June 23 - 25, 2017 Western Gateway Park Friday & Saturday 11AM - 10PM I Sunday 11AM - 5PM
Celebrating
20 Years!

Official 2017 Des Moines Arts Festival® Media Kit

Filed under "Festival News"
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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Des Moines Arts Festival® General Information

Dates: Friday June 23th – Sunday June 25th

Times: Friday, June 23   11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

              Saturday, June 24    11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

              Sunday, June 25      11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Where: Western Gateway Park, Downtown Des Moines

Admission: FREE

What:

  • Juried Art Fair featuring 180 visual artists representing 29 states and the countries of Argentina and Canada who have been selected from a competitive jury process sponsored by Nationwide Insurance
  • Emerging Iowa Artists Program and artist workshops presented by PrincipalSM
  • Des Moines Storytellers Project presented by The Des Moines Register
  • 49 film screenings at the Interrobang Film Festival
  • Prairie Meadows Community Outreach Program showcasing and supporting 22 Central Iowa non-profit organizations
  • The live music of Saint Motel and Sires on Friday night and Big Head Todd and the Monsters on Saturday night, along with local favorites The Maytags, Halfloves and GoodCat on the Hy-Vee Main Stage
  • Acoustic Stage presented by Meredith Corporation featuring Joe Purdy and The Pines
  • eVenti Verticali’s WANTED presented by Athene USA
  • Secret Walls presented by Wells Fargo
  • BOOM ART! presented by MidAmerican Energy Company
  • The street theatre experience of Bill Robison and Fantastick Patrick as well as activities in the Creative Zone
  • Green Arts Zero-Waste Sustainability Program presented by Voya Financial®
  • Silent Rivers Design+Build VIP Club, Hospitality Suites and #DMAFcurated exhibit
  • More than 1,200 volunteers sponsored by ARAG
  • Des Moines Art Center’s Student Art Exhibition and Visionary Artists Ceremony presented by Hubbell Homes
  • Artist Demonstrations presented by John Deere
  • Media Zones with CenturyLink Wi-Fi, charging stations hosted by WHO-HD
  • More than 25 Interactive Arts Activities
  • Self-guided painting with Pinot’s Palette
  • WHO-HD celebrities Meet & Greet
  • DART bus unveiling and art tours presented by DART and the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation
  • Official merchandise and apparel available at two Arts Festival Shops
  • Wide variety of beverages from Budweiser, Gateway Market, Stella Artois and craft beer
  • Iowa Craft Beer Tent and Court Ave. Brewing Co. featuring the Festival’s specialty craft brews
  • More than 20 eclectic food booths and food trucks
  • Sculpture Garden

Calendar: For a full list of events throughout the three-day Festival, and to create your own personalized events calendar, visit www.desmoinesartsfestival.org/schedules

General Information: info@desmoinesartsfestival.org, www.desmoinesartsfestival.org, or 515-286-4950. Please note that this number is not active June 24 and June 25.

Media Inquires: Belle Du Chene, belle@visionary.com

Social Media:             

Twitter -- @DMArtsFestival

Facebook – facebook.com/DesMoinesArtsFestival

Instagram – @desmoinesartsfestival

Pinterest - http://www.pinterest.com/dmartsfest/

Snapchat – dmartsfestival

Official Event Hashtags:        

#DMAF20

#GoWhereItTakesYou

Wi-Fi: The entire Festival site is outfitted with complimentary Wi-Fi thanks to our friends at CenturyLink.

Disabled Access: The Festival grounds are handicap accessible. Wheelchairs are available for check out on a first-come, first-served basis at Volunteer Headquarters.

Handicap Parking:  Designated handicap parking is located on Walnut St., south of the Festival grounds, outside the 12th and Walnut Entrance. Parking is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis.

Getting There: For a full list of options how to reach and park at the Festival, including walking, riding your bike, taking DART, and more, visit www.desmoinesartsfestival.org/gettingthere

Driving Directions:

From the West on I-80

  • Take I-80 to 1-235 east (Exit 123A, left lanes).
  • Take I-235 to Downtown Des Moines.
  • Exit at Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway and take a right.  Travel south on Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway and follow roadway east (take a left) along the south side of Downtown Des Moines after passing over Ingersoll Avenue and under Grand Avenue.
  • From Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, turn left onto 12th Street.

