Created by artist Mitchell Squire, Multiple Black is the title of the tenth (10th) commission by the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation in collaboration with the DART (Des Moines Area Regional Transport Authority).
The bus travels approximately 27,000 miles per year or 2,250 miles per month into communities throughout Greater Des Moines. These routes include Ankeny, Altoona, Pleasant Hill, Des Moines, Grimes, Windsor Heights, West Des Moines, Clive, Urbandale and Johnston, Iowa.
Multiple Black was unveiled to the public ion 25 July 2019 at the site of “A Monumental Journey” along Grand Avenue near 2nd Street in downtown Des Moines.
The unveiling was celebrated with comments from The Honorable Frank Cownie, mayor of the City of Des Moines, Tim Hickman, president of Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation, and the artist Mitchell Squire. The poet Daron Richardson, Jordan Gregory dancers, and Hip Hop musician MarKaus also performed.
“MULTIPLE BLACK is part of our ongoing initiative of placing compelling, temporary works of art in highly accessible and visible public space.”
— Tim Hickman
“The Public Art Foundation does an incredible job of expanding its work and nurturing a sense of citizen ownership and pride in public art throughout the region.”
— The Honorable Angela Connolly
“Greater Des Moines is becoming more and more diverse every day, and I am very pleased to see diversity reflected and celebrated in the tenth art bus design.”
—The Honorable Frank Cownie
A unique collaboration between GDMPAF and Squire provided awards of $500 to Art Force Iowa, CFUM (Children Family Urban Movement) and Urban Dreams. The funds will help to purchase bus passes, reducing the transportation barrier for underserved youth and families.
Poet Daron Richardson read an original poem — it was powerful and poignant.
New songs by Hip Hop musician Marquis ‘MarKaus’ Ashworth — rapper and producer in Greater Des Moines — were performed.
“[Multiple Black] illustrates a design made from an assemblage and collage of original photographs. The images include a base layer of dark tightly curled strands of hair combined with gold jewelry and pearls on the left side, and “parts” in the hair and freshly manicured and adorned nails on the right side of the bus.
This is a celebration of the artistry and style fully expressed in multiple ways in the black community.”