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Where to Find Free Public Art in Downtown DSM: Mural Edition

Downtown Des Moines Murals

Downtown Des Moines (DSM) is overflowing with arts and culture, making it an artful destination all-its-own within the Greater Des Moines region. Visitors and locals alike can find public art on nearly every block Downtown, including murals created by talented local DSM artists and creators. Spend an hour or two wandering Downtown DSM to discover these vibrant murals in the heart of the city! 

"No Action Too Small"

Chris Vance is a well-known artist and muralist around Greater Des Moines, and this Downtown piece — located at 300 East Locust Street — has been a staple in the Historic East Village since 2013 when it was commissioned by Metro Waste Authority. The piece is visible looking west toward the Downtown DSM skyline, with bright blue and colorful figures integrated with imagery of plastic bottles, newspaper and other types of waste. Learn more about DSM artist Chris Vance. 

"Cheers from Des Moines” 

This mural, painted by local artist Ben Schuh, is prominently displayed on the exterior of Exile Brewing Co. The artwork features scenes from around Des Moines, as well as brewery-themed imagery, with a handful of bikers central to the piece as a nod to the brewery's proximity to the Downtown DSM biking trails. Additional murals by Schuh can be found at the corner of 5th Avenue and Locust Street — “Better Together, Better Forever” commissioned by the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines — and inside the ESO Solutions offices within the Historic Des Moines Register building, with visibility from street level. Learn more about DSM artist Ben Schuh. 

"My Heart Belongs to Des Moines"

Local artist Jenna Brownlee created this bold art on the exterior of the Parker @ Seventh Apartments in Downtown DSM. The piece includes high contrasting black and white hand lettering with bold pops of colorful florals, as is Brownlee's signature style, with additional bright imagery by Brownlee found within the interior of the building as well. Brownlee has created other Downtown murals including “Love Blooms” just outside of RoCA at 208 Court Avenue, and inside the front lobby of Tupelo Honey (new in 2022!) at 665 Grand Avenue, Suite 100. Learn more about DSM artist Jenna Brownlee. 

“Pearl Clutcher/Snatcher” 

Artist Jordan Weber, a Des Moines native, is a nationally renowned creative with artist residencies at Yale, Harvard and the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis. His large-scale mural at 309 Locust Street is bold and bright, prominently featuring a blonde woman, a glimpse of Dopey from “Snow White,” a pair of Smurfs and a deeper message. Learn more about DSM artist Jordan Weber. 

“The Puzzle of Life” 

Artist Barri J. Lester was commissioned to create this piece as a collaboration with Orchard Place, Des Moines Art Center and the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation, with additional support from several other local entities. Completed in 2003, this mural has become a favorite for nearly 20 years with street level visibility on the west wall of the PACE Juvenile Center located on High Street, with additional visibility from inside Principal’s 801 Grand building. Learn more about Barri J. Lester, a past artist in residence of the Des Moines Art Center. 

To find a comprehensive list of Downtown DSM art including murals, sculpture, light installations, monuments and more, visit the Des Moines Public Art Foundation’s website.  

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.