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Proposed Lauridsen Skatepark Skateable Art Sculpture has 'Wow' Factor

October 18, 2018

GREATER DES MOINES, IOWA (Oct. 18, 2018) — An iconic new sculpture has been proposed for Downtown Des Moines (DSM) and it promises to offer a “wow” factor for the region.

Watch the artist explain the project.

Designed by renowned artists Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt of R & R Studios in Miami, Fla., the large sculpture titled “WOW” will be incorporated into the design of the Lauridsen Skatepark that broke ground Oct. 15, 2018. The sculpture’s creation is made possible by a $250,000 gift from the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines.

To ensure an inclusive selection, a diverse committee composed of community leaders, youth, skateboarders and artists met to review proposals and made the recommendation of Behar and Marquardt’s “WOW.”

Subject to approval by the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation and Des Moines City Council, “WOW” will be constructed of steel, painted in a vibrant color and will spell out the word “wow.” At 80 feet long, 12 feet high and four feet wide, the skateable art piece will be used by skaters as part of the world-class Lauridsen Skatepark. 

The sculpture ties into the activation of Downtown DSM’s river as part of the Greater Des Moines Water Trails and Greenways Master Plan. It is designed to mimic the river’s waves and as a palindrome will be read as “wow” no matter the viewpoint.  

“Whenever we do a project, the first question we are asked is how do we prevent people from skating on your sculpture,” Rosario Marquardt of R & R Studios said. “Here, we have the reverse and they are telling us to do a sculpture that is skateable — designing “WOW” was completely liberating and fun to do.” 

“WOW” is designed to be a social sculpture that welcomes and promotes interaction among skaters and all visitors to the Lauridsen Skatepark. It will be viewable from the river, Second Avenue, the Principal Riverwalk, the Historic East Village and from Interstate 235.

“’WOW’ will become an instant landmark for Greater Des Moines and will contribute a sense of awe to the riverfront activation plan,” said Kristi Knous, President of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines. “As people enjoy our region, we often hear them refer to our city as one with a ‘wow’ factor. It is exciting to support a bold art piece that reflects the momentum of our region.”

At more than 65,000 square feet, the Lauridsen Skatepark will be the largest skatepark in the Midwest and could attract around 40,000 visits from skaters each year. More than $3.3 million has been raised to date for the $3.5 million project. Donations are still being accepted. The skatepark is set to open in 2019.

About the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines

The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines improves quality of life for all by promoting charitable giving, connecting donors with causes they care about and providing leadership on important community issues...we're simply better together. 

About the Greater Des Moines Partnership

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 23 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,100 Regional Business Members and more than 320 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.