Public art takes to the streets on public transit in Greater Des Moines

November 18, 2014  |   Events,   Feature,   News
Share This Post

Public art is taking to the streets of Greater Des Moines in a new initiative that wraps artists’ one-of-a-kind designs on public transit buses.

The Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation Project Spaces initiative, in partnership with the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART), will unveil the new public art initiative at 11 a.m. Thursday, November 20, 2014, at The Hub Spot Plaza on The Principal Riverwalk at Court Avenue and Water Street.

“The Public Art Foundation advances the best of public art through public and private collaborations. It is dedicated to envisioning, developing, and promoting public art projects such at this initiative,” said Paul Mankins, President of the Public Art Foundation Board and Principal of Substance Architecture. “Alex Brown, the first artist selected, is a Des Moines-based artist whose paintings have drawn international acclaim.”

Full Wrap Template

“We love introducing more art on DART,” said Kirstin Baer-Harding, DART marketing director. “We’re glad we could partner with the Public Art Foundation to help expose more people to great works of art by local artists.”

The bus wrap is the latest in a series of projects, supported through the Public Art Foundation’s PROJECTSPACES program, and follows temporary art installations at the Iowa State Fair in 2013 and 2014. Through PROJECTSPACES, the Public Art Foundation places compelling, temporary works of art in highly accessible and visible public spaces.

The bus wrap project began with an open call to all professional artists/artist teams, 18 and older, residing in the United States. Forty-five artists from 21 states submitted applications, over 328 images were reviewed, and five finalists were commissioned to create concept proposals. From these proposals, designs created by Alex Brown and Jay Vigon were chosen. Artist Alex Brown’s design is the first bus wrap to be fabricated. Jay Vigon’s design will be unveiled in 2015.


American artist Alex Brown (born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1966) earned a BFA in 1991 at Parsons School of Design in New York. His paintings have been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally in Amsterdam, Brussels, Geneva, Zurich, Tokyo, and Paris. He lives and works in Des Moines. Brown’s artwork engages the viewer with everyday images that emerge out of abstraction. He manipulates the visual meaning of familiar objects. His process embraces humor and the joy of discovering an image that at first appears hidden, only to materialize out of shape and color.


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

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. The MyDART Tools and Trip Planner are now available.

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.