From the East on I-80

  • Exit I-80.
  • Take I-235 to Downtown Des Moines, exit at Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway and take a left.
  • Travel south on Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway and follow roadway east (take a left) along the south side of Downtown Des Moines after passing over Ingersoll Avenue and under Grand Avenue.
  • From Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, turn left onto 12th Street.

From the North on I-35

  • Take I-35 to I-235 West (exit 137B, left lanes).
  • Take I-235 to Downtown Des Moines.
  • Exit at Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway and take a left.  Travel south on Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway and follow roadway east (take a left) along the south side of Downtown Des Moines after passing over Ingersoll Avenue and under Grand Avenue.
  • From Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, turn left onto 12th Street.

From the South on I-35

  • Exit on I-35 onto I-235 East.
  • Take I-235 to Downtown Des Moines
  • Exit at Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway and take a right.  Travel south on Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway and follow roadway east (take a left) along the south side of Downtown Des Moines after passing over Ingersoll Avenue and under Grand Avenue.
  • From Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, turn left onto 12th Street.

Parking

Nationwide Insurance provides free parking starting Friday after 3:30 p.m. in their ramp at 1100 Walnut Street (between 10th and 12th streets). During the day on Friday only, the garage will cost $3-$5 per car if you exit before 3:30 p.m.  Parking is free in the garage after 3:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday. (If you enter before 3:30 and depart after 3:30, there will not be a charge). Enter at the south entrance off Mulberry Street. Please carpool if possible, as the streets on and around the Festival site are closed, and it will take you extra time to park on Festival days. Free bike valet service is available at 15th and Locust Street. Valet Parking is available at 13th and Walnut Street.

Ride DART

Consider riding a DART bus to the Festival. Plan your trip on ridedart.com or on Google Maps by clicking the transit icon. Festival guests driving downtown can avoid the search for parking around Western Gateway Park by parking anywhere along the route of DART's free D-Line Shuttle, and ride the D-Line the rest of the way. The free D-Line Shuttle runs in a loop every 10 minutes from the Iowa State Capitol to Western Gateway Park. The Shuttle operates until 6:00 p.m. on Friday, June 23 and from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 24. The Shuttle will not be running on Sunday, June 25. To view a map of the D-Line, click here.  A complete Rider’s Guide is available to download from the website at ridedart.com/how-to-ride.    

Valet Car Parking

Bypass finding a parking spot by valet parking your car at 13th and Walnut for $10/car. To reach the valet parking: Westbound traffic from I-235 should exit at Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway and take a left. Travel south on Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway and follow the roadway east (take a left) along the south side of Downtown Des Moines after passing over Ingersoll Avenue and under Grand Avenue. Turn left on 12th St., then left on Walnut. Take Walnut to 13th Street. Eastbound traffic from I-235 should exit at Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway and take a right. Follow the same directions as above.

Bike Valet

Take your favorite trail and ride it downtown, knowing you can valet your bike for free! Just take your bike to the bike corral hosted by Friends of Central Iowa Trails at the intersection of Locust Street and 15th Street. 

$$$:  There are multiple ATM Locations located throughout the Festival. All artists accept cash and most accept credit cards. Food vendors accept cash and some accept credit cards. The Festival Stores and all Beverage locations accept cash, credit card and Square Wallet.

Mission: The Des Moines Arts Festival® is a multi-day Festival that adds vibrancy to Central Iowa by creating opportunities for people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds to celebrate the arts.

Core Values:

  • Foster Appreciation of the Arts: We strive to educate, inspire and engage our audience toward a heightened appreciation of visual and other forms of art. 
  • Celebrate Original Art:We produce an annual celebration of outstanding original visual art in a festival atmosphere.
  • Value Community: We respect and celebrate the involvement of all people and seek to enhance the sense of pride in our community.
  • Deliver the Highest Standards with Integrity and Accountability:We value professionalism and quality.  We operate in a fair and honorable manner with transparency. We are strong financial stewards. We manage with responsibility and maximize value to our partners.
  • Strategically Innovate: We seek to harness new and creative ideas for the betterment of the festival and community.

Our Vision: Within the next five years, the Des Moines Arts Festival will be known for its innovations in audience and artist engagement, and leadership in providing a model to other organizations for high quality execution.

