Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation places art in public spaces in the community through public and private collaborations, adding to the cultural record through its collections and educational programs.


Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation engages, inspires, and enriches the lives of citizens and visitors in our community through its public art program. The Foundation increases cultural awareness by establishing a world class destination for public art.


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.

The Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation gratefully acknowledges government agencies, individuals, private foundations, and corporations for contributing funds to its public art program. 

As a member professional networks of organizations and individuals, both the American Alliance of Museums and Americans for the Arts, GDMPAF champions best practices for art museums and cultivates, promotes and sustains excellence in public art and art education.

Commissions and Collaborations

The public art listed below includes commissions and collaborations by the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation for display within the Greater Des Moines area.


  Kerry James Marshall

 July 2018  |  Long-Term Collection
  Other Public Art Downtown

  Alex Brown

 2014  |  Archive Collection
  Greater Des Moines

  Mitchell Squire

 2019  |  Short-Term Collection
  Bus Wrap #10: Multiple Black

  Jay Vigon

 2015  |  Archive Collection
  Greater Des Moines

  Susan Chrysler White

 2016  |  Archive Collection
  Greater Des Moines

  Larassa Kabel

 2016  |  Archive Collection
  Greater Des Moines

  Brent Holland

 2017  |  Archive Collection
  Greater Des Moines

  Jordan J. Weber

 2017  |  Archive Collection
  Greater Des Moines

  Benjamin Gardner

 2017  |  Short-Term Collection
  Greater Des Moines

  Nick Goettling

 2018  |  Short-Term Collection
  Greater Des Moines

  Marianne Fairbanks

 2019  |  Short-Term Collection
  Greater Des Moines

  PAINTALLICA, an art collective

 Completed 13 August 2014; on view through 23 August 2014  |  Archive Collection
  Iowa State Fairgrounds

  Pete P. Goché

 9/1/12  |  Archive Collection
  Other Public Art Downtown

  Jun Kaneko

 2013  |  Long-Term Collection
  Principal Riverwalk

  Jun Kaneko

 Installed 2012  |  Long-Term Collection
  Principal Riverwalk


 2018  |  Archive Collection
  Principal Riverwalk

  Travis Rice

 8/1/13  |  Archive Collection
  Iowa State Fairgrounds

  M12 Collective

 On view 11-21 August 2016  |  Archive Collection
  Iowa State Fairgrounds

  Siah Armajani

 2006  |  Long-Term Collection
  Other Public Art Downtown

  Mark Kane

 2012  |  Short-Term Collection
  Ingersoll Neighborhood

  King Au

 2011  |  Short-Term Collection
  Waveland Park Neighborhood

  Mary Mattingly

 2015  |   Collection
  Pleasant Hill