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2018 Des Moines Arts Festival® Underway with Jury Process

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Friday, February 2, 2018


2018 Des Moines Arts Festival® Underway with Jury Process

The three-day, rigorous process in full swing

DES MOINES, IA  February 2, 2018 – Planning for the award-winning Des Moines Arts Festival® is heating up with the three-day jury process (Jan. 31 - Feb. 2) that will determine the 180 artists who will be invited to exhibit their work in the Juried Art Fair June 22 - 24, 2018, in downtown Des Moines' Western Gateway Park. 

Five members of the local and national arts community serve collaboratively as jurors to select the artists from a pool of more than 1,000 applicants, thanks to sponsorship provided by Nationwide®Two of these jurors are peer jurors – artists from 2017 who will be returning in 2018 by way of invitation – to provide the broadest range of jurors possible with an eye on experience and an understanding of the process. This year’s peer jurors are Chris Dahlquist and Chris Vance

Alongside the two peer jurors, Jeremiah Elbel, Amanda Reynal, and Susan Watts will view more than 6,000 images over the course of the three-day jury. The process involves a preview of all applications, along with scoring artists through the first round using ZAPP, an online automated jury system that projects images of the artist’s work. The jury uses a 1 - 7 scoring system for the first round. After this, artists are "voted" through by the jury to the next round. The rounds continue until the final show for 2018 is composed.  

“We host a rigorous jury process. We pride ourselves on being very thorough to ensure every artist has every opportunity within 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 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 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.

Selected artists for next year’s Festival will be announced on Feb. 22, 2018, following the Festival’s REVEAL event at The Art Atrium on the campus of Athene Corporate Headquarters (7700 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines). The event will be at 6:30 p.m. with an exclusive VIP Pre-Party beginning at 5:30 p.m. REVEAL is made possible by the generosity of Foster Group and is an exclusive sneak peek into the jury process. It unveils visually for the first time the 180 artists who will receive an invitation to the 2018 Des Moines Arts Festival. Paperless tickets are available for this event by going to desmoinesartsfestival.org/REVEAL and the event is nearly sold out.

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

Chris Dahlquist learned to use a camera and darkroom as she was learning to ride a bicycle and write in cursive. After beginning her career in commercial photography and film, in 1998 Dahlquist moved toward incorporating travel with her work, and has exhibited extensively throughout the United States ever since. She has been awarded an Inspiration Grant from the Metropolitan Kansas City Arts Council and a Development Grant from the Mid-America Art Alliance. In addition to her own studio practice, Dahlquist also works to help other artists build sustainable careers. She serves as an Artist Peer Facilitator in Artist Inc., a professional development program that helps artists across all disciplines.

Jeremiah Elbel is an artist and Creative Director of Marketing at Speak PR. He was born in Omaha in 1979 and received his BFA in Graphic Design and Fine Arts at Grand View University. Elbel traditionally uses a combination of painting, drawing, and printmaking techniques to investigate the cultural ideal of aesthetic attraction. In his work, he examines the perspective of the spectator in relation to events of great tragedy in history. Elbel has publicly exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery in London, engaged with the curatorial board of the Museum Fur Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, and continues to exhibit locally at select venues throughout Des Moines. 

Amanda Reynal has more than 20 years of experience in interior design and is known for her ability to see projects from conception to completion with no detail left to chance. After moving to Des Moines in 2001, she founded Amanda Reynal Interiors, where she utilizes her well-traveled aesthetic and astute knowledge of antiques, art, and the global design market. Amanda received a Bachelor of Arts at Trinity College with a major in Art History, studied for her masters abroad in Florence, Italy and then learned her trade at the New York School of Interior Design and Parsons School of Design. 

Susan Watts is the owner of Olson-Larsen Galleries, a contemporary gallery and custom frame shop in West Des Moines. She oversees all operations of the gallery – managing the representation of 60 regional artists, working with a range of individual and corporate clients, coordinating major commissions, and curating gallery exhibitions.  Susan is also part of Project Spaces, an initiative of the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation. Susan is currently a member of the Momentum Community Advisory Board and formerly served on the Artstop and Friends of Des Moines Parks board of directors. She holds a B.A. with honors in art history and journalism from the University of Iowa.

Chris Vance is a working artist from Des Moines. He graduated from Iowa State University in 2000 and has been featured in many juried art festivals around the country. Over the past 10 years, Vance has worked on murals and gallery work. He works in spraypaint, acrylics, and other mediums. Vance was the Festival’s featured artist in 2017 and he produced the Festival’s legacy project of “The Dream” on the side of the Ford and Garland building in downtown.

About the Des Moines Arts Festival®

The nine-time Gold Grand Pinnacle Award-winning Des Moines Arts Festival will be held June 22-24, 2018. This free annual three-day arts and culture festival will surround the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park. DMAF invites you to “go where it takes you…” by engaging with 180 invited professional visual artists, emerging Iowa artists, the cutting-edge Interrobang Film Festival, live music, performing arts, interactive arts activities, award-winning community outreach programs, live artist workshops and demonstrations, artisan food, and beverages for every taste.  

For more information please visit us online at www.desmoinesartsfestival.org or socialize with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DesMoinesArtsFestival, Twitter at @DMArtsFestival and Instagram at @desmoinesartsfestival.  #GoWhereItTakesYou #DMAF #DMAF2018


If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview, please call Belle Du Chene at 646-712-2196 or email Belle at bduchene@desmoinesartsfestival.org.


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