 

Des Moines Arts Festival ® Guest Policies

For the safety and enjoyment of all attendees, the Festival has established the following policies:

  • Please respect the original work of the artists. Taking photos without asking nor receiving permission is PROHIBITED. Ask before snapping a photo!
  • No outside beverages are allowed within the Festival site. For safety reasons, glass bottles are prohibited within the Festival site. Revenue from Festival sanctioned on-site beverage sales assists the DMAF in remaining an admission-free event. Proceeds also benefit our many non-profit vending partners’ important community programs.
  • Alcoholic beverages are sold within the Festival site to patrons 21-years and older presenting valid identification. State laws and regulations require that alcoholic beverages purchased at the Festival remain on-site. On-site security will ask you to dispose of any alcoholic beverages before you exit or enter.
  • Smoking is not permitted inside any structure or in any seating area on the Festival grounds.
  • Skateboards, roller blades, large signs and placards which may endanger or inconvenience the public attending the Festival are prohibited on-site.
  • Please dismount bikes upon entering the Festival site. Free bike valet is available at the intersection of 15th Street and Grand Avenue.
  • Non-sanction activities, including public address or busking are prohibited on the Festival site.
  • All packages are subject to search.
  • Be kind to your pets. Leave them at home when you visit the Festival. Pets are highly discouraged for the safety of the pet due to the heat and the number of people. City regulations state that service dogs are allowed on-site. Pets are not allowed inside artists’ tents.
  • No firearms, weapons or fireworks allowed on the Festival site.
  • The Festival reserves the right to decline admittance to anyone who violates the reasonable policies established for public safety or to restrict activities such as public address to designated areas.

 

Des Moines Arts Festival® Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor:  The Des Moines Register

Premier Sponsors: Bravo Greater Des Moines, Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino, PrincipalSM

Platinum Sponsor: MidAmerican Energy Company

Founding Partner: Des Moines Art Center

Official Sponsors: ARAG, Athene, Buick GMC, Hy-Vee, Meredith, Nationwide, Silent Rivers Design + Build

Official Media Sponsors: Des Moines Radio Group, iHeartRadio, WHO-HD

Participating Sponsors:  Bank of the West, Doll Distributing, G. David and Trudy Holman Hurd Fund, Hubbell Homes, Iowa Public Radio, John Deere, Voya Financial, Wells Fargo

Supporting Sponsors: Polk County Board of Supervisors, Visionary Services

Contributing Sponsors: Centro Restaurant, CenturyLink, Farm Baby, Gateway Market, Hockenberg Newburgh, Ruan Foundation, Torrance, VolunteerLocal, Younkers

Executive Circle: American Enterprise, Brick Gentry Law, Bruce and Susan Kelley, Des Moines Public Library, Electronic Engineering, Greater Des Moines Convention & Visitors Bureau, John Pappajohn, NCMIC Group, Robert Josten and Susan Judkins, Scott Sundstron, T. Gordon Welton

Festival Patron: Baker Electric, Grant Kvalheim, Pamela Bass-Bookey and Harry Bookey, Robert & Stephanie Larson, Tim Bohlen, West End Salvage – Don Short and Julie Lehman

Curator: Christopher DellaVendova, Kasi and Brian Koehler, Kevin and Kim Broders, Lynn A. Swanson, Natalie Tomaras, Piechowski Family, Rachel Flint, Robert A. and Elizabeth C. Lee Foundation, Suzanne and Jake Arnold, Tom Whitney, Will Anderson

 

Green Arts Sustainability Program

What are we doing?

Working with key stakeholders, including the City of Des Moines, Drake University,  Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Silent Rivers Design + Build, the Des Moines Arts Festival has created a comprehensive, long-range Sustainability Vision designed to identify and implement strategies and procedures that will dramatically reduce waste during the Des Moines Art Festival. Sponsored by Voya Financial®, one of the main objectives in this plan is to achieve zero-waste.

