" was commissioned by GDMPAF. Photo courtesy of substance Architecture, Des Moines, IA

Detail of artist Siah Armajani’s “Temple Chess and Poetry Garden” was commissioned by GDMPAF. Photo courtesy of substance Architecture, Des Moines, IA

5) prompting part of broader urban revitalization efforts.

The goal of the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation is to attract the best talent, worldwide, to generate ideas and innovative designs that will meet the needs of the City’s communities, and respond to the natural and constructed history of the site.

May 13, 2015

New DourOne’s Wall in Paris

Fabio Lopez aka DourOne is a spanish multidisciplinary artist from Madrid. His self-taught style reflects on his experiences in the world, which captures real-life moments that stand out for their beauty. His works are often defined as figurative illustration, classical, and surreal. DOURONE’s mission hasn’t changed: “Traveling and being an artist when he grows up”

Dourone1

Dourone3

Dourone4

Dourone2

Rue des Récollets is beginning to be the spot of predilection of the Spanish artist Dourone in Paris.
For the third consecutive year, the artist has painted this wall, right in front of the exit of the Jardin de Villemain in Paris 10. The artwork is entitled “Seducción Demente” (Insane Seduction or Mind Seduction) and was carried out with sprays.

May 6, 2015

Crusoe Umbrella Repainted

Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s 1979 monumental sculpture is one of the artists first public art projects. The work of art was commissioned in 1978 by the Des Moines Performing Arts (then called, Civic Center of Greater Des Moines), with a matching grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and donations from local sources. It was installed and inaugurated in late November 1979.

The sculpture stands on the plaza, much like an island in the city surroundings with a large pool of water--redesigned to be a wadding pool--along one side. The umbrella form was inspired by the legendary fictional hero Robinson Crusoe, who s hand-made umbrella was the first object made by the castaway and one of the few he took away with him when he was rescued.

The sculpture stands on the plaza, much like an island in the city surroundings with a large pool of water–redesigned to be a wadding pool–along one side. The umbrella form was inspired by the legendary fictional hero Robinson Crusoe, who s hand-made umbrella was the first object made by the castaway and one of the few he took away with him when he was rescued.

Today the umbrella is being prepared for repainting, as the newly redesigned plaza, Cowles Commons officially opens this (2015) summer.

Oldenburg & van Bruggen's "Crusoe Umbrella" primed for repainting.

Oldenburg & van Bruggen’s “Crusoe Umbrella” primed for repainting.

May 5, 2015

Social Injustice Spurs Jordan Weber’s Art

Manifest Justice brings together artists inspired by questions of social justice. Featured are more than 220 works by an estimated 150 artists from all over the United States and beyond. Submissions came from conceptual artists, painters, poster artists, sculptors, graphic designers and performers. The organizer is Yosi Sergant, an American publicist known for his commissioning and management of the “Hope” poster created during the 2008 presidential election by Shepard Fairey.

Manifest Justice is a combination art exhibit and pop-up space, and is located in the old Baldwin Theater in Baldwin Hills/Los Angeles, CA (part of a defunct local chain of African American-owned cinemas). Manifest Justice explores questions of power and inequity.

Jordan J Weber , artist

Jordan J Weber , artist

Featured are vintage political placards, civil rights photography and dozens of works by contemporary artists — such as a gutted police car from Ferguson, which, on Wednesday afternoon, was being transformed into a garden of sorts at the “Manifest Justice” space by Des Moines artist Jordan J. Weber.

For for information on Jordan J Weber.

Artist Jordan J. Weber & American Actor Danny Glover at Manifest Justice Exhibition.

Artist Jordan J. Weber & American Actor Danny Glover at Manifest Justice Exhibition.