Public Art Foundation Commissions Eighth Public Art Bus

June 22, 2018  |   News
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At noon today, Friday, 22 June 2018,  the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation and the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) will unveiled the eighth art bus at the Des Moines Arts Festival. The Public Art Foundation commissioned Chicago artist Nick Goettling to create a design used to wrap a transit bus. The bus will remain on display on Locust Street through the remainder of the Arts Festival.

Artist Nick Goettling in front of some of his past artwork. Photo courtesy of Downtown Issaquah Association

About the artist

Nick Goettling is an artist from Chicago who grew up in the forests of Washington State, where he earned his Bachelors of Fine Arts from The Evergreen State College with an emphasis on narrative drawing and painting. Nick helped found Chicago’s Platform Studios in 2011.

In talking about his design for the art bus, Goettling said, “Through sinuous linework, dynamic figures, and evocative patterns, I use public art to tell stories.  As a public space evolves, the stories we tell about it, and the futures we imagine for it, change too. I use public art to activate those spaces by challenging viewers to consider their roles within the local story.

Goettling has made work for public agencies and private clients throughout the country, including The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, the cities of Portland and Tacoma, Northeastern Illinois University, Lagunitas and Stevens Point Brewing, Clif Bar, and others.

Mobilizing public art

“We are overjoyed to continue to expand on our public art partnership with DART,” said M. Jessica Rowe, director of the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation. “Through visions from artists like Nick Goettling, we can enrich lives across our community with mobile public art. Goettling’s unique design will create a bold vision which DART will be able to transport throughout the region.”

The project is part of the Public Art Foundation’s Project Spaces initiative, which places compelling, contemporary works of art in highly accessible and visible public spaces. The bus wrap project began with an open call, which generated a response from 45 artists across 21 states. A team of art professionals reviewed more than 325 images and commissioned finalists to create concept proposals.

“DART’s partnership with the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation provides a unique way for our agency to expand on our core mission of enriching lives, connecting communities and expanding opportunities by spreading public art into all areas of the Greater Des Moines region,” said DART CEO Elizabeth Presutti. 

This is the eighth art bus in a series of DART buses wrapped with unique and colorful compositions. The first design by artist Alex Brown was unveiled in November 2014. Since then, a second design by Jay Vigon was unveiled in June 2015. The third design by Susan Chrysler White was unveiled in March 2016. A fourth design by Larassa Kabel was unveiled in June 2016. The fifth art bus design by artist Brent Holland was unveiled in October 2016. The sixth art bus featured a design from artist Jordan Weber which was unveiled in June 2017. The seventh art bus designed by artist Benjamin Gardner was unveiled in December 2017.

Free Public Art Tours
Residents, visitors and Arts Festival attendees are invited to ride along for a free tour of public art in downtown Des Moines on Saturday, June 23.

  • When: Tours start at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. and take approx. 50 minutes.
  • Where: Those interested in joining the art tours should meet at 12th and High Street, just north of the Festival, 5-10 minutes before the tour starts.


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