Tour 7 Neighborhoods Hosting Art Week Des Moines
Local artists are the heart of a city’s culture, and Des Moines is no exception. Beyond our celebrated institutions, there is a range of creative expression that cements our city as a cultural capital.
Eight years ago, art collector and business owner David Safris and a group of volunteers started Art Week Des Moines, modeled after other cities’ celebrations and adjoining the Des Moines Arts Festival. The aim was to celebrate local artists in the Greater Des Moines (DSM) community, and the success was undeniable — an event open to anyone interested in showcasing their work, providing a structure for diverse expression activating in unexpected places.
New for 2022
Art Week Des Moines remains a genre-blending showcase of local art and artists. The free public events activate indoors and outdoors at neighborhood host sites June 17-23. Art Week Des Moines 2022 is presented by Cityview, Invest DSM and Visionary.
This year, there is a concentration on bringing artists into specific neighborhoods, making local artists more accessible to their community. Here’s what to find each day among the 136 events featuring 152 local artists.
The Avenues on Friday, June 17
Poetry, culinary collaborations, art tours, puppet-making and more start the week on The Avenues of Ingersoll and Grand. The Avenues encompasses the commercial neighborhood, and arts and cultural offerings in the Des Moines. The district stretches from 15th Street to 43rd Street, South of Grand to Waterworks Park and north to I-235. The district includes anchor institutions such as the Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines University and Terrace Hill, over 200 businesses and seven neighborhood organizations
Oak Park/Highland Park on Saturday, June 18
Oak Park/Highland Park’s business district hosts a Juneteenth mural project, yoga, Pride festival and more on Saturday. The Parks are ‘streetcar suburbs’ – walkable, urban neighborhoods with mature trees near the bank of the Des Moines River. The historic business district has been a focal point for life on the North Side of Des Moines for over a century.
Drake/Dogtown on Sunday, June 19
In the Drake neighborhood, artists take up residence on porches along Cottage Grove Avenue in the afternoon, while businesses host artists in Dogtown that evening. Community murals, a new Kalypso Music Festival and more activate one of the oldest, largest and most diverse neighborhoods in DSM. Dogtown is a new business, dining and entertainment district next to Drake University. The area has a rich history serving the university and surrounding neighborhoods. The development of the Dogtown District is a collaboration between Drake University, The Neighborhood Development Corporation and the Des Moines West Side Chamber of Commerce. Other partners include the City of Des Moines and Invest DSM.
Franklin Area on Monday, June 20
Franklin Area neighbors open their studios and gather outside Perkins Elementary as artists celebrate World Refugee Day, Juneteenth and more. The Franklin Area is the juncture of the Beaverdale and Waveland Park neighborhoods. Bounded by Hickman and University and 41st to 48th Streets, the Area works to maintain a family-friendly place where neighbors travel leafy streets to iconic local gathering spots and convenient shopping districts.
Downtown on Tuesday, June 21
Don’t miss Tuesday evening in Downtown Des Moines (DSM)! With a little planning, you can experience all of the gallery shows and the Architect Art Crawl spanning the central business district of Des Moines and the region. Downtown has multiple districts with their own culture, evolving with residential and commercial changes to the social and physical landscape. Of note: Mainframe Studios’ program includes an opening ceremony for Putt-Putt Art, an artist-created miniature golf experience.
Columbus Park on Wednesday, June 22
Get your portrait drawn, decorate a t-shirt and more in the McKinley School/Columbus Park neighborhood nestled just south of where the Racoon and Des Moines Rivers meet. It’s a place that’s proud of its Italian roots, with a strong sense of community and independence. The neighborhood offers spectacular views of Downtown with a mix of housing and amenities.
Historic Valley Junction on Thursday, June 23
Historic Valley Junction wraps Art Week Des Moines with a participatory parade, acrobatic performances and more during the weekly Farmers’ Market. Historic Valley Junction is a historic gathering place in West Des Moines — a mix of old and new, bridging generations with unique shops, vibrant events and a walkable, hometown feel. Historic Valley Junction is home to over 160 independent businesses.
One + Done
Art Week Des Moines offers one-time-only experiences created by local artists. It generates awe and wonder; it builds community. Don’t miss the singular opportunity.
Take a minute to build your schedule for the week. Join us in celebrating the diversity of creative expression growing in DSM.
The Greater Des Moines Partnership calendar of events is a one-stop resource for activities taking place throughout the region. Find networking information for Greater Des Moines (DSM) businesses or events specific to Downtown DSM.
Teva Dawson leads Group Creative Services in Des Moines, a public art consultancy hosting Art Week Des Moines 2022 with more than 150 artists.