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2017 Des Moines Arts Festival Underway with Jury Process

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

DES MOINES, IA  January 3, 2017 – On Wednesday, January 4 planning for the award-winning Des Moines Arts Festival®, presented by The Des Moines Register, hits its stride with the start of the three-day jury process that will determine the 180 artists who will be invited to exhibit their work in the Juried Art Fair on June 23 - 25, 2017, in downtown Des Moines' Western Gateway Park. Five members of the local and national arts community will serve as jurors to select the artists from 1,002 applicants.  

Alex Braidwood, Kristen Greteman, Liz Lidgett, Brice McCasland, and Michael Morain will view over 6,000 images over the three-day jury.  The jury process involves a preview of all applications, along with scoring artists through the first round.  The jury uses a 1 - 7 scoring system for the first round.  After the first round, artists are "voted" through by the jury to the next round.  The rounds continue until the final show for 2017 is composed.  

“We host a rigorous jury process. We pride ourselves on being very thorough to ensure every artist has every opportunity with the jury. It’s fair, balanced and transparent. We ask our jurors to consider their personal selections, as well as those of the other jurors. Our process is why our festival is considered one of the best in the country,” said Stephen King, Des Moines Arts Festival Executive Director. 

Applications were received in a variety of mediums from artists in 43 states and five countries that include the United States, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Israel, and Taiwan.  In addition to the professional visual artists, the jury will select those artists to be invited to exhibit as part of the Emerging Iowa Artist program.  The Emerging Iowa Artist program, presented by PrincipalSM, offers a unique opportunity for visual artists who are Iowa residents and currently enrolled in an institution of higher education to showcase their talents at one of the nation's most decorated arts festivals.

The Festival invites applying artists to preview their images, as part of the projected ZAPPlication system on Wednesday, January 4th at the Greater Des Moines Partnership Conference Center, where the jury is being staged. Applying artists along with members of the public are invited to a welcome reception starting at 5:30 pm with the jury preview beginning promptly at 6:00 pm.

Selected artists for next year’s Festival will be announced on January 27 following the Festival’s REVEAL event at Wells Fargo Arena. REVEAL is an exclusive sneak peek into the jury process and unveils visually for the first time, the 180 artists who will receive an invitation. Paperless tickets are available for this event by going to desmoinesartsfestival.org/REVEAL. The jury process will be updated throughout the three days on the Festival's Facebook Page:  Facebook.com/DesMoinesArtsFestival, Instagram: desmoinesartsfestival and Twitter: @DMArtsFestival.

About the Jury

Alex Braidwood is a sound artist, media designer & design educator.  He maintains a practice centered around a process of play, experimentation and research through making. His work explores methods for transforming the relationship between people and the sounds in their environment. Recently, Alex has been an artist in residence in an Australian National Park, on an Iowa farm and at a mid-western biological field research station. He was recently one of the two Iowa Artists for 2016 through the Des Moines Art Center. Alex has exhibited work, led creative technology workshops, lectured on his research process, and performed live at a variety of events throughout the US, Europe, Australia and Asia. He is currently Assistant Professor in the Graphic Design, Masters of Sustainable Design and Human Computer Interaction PhD programs at Iowa State University and is director of the artist-in-residence program at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory biological field research station.

Kristen Greteman is an artist, aspiring architect, avid-traveler, and perpetual student with a fascination for the intersection between the built and natural environments. Her work, whether architecture, art, or research, serves as a catalyst to explore social, environmental, and economic issues that have surfaced from the ways we change the natural environment by creating the built environment. Kristen grew up in Iowa and loves calling this state her home base. She earned professional Bachelor of Architecture, Master of Science in Architecture and Master of Community and regional Planning degrees in 2011 and 2016. Exhibiting in the 2016 Des Moines Arts Festival, Kristen was awarded the Leysens Family Award for Best Emerging Iowa Artist. 

Liz Lidgett is an art advisor, appraiser and stylist. As CEO of Adore Your Walls, she works with corporate and privately owned collections where she researches, acquires, and curates works of art. Liz is also the host of The Art Hunter with BetterHomesandGardens.com and is a freelance contributor for many national publications. She is the past-president of Art Noir, the member affiliate group for the Des Moines Art Center and has worked as a volunteer for many other community arts and cultural organizations including Des Moines Metro Opera, Ballet Des Moines, Science Center of Iowa and Salisbury House and Gardens. She was named the 2013 The Des Moines Register’s Juice Magazine Young Professional of the Year.

Brice McCasland is a mixed media artist from McKinney, Texas, although his wife, Katie, is originally from Des Moines. He is also a full-time teacher of visual arts for the McKinney, Texas, school district for grades K-12. Brice works primarily with oils, but recently began an entirely new body of work through mixed media. His work deals with texture and surface via collage and paints to help narrate hauntingly simple landscapes and portraits.

When not teaching, Brice travels the country exhibiting his work in shows like the Des Moines Arts Festival. Brice’s piece Our Liberties We Prize was selected as the 2016 Commemorative Poster and his body of work was recognized with an Award of Excellence.

Michael Morain manages communications for the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, a job he began in 2016 after a decade covering arts and culture for The Des Moines Register. The Ames native holds degrees from Graceland University, in Lamoni, and Northwestern University, in Chicago, and is a two-time fellow of the NEA Institutes for Arts Journalism. He lives in downtown Des Moines with his husband, Heath Smith, and relies on their two cats, Eleanor Roosevelt and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for their patience and wise counsel.


The Des Moines Arts Festival®, presented by The Des Moines Register, will be June 23 -25, 2017 in downtown Des Moines’ Western Gateway Park. The Festival is one of the nation’s most respected arts events hosting 180 of the nation’s top artists in a beautiful urban street setting surrounding the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park.  For more information on the Festival please visit, www.desmoinesartsfestival.org, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DesMoinesArtsFestival and on twitter at @DMArtsFestival 

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