If you’re looking to find art and entertainment specific to the Des Moines area, there’s never been a better time than now to find it.
Art Week Des Moines returns from June 17-23, not only coming back in full force for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, but with more events than ever.
“The first year there were like seven events and that’s grown to as much as 80 events in a week (this year),” said artist Rachel Buse. “So it really needed more hands-on-deck.”
Buse, a local sculptor, helped organize Art Week in past years. As the annual event has continued to expand, though, Buse found herself in need of outside help.
That’s where Teva Dawson and her team at Group Creative Service come in. The organization helps get artists involved in community events and turns public spaces into art.
“We’re trying to get art into more unexpected places and bring in more diverse communities,” Dawson said of her team’s approach to this year’s show. “Every day is so different. Every day will have a different feel a different day to explore. There’s rarely a repeat artist.”
This year, rather than just being somewhat sporadically placed events throughout the week, programming will be spread more deliberately throughout different Des Moines neighborhoods each day.
“It’s growing and evolving past what it’s been in past years,” Buse said. “Every year I discover new collaborators, new partners and my hope is that every year when I attend, I hope people find and discover new artists and support their work.”
With dozens of events across the week, the Des Moines Register has selected one event from each day/venue to highlight.
Day 1: The Avenues of Ingersoll & Grand
Where: Various restaurants
When: Friday, June 17, noon to 11 p.m.
A Feast For Your Eyes starts at noon and runs through the rest of the day at bars and restaurants along Ingersoll Avenue.
The event pairs chefs and mixologists from places such as southeastern Asian restaurant Lucky Lotus, burger eatery Lachele’s Fine Foods and cocktail lounge The Bartender’s Handshake with local artists, who collaborate on food and drinks influenced by their works.
According to organizers, the following restaurants and artists will be among those featured in the event.
- Lucky Lotus (2721 Ingersoll Ave.) featuring artist Michael Kunzler, owner of Kunzler Studios Art & Gallery.
- Cheese Bar (2925 Ingersoll Ave.) featuring artist Pat Millin.
- The Bartender’s Handshake (3615 Ingersoll Ave.) featuring artist Julianna Dubin of Keshet Art Glass.
- Harbinger (2724 Ingersoll Ave.) featuring artist Pamela Moore.
- Lachele’s Fine Foods (2716 Ingersoll Ave.) featuring artist Ryan Topete.
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Day 2: Oak Park/Highland Park
Where: To be determined
When: Saturday, June 18, 12:30 to 3 p.m.
The neighborhood will host a Juneteenth Community Grid Mural as part of this year’s Art Week.
The event will be held at a to-be-determined location at the intersection of Sixth and Euclid avenues on Saturday afternoon and will invite community members to create a collaborative mural using pre-cut grid squares on watercolor paper.
This event will recur across multiple days until the finished mural is unveiled on June 23.
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Day 3: Drake
Where: Cottage Grove Ave.
When: Sunday, June 19, 3 to 5 p.m.
The Cottage Grove Avenue Porch Crawl is part of a celebration of the 150th anniversary of Cottage Grove Avenue.
For a few hours this afternoon, up to 15 artists will be sharing or selling their art on the lawns and front porches of homes between 24th and 33rd streets.
If visitors end their stroll near Dogtown at 5 p.m., they’ll be able to easily attend evening events that include a documentary, multiple art exhibitions and the Kalypso Music Festival at xBk Live.
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Day 4: Franklin Area
Where: Perkins School parking lot, 4301 College Ave.
When: Monday, June 20, 5 to 6 p.m.
Artists Celebrate World Refugee Day will feature a variety of food and music options over the course of an hour for visitors.
World Refugee Day is an annual day of recognition for the right to seek safety. Artists and performers throughout the evening will include Sudanese Girls Dance Group, Genesis Youth Foundation and Lao-American Association in Iowa, among others.
Day 5: Downtown Des Moines
Where: Mainframe Studios, 900 Keosauqua Way
When: Tuesday, June 21, 5 to 8 p.m.
Central Iowans are going to have a unique opportunity on day five when they’re invited to play on an artist-made mini-golf course. Mainframe Studios Tee-Off Opening Ceremony is a free event that features a six-hole miniature golf course in the art center.
Mainframe Studios will also open its studios for the evening, allowing visitors to peak into the spaces where some of Des Moines’ most prolific artists create their works. Food and drinks from Tangerine Food Co. will be served.
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Day 6: Columbus Park
Where: Tumea & Sons Restaurant, 1501 SE First St.
When: Wednesday, June 22, 5 to 7 p.m.
Abby Niederhauser is a local pop artist who has one project that’s occupied 25 years of her life: an ever-growing 200-plus pound ball of yarn she’s been assembling since age 10.
This Big Ball Of Yarn Appearance will allow locals to view the project Nierderhauser has been hand crocheting since 1997. At the same time and venue, artist Jennifer Leatherby will also be doing free quick draw portraits.
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Day 7: Valley Junction
Where: 100 and 200 blocks of Fifth St., West Des Moines
When: Thursday, June 23, 5 to 7 p.m.
After multiple community events throughout the week inviting the public to help create puppets for the event, the day of the first-ever Big Head Parade finally arrives.
The event takes place during the Valley Junction Farmers Market that day and will feature an array of puppets for this march through Valley Junction’s streets. Individuals who participated in one of the puppet-making pop-ups earlier in the week can help with the event with their own puppets, or simply stop by to see if the puppet they made makes an appearance during this event.
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More information about Art Week 2022 and the myriad other events programmed for this year can be found at artweekdesmoines.com.
Isaac Hamlet covers arts, entertainment and culture at the Des Moines Register. Reach him at email@example.com or 319-600-2124, follow him on Twitter @IsaacHamlet.