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Get to Know 2023 Hide and Seek Artist Emily Hodges

Emily Hodges Ornaments

December 13, 2023

Emily Hodges is a graduate student at Iowa State University (ISU) in Ames and a new artist who recently participated in the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s annual Hide & Seek Ornaments You Keep holiday pop-up activation in 2023. When she’s not pursuing her MFA in graphic design, Hodges looks for ways to create happy moments and new experiences through her design work.

Emily Hodges Q+A

How did you find out about this opportunity?

My professor at ISU, Alex Braidwood, sent me the information since he had participated in the event a few years prior. I thought it was a fun way to get involved with the community and be a fun personal project to work on outside of my school responsibilities.

What ornaments did you create?

I created clear acrylic ornaments that had native Iowa prairie flowers laser engraved on the surface. I also included a festive ribbon to make it easier to find and tie back to the colors of the native plants.

What was your creative process when creating these ornaments?

I wanted to create something that related to my passions as an artist and an Iowan. The prairie has always been something I have been passionate about, and I wanted to share it with the community by bringing the prairie to the city. I chose a clear acrylic because I felt it would interact well with tree lights in the home of whoever found the ornament.

Hide and Seek Ornament

What were you the most excited about when it comes to participating in this event series?

I was most excited about creating art specifically to be a surprise for people when they find it. I love giving gifts and helping people find happy moments and felt this event was a great opportunity to do both! I love the idea of strangers finding my ornaments and liking them enough to want to take them home so they can cherish them for future holidays.

What are your favorite ways to connect with other artists in Des Moines?

First Fridays at Mainframe is a favorite event of mine! I was lucky enough to participate in one earlier in the year and was exposed to so many creative and talented artists in Des Moines that I wasn't aware of before. I thought it was a great way to experience the art firsthand as well as connect with the artist in their studio.

What are some of your favorite local places to shop, eat and visit in Des Moines?

Some of my favorite places are located in the Historic East Village. I love having coffee or lunch at Scenic Route Bakery, tea from Gong Fu Tea, or stocking up on spices and oils at All Spice. The East Village is also always the first place I take a friend who has never been to Des Moines before and having so many fun shops within walking distance of each other makes spending a whole day downtown fun and feasible.

The 2023 Hide and Seek Ornaments You Keep activation runs through Sunday, Dec. 17.

Downtown Des Moines (DSM) activations pop up from time to time, and these events provide fun for the whole family! Check out Hide and Seek, Tweet Week and more across downtown. Keep an eye out on social media by following @downtownDSMUSA on @downtownDSMUSA on Facebook and Instagram for more information.

There are so many fun events specific to Downtown DSM. Attend annual events like the Downtown Des Moines Farmers’ Market, World Food & Music Festival and Holiday Promenade or find live music happening each week through the "Live Music This Week in DSM” blog series.

Greater Des Moines Partnership

DSM USA is the regional identifier for Greater Des Moines (DSM). DSM USA is a bold statement to the world: This is a welcoming, diverse and vibrant community with affordable and accessible amenities for residents and businesses. This regional identifier is the result of significant quantitative and qualitative research. The Partnership will champion the DSM USA message, and encourages its Investors, its more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and DSM USA Ambassadors to help share the region's story with One Voice.