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Everyone is Served: Celebrating New Life for the Edna Griffin Building

June 15, 2020

DES MOINES, IOWA, June 11, 2020 - Iowa Architectural Foundation is pleased to announce a new date for Everyone is Served: Celebrating New Life for the Edna Griffin Building. The free, live-streamed celebration runs from 4 - 5 PM on Saturday, June 13, 2020. Available by Zoom link on Eventbrite, or on Facebook Live, it will be shared across the state and beyond. This art and architecture experience honors civil rights activist Edna Griffin and the building named for her in downtown Des Moines. It will be recorded to share with students and schools everywhere. We encourage you to share it with your friends and family, no matter where they live.

The building named in Edna Griffin's honor has an amazing story to tell. On July 7, 1948, Edna, with her one-year-old daughter and two other African Americans, were denied service due to their race, at the Katz Drug Store lunch counter located on the first floor. After this incident, she, with others, became key players in two successful law suits brought against Katz. Mrs. Griffin continued organizing boycotts and protests and spent the rest of her life as an activist for human rights and justice.

To celebrate the rehabilitation of this Iowa landmark, architect Andy Lorentzen, AIA, of RDG Planning & Design, will take guests on a behind-the-scenes tour of the building, showing the spaces where these events occurred as well as showcasing the building’s rehabilitation.

Organizers, producers, performances and speakers are listed here:


Andy Lorentzen, AIA – Project Architect - building tour
Daniel Bolsem – Videographer, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
Claudia Cackler – Executive Director, Iowa Architectural Foundation
Iowa Architectural Foundation – Event Originator/Producer
CLE – Technical production


Director Tiffany Johnson – Pyramid Theatre Company

Performers & Speakers
Dartanyan Brown - Track
George Davis - Sumpin Doo - guitar
Gilbert Davis Sr. - Sumpin Doo - bass
Abena Imhotep - vocal
Aaron Smith - Scooter Krunch - vocal
Rebecca Davis - vocal
Dionna Langford - vocal
DeShana Langford - vocal
AJ Young - actor
Poni Lejukole - vocal
Madison Ray - vocal
Ryan Ar'jye Collier - engineer/vocal
Words & Melody Taylor and family - poet
Kaleb Nichols – poet with Movement 515
Kyle Gowin – Sax
Emmett Phillips - youth of Homes of Oakridge
Alexis Davis – Pyramid Theatre Company

Mark Antonio Smith - Known Labs
Kofi Manteaw - assistant videographer - Blue Vine Media

Ryan Ar'jye Collier- I/O Productions

Stanley Griffin
Mary Campos
Chuck and Ann Irvine

Originally constructed in 1885, with three additional floors added in 1906, the Edna Griffin building is on the National Register of Historic Places due to its significance in Iowa and US civil rights history. Earlier this year, a beautiful extensive interior rehabilitation of the building was carried out. It involves first floor retail, where Kum & Go has launched a new healthy convenience store, second floor office space and approximately thirty-five apartments.

The Iowa Architectural Foundation will provide those who register a virtual swag bag with items from IAF, Pyramid Theatre and the State Historical Society of Iowa. It includes information about IAF’s architecture programs for students, coupons for a free downtown architecture tour, Adventures in Architecture summer day camp at Central Campus (now pushed to 2021), student drawing and photo contests and how to access IAF's Downtown Des Moines architecture mobile app for self-tours.

We hope this will inspire attendees to find out more about the stories behind the buildings in their neighborhoods and communities!

Many thanks to our generous sponsors: Neumann Bros. Const, RDG Planning & Design, Forrest & Assoc., Tim Rypma, Des Moines Griffin Building, LLC, State Historical Society of Iowa, Tesdell Electric, Ralph N. Smith Flooring, Kum & Go, Skold Companies, Baker Group. IAF and Pyramid Theatre are both BRAVO-funded organizations.

About the Iowa Architectural Foundation

The Iowa Architectural Foundation (IAF) was founded 30 years ago to speak to the public about why architecture is important, with a mission to inspire an appreciation for architecture and design. As a 501 (c)(3) public foundation, our primary purpose is education. We offer public lectures and tours to provide a new lens for viewing and understanding our built environment. Ultimately, our success will inspire Iowans to engage in design issues and consider high standards as they build and shape their communities.