Where to Find Free Public Art in Downtown DSM: Mural Edition
Downtown Des Moines (DSM) is overflowing with arts and culture, making it an artful destination all-its-own within the Greater Des Moines region. On nearly every block, visitors and locals alike can find free public art attractions throughout Downtown Des Moines, including murals created by talented local DSM artists and creators. Spend an hour or two wandering the art of Downtown Des Moines and discover vibrant murals in the heart of the city!
Downtown Des Moines Art: "No Action Too Small"
Chris Vance is a well-known artist and muralist around Greater Des Moines, and this Downtown art piece — located at 300 E. Locust St., Des Moines — 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 Des Moines skyline, with bright blue and colorful figures integrated with imagery of plastic bottles, newspaper and other types of waste. Learn more about Des Moines artist Chris Vance.
Downtown Des Moines Art: "Cheers from Des Moines”
This mural, painted by local artist Ben Schuh, is prominently displayed on the exterior of Exile Brewing Co. near the Western Gateway area. 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 Des Moines 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 Des Moines artist Ben Schuh.
Downtown Des Moines Art: "My Heart Belongs to Des Moines"
Local artist Jenna Brownlee created this bold art on the exterior of the Parker @ Seventh Apartments in Downtown Des Moines. 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 the same artist 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 Ave., and inside the front lobby of Tupelo Honey (new in 2022) at 665 Grand Ave., Ste. 100. Learn more about Des Moines artist Jenna Brownlee.
Downtown Des Moines Art: “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 St. 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 Des Moines artist Jordan Weber.
Downtown Des Moines Art: “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 in Downtown Des Moines. Learn more about Barri J. Lester, a past artist in residence of the Des Moines Art Center.
Find more art with this list of free public art sculptures in Downtown Des Moines, plus attractions and things to do. And find a comprehensive list of Downtown Des Moines art including murals, sculpture, light installations, monuments and more on the Des Moines Public Art Foundation’s website.