This Downtown DSM Trail Connects Hidden Art Gems
A trailblazer is defined as an innovator, someone who has broken ground and/or taken the lead on something. In Downtown Des Moines (DSM), a group of local trailblazers came together to spearhead a project on, ironically, a new painted pathway, uniting Downtown DSM’s public art. In the interest of increasing economic development and promoting health and wellness among those living and working in Downtown DSM, Art Route became its own colorful entity, connecting 87 pieces of public art through miles of painted sidewalks and 14 crosswalks.
The addition of Art Route to Downtown DSM brings an accessibility to often overlooked pieces of art in the city, similar to Boston’s Freedom Trail.
Art enthusiasts may be familiar with the design of six of the intersections, painted by artist Peter Gibson. Gibson, an artist in Montreal, Quebec, specializes in murals, street installations and exhibitions. His work for Art Route portrays the sense of movement that reflects the flow of pedestrian traffic from a bird’s eye perspective. The simple portrayal emphasizes the multi-directional nature of the pathway with figures in a walking formation.
Educational & Accessible
The Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation has created an app, DSM Public Art, that educates those following Art Route on artist backgrounds and other details. Art Route is also accessible 24/7 and free for the public.
Through sponsorships from various community businesses, Art Route has been brought to life. Through these volunteers and partners, Art Route continues to inspire us to take notice of the creativity around us.
An #ArtRouteDSM hashtag welcomes community involvement and highlights stops along the pathway with photos from both visitors and locals, including impressive street art, stunning sculptures and even painted city buses, also known as the #artondart campaign.
Art Route could expand in the future to the Downtown DSM skywalks, with window clings denoting public art viewable from within the climate-controlled and connected walkways. Plans are also underway to add sections of Art Route pathways in West Des Moines, as well as other communities within the region.
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