A Sustainability Team will be on the ground, dedicated to ensuring the goals of the Vision are not compromised. Examples of this are as follows:

  • Seventeen custom-designed waste stations, positioned throughout the Festival site, accommodating recyclables, compostables, and landfill waste. All waste is logged and accounted for, providing compressive checks and balances. These metrics allow the true, measurable accountability.
  • Vinyl banners used during the Festival are recycled and made into tote bags and other items rather than deposited in the landfill.
  • Free bike valet service provided by Friends of Central Iowa Trails encourages guests to cycle to the Festival instead of driving.
  • DART will provide complimentary rides to and from the Festival for volunteers.
  • All generators used to power the Festival site run on a biodiesel blend.
  • Any paper correspondence is printed on recycled paper and postconsumer waste materials.
  • Food vendors will be required to use compostable plates, utensils, napkins, and containers.
  • Artists and volunteers are provided designated water stations to fill reusable bottles, eliminating thousands of disposable plastic bottles.
  • Information provided to all participating vendors is delivered electronically and posted on the Festival's web site in order to eliminate paper and other non-recyclable products.
  • Other merchandise options are non-woven bags that can be reused by guests as tote bags, and reusable water bottles.
  • Beverages will be sold in recyclable plastic bottles and aluminum.
  • The application process for the juried art fair is completely paperless, using an online registration, application, jury and communications system called ZAPPlication.
  • Boy Scout Troop 111 out of Grimes will assist with on-site recycling to ensure that materials are sorted and uncontaminated.

This plan is designed to support and encourage the best practices that ensure the Des Moines Arts Festival has a minimal negative impact on the environment while still delivering a world-class event.

Another impressive component of the Festival’s sustainability plan is the incorporation of Ash trees the City of Des Moines had to cut down due to the Emerald Ash Borer jewel beetle. Instead of immediately disposing of these trees, Silent Rivers Design + Build has transformed them into fencing that surrounds the Festival’s VIP hospitality suites.

 

INTERACTIVE MEDIA ZONES

SOCIALIZE WITH US!

Get connected at this year’s Festival with the Media Zones!  Interactive Media Zones will be hosted by Festival media partners, WHO-HD News Channel 13 and Des Moines Radio Group. Both will feature boosted Wi-Fi courtesy of CenturyLink, smartphone charging stations and social media streaming.

Social media streaming will provide the opportunity for guests to share their Festival experiences, status updates, tweets, snaps and Instagram photos through the Festival hashtags #DMAF20 and #GoWhereItTakesYou.

The Media Zones offers guests a more meaningful relationship, invites participation and enhances the overall festival experience.  Hashtags, social media streaming and boosted Wi-Fi are just a few of the things that will make the 2017 Des Moines Arts Festival the best one yet.

Social Media:             

Twitter @DMArtsFestival

Facebook – facebook.com/DesMoinesArtsFestival

Instagram – @desmoinesartsfestival

Pinterest - http://www.pinterest.com/dmartsfest/

Snapchat – dmartsfestival

 

Des Moines Arts Festival® Interactive Arts Activities

Interactive arts activities are one of the five pillars of the arts featured each year. Throughout the Festival, guests of all ages have the opportunity to get creative and hands-on with art, music, dance and more! These activities can be found throughout the Festival at sponsor and vendor booths, and the Creative Zone.

BOOM ART! Suspended 30 feet high from their all-new, all-electric bucket truck, MidAmerican Energy Company presents BOOM ART, an Interactive Mural Project. Taking our fascination with doodling to a whole new level, join other festival guests as you illustrate our unique pattern design and watch as the finished mural rises above the streets during the three-day festival.

NEWSPAPER PIRATE HATS The Des Moines Register newspaper hat. All ages are welcome to stop by the booth to make a newspaper pirate hat. Keep it simple with just the newsprint or let your creativity sail by adding beads, feathers, or color to your hat.

PUBLIC ART TOUR Join DART and the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation for a tour of public art. The two organizations will host two public art tours on Saturday, June 24. The tours, which will take place a 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., are free and open to the public. The pick-up location for the tour is near the intersection of 12th Street and High Street in Downtown Des Moines. Each tour is scheduled to last approximately one hour.

FREE ART! 

What is better than being handed a beautiful new piece of original art! The Principal Street Team will be looking for you on the streets of the Festival. The Principal Street Team will be sharing Principal swag with Festival guests and answering general questions about the Festival. You can find them around the Festival all weekend or near one of the four information kiosks. They will be wearing shirts with the new Principal logo. Snap a pic with your Principal swag (or even with a street team member!) and share to social media using the hashtag #DMAF20. Your submission will enter you for a chance to win a piece of art created by an emerging Iowa artist sponsored by PrincipalSM. Yes, it’s that easy!

CREATE YOUR OWN APPAREL

It’s much more fun to paint your own t-shirt or backpack! Grab some fabric paints and enjoy this hands-on activity while creating your very own signature Festival merchandise!

PINOT’S PALETTE

Pinot's Palette offers a relaxed, fun environment to get expert guidance from local artists. For the fourth consecutive year, Pinot's Palette is bringing the studio to DMAF! Join us for a self-guided painting session, where local artists will help you create your own masterpiece. Choose from a selection of popular paintings like "Japanese Moon Garden," "Pixie Petals," and "Star Gazing." Eight-inch canvasses will be available for $10, and ten-inch canvasses cost $15. Come in and paint anytime—artists will be available throughout the weekend.

SPIN ART

This family favorite activity will be offered again at the 2017 Des Moines Arts Festival! Create your own colorful spin art on a canvas of your very own.

CREATIVE ZONE 

Homemade dog toy: Make a homemade fleece toy for your favorite dog!

Butterflies: Create and decorate a butterfly made of pipe cleaners, tissue paper and clothes pins or create a “seed bomb” where you roll seeds for a butterfly garden into a ball of clay!

Animal mask: Choose to make a cat, dog or rabbit!

Cool art: Make your own fan out of paper plates and popsicle sticks and then use it as a puppet at home. Create your own art and keep cool with it!

Ribbon cutting:  Create an entrepreneurial coupon book or business and get your photo taken using the Downtown Chamber’s giant scissors in a mock ribbon cutting ceremony!

Christmas in June: Make your very own Christmas ornament!

Camera Obscura: Expose cyanotype in the sun or light box. Or have a chance to step into a camera and experience how light and optics work!

Make your own fans: Create a fan from popsicle sticks and paper plates!

Thumbprint Art: Print your thumbprint on a piece of paper and then create an image using your print!

Button making: Design a button to wear all day long!

Dance and draw: Color and dance with others as there will be interactive dance demonstrations!

Tie-dye: Tie-dye a cloth to be styling all Festival long!

Hunger Tree: Create your own hunger tree to start combatting hunger!

Become a unicorn: Make your own unicorn horn and transform in to a unicorn!

Memory book: Create and decorate a book of memories to honor a loved one!

Get your dance on: Guests of all ages have the chance to watch and learn some new moves! Try your hand at Ballet, Salsa, Tango and the Cha Cha!

Canvas Painting: Help paint a canvas focused on a daily question on “life,” “love” or “legacy” or decorate your own heart with “what fills your heart.”

Photo Booth: Take fun photos and videos with costumes, props, and backgrounds!

Tambourine: Make your very own tambourine!

But Let's First Take a Selfie: Get engaged with art history by taking a selfie with a famous piece of art. Then, receive a printed picture with facts about the artist and their artwork!

 

The Interrobang Film Festival®

Since 2007, the Des Moines Arts Festivalhas presented the Interrobang Film Festival as part of its three-day lineup bringing the art of film to Festival guests June 23-25.  IFF is part juried competition, part public screening, and part workshop. Cinema enthusiasts and curious newcomers alike can experience curated screenings from artists around the globe.

This year’s Film Festival highlights include 48 film screenings with Q&As on select films. We are proud to also announce the world premier of OUTED, the Des Moines-based web series that was partially funded by the Iowa Arts Council, The Barn Raisers (from Quad City-based filmmakers Kelly and Tammy Rundle) and the Palm d’Or nominated Lunch Time which recently premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in France.

To see the complete list of 2017 film screenings, go to desmoinesartsfesival/interrobangfilmfestival.com.

For a complete synopsis of each film and information about filmmakers, go to interrobangfilm.com.

Please note that films screened at the Interrobang Film Festival have not been rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. Films shown after 7 p.m. may include violence, brief nudity, adult language and content. Parental guidance is suggested for children under 13. Signs will be posted in the lobby.

 

2017 Featured Artist and Commemorative Poster: Chris Vance

The Des Moines Arts Festival is honored to welcome professional visual artist Chris Vance as the 2017 Des Moines Arts Festival Featured Artist. His work, “The Dream,” appears on the 2017 commemorative poster.

The original will be on display throughout the three-day Festival inside the Silent Rivers Design + Build VIP Club. The poster is available to purchase at the Arts Festival Shops.

“The Dream” was recently completed as a mural on the East-facing side of the Ford & Garland Auto Radio Inc building (1304 Locust St). This is not the first time Vance has been selected by DMAF (he was named the 10th anniversary featured artist back in 2007 and he is now the 20th anniversary artist). It is, however, the first time a permanent installation of his work will reside on the Festival site.

“To say we are thrilled to welcome back Chris Vance to the Festival, not only as a returning artist, but also as this year’s featured artist, is an understatement,” said Stephen King, executive director of the Des Moines Arts Festival. “His featured work The Dream, shows the many layers and experiences Des Moines has to share.”

Chris Vance is a Des Moines-based mixed media artist who works primarily in acrylics, but also utilizes spray paint and graffiti markers in his work. His design for the 2017 Des Moines Arts Festival commemorative poster combines the celebration of DMAF’s 20th year with the energy of a living mural. It also holds personal meaning to him.

“I grew up in Des Moines, and I can still remember one of my first visits to the Des Moines Arts Festival,” Vance said. “To have done the poster not once, but twice now, speaks to hard work ethic, opportunity and the dream to get myself to this point.”

 

Des Moines Arts Festival LIVE Music Schedule

HY-VEE MAIN STAGE

Friday, June 23:

Saturday, June 24:

Sunday, June 25:

ACOUSTIC STAGE PRESENTED BY MEREDITH

Friday, June 23:

Saturday, June 24:

Sunday, June 25:

 

Des Moines Arts Festival Performing Arts

EVENTI VERTICALI’S “WANTED” PRESENTED BY ATHENE USA (Friday and Saturday nights)

eVenti Verticali stems from vertical dancing. Vertical spaces become floors on which the performers, supported by harnesses and suspended on ropes, dance, jump, run, perform...using the walls as orthogonal working surfaces.

Vertical Theatre is a language that brings together different art forms, starting from Theatre and circus, graphics, acrobatics, dance and music, to visual comedy and new technologies. All of these different disciplines get reinvented and adapted to unusual and impressive vertical locations: towers, buildings façades, bell towers, walls, cliffs, trees and great outdoors.

Founded in 2006 from an idea of Andrea and Luca Piallini, eVenti Verticali has performed shows all around the world promoting the Vertical Theatre in twenty different countries. The idea of working on vertical surfaces came up in 2003, while performing a rope descent from a window during a show in Gdansk.

SECRET WALLS PRESENTED BY WELLS FARGO (Friday night)

The "Fight Club" of the art scene, Secret Walls is inspired by Marvel comics and graffiti. A fixture in the global art community for over 11 years, artists of all styles and backgrounds contend on the global platform. They're armed solely with black markers or acrylic paint, with the challenge of filling a large canvas. Two key formulas have ensured the world-spreading popularity of Secret Walls. First, its inherent simplicity: two artists or teams have 90 minutes to coat their white walls of up to 25-feet high in black marker or painted images, while the crowd cheers in decibels for their vote. Second, the entertainment value of the event is what turns the crowd into a fan base. In conjunction with DJs, voting power and time pressure, comes also the thrill of watching freestyle artwork unfold before one’s eyes.

FANTASTICK PATRICK

The Fantastick Patrick show is an explosion of comedy and incredible tricks. The show is great for any age group that likes to have fun and offers juggling swords, fire, balls and clubs; musical numbers; plate spinning; and a 10-foot unicycle finale for the whole family.

BILL ROBISON

For more than 25 years, Bill Robison has charmed audiences young and old around the world with his unique and masterful style of physical comedy. Using his rubber-like face, elastic body and limitless energy, he transports audiences to a zany, unpredictable and hilarious world. His performances are a synthesis of outlandish comedy, a penchant for the absurd and a reckless sense of abandon.

 

Des Moines Arts Festival ® History

The Des Moines Arts Festival® traces its beginnings to 1958 when the Des Moines Art Center hosted its inaugural Art in the Park on the grounds of Des Moines’ fine art museum.  In 1997, with the advent of revitalized downtown urban energy, momentum grew to reinvigorate the 40-year-old event.  Armed with a new name and a new location, the 1998 Des Moines Arts Festival splashed onto the downtown bridges that span the Des Moines River, showcasing the nation’s premiere artists and creating an opportunity for people of all ages to embrace the arts.

The first Art in the Park attracted little more than a few hundred people. Nearly five decades later, the Festival has established itself as the signature arts and culture event in Iowa and one of the most prestigious and admired festivals in the world. With an annual attendance exceeding 200,000 people since moving downtown in 1998, the Festival has welcomed more than 2.1 million visitors.

Early in the Festival’s growth, it was determined that the exhibiting artists would drive the focus of the show. As a juried art fair, the Festival developed strong relationships with recognized organizations like the National Association of Independent Artists and International Festivals and Events Association. These relationships assisted in developing the artist program, which is now one of the strongest in the nation.

The relationship with Des Moines Art Center continues today with a portion of the proceeds from the Festival supporting the city’s art center.  Its leadership serves on the Festival’s board and their presence during the Festival contributes to its overall legitimacy.

In 2000, the Membership and Art Gift Certificate programs were created to strengthen the Festival’s emphasis on art. Two years later, Nurturing a Student’s Vision (NSV) was developed to encourage children in their passion for the arts. The program has since blossomed to include more than 80 metro schools and over 300 kids and their artwork. NSV continues as Student Art Exhibitions (SAEs) throughout the year with artwork displayed at downtown Des Moines’ Central Library. Participating students are honored by the Des Moines Art Center with a family membership and a certificate of achievement.

Beginning in 2002, participating artists were asked to demonstrate their craft during the Festival.

In 2003, the Festival reached new artists in the state of Iowa through the Emerging Iowa Artists program. This unique program provides an opportunity for residents of Iowa who are enrolled at any institute of higher education across the nation to display and sell their artwork during the Festival. The artists are juried along with the professional artists, but are not charged fees to either jury or participate.

Answering the call from Des Moines’ growing diverse population, the Festival featured a Global Performing Arts Stage in 2004. Along with two other stages providing music entertainment throughout the Festival, the Global Performing Arts Stage was dedicated to a variety of entertainment from music to dance to gardening lectures.

The 2006 Festival brought about the most significant change since 1998 with a new site and new leadership. Since access to the traditional Festival site on the downtown bridges would be under construction, the Festival would need a new location. Eight blocks west of the site, construction was concluding on the new David Chipperfield-designed library and the John and Mary Pappajohn Higher Education Center. Surrounding these two marvelous buildings was Phase One of Western Gateway Park. In this all-new green space in the downtown community, the Festival found its new home.  In March of 2006, the Festival recruited seasoned festival and event executive Stephen King to Des Moines as its new executive director.

In 2006, the Festival was awarded the Bronze Grand Pinnacle Award from the International Festivals & Events Association, along with eight Pinnacle Awards for achievements in marketing, merchandise, and programming.

The Festival celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2007 with a special performance by The Joffrey Ballet and several new initiatives. Interactive art took a front seat with the GuideOne Insurance Interactive Mural. The collective hand of the community created two billboard-sized replicas of Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night and Irises. The performing arts were also highlighted with live street theatre roaming the Festival site throughout the weekend. We even celebrated the Festival load-in with LIVE! Load-In Thursday at Blues on Grand! All of this combined with new live music, visual artists, arts activities and more, made the Festival’s 10th anniversary something to remember.

In 2008, the Festival added the Interrobang Film Festival to its roster of art-centric activities to celebrate the art of film. The juried art fair expanded to include 175 professional visual artists. Two new GuideOne Insurance Interactive Murals created of The Hour of Tea by Frederick Carl Frieseke and Autumn, New Hampshire by Maurice Prendergast.  And the 2008 Festival went green by beginning a reduce, reuse and recycle program. The 2008 event was also named the No. 5 Top Art Fair and Festival in the nation by AmericanStyle Magazine.

In 2009, more than 255,000 people came to the Western Gateway Park to enjoy the Festival.  Along with our line-up of professional and emerging artists, we embraced the art of performing and brought in national singer/songwriter, Gavin DeGraw in partnership with the Hy-Vee Triathlon. We continued to look at ways to expand the Festival and in 2009 began to embrace the art of being "green." The Festival put in place an expanded recycling program in an effort to make the Festival the greenest its been with the recycling of paper, aluminum and plastic as well as using all serving ware made of recyclable materials including cups made out of corn.

One last addition to 2009 was the presence of the "Blitz Build" in conjunction with Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity. The 1,100 square foot home was hauled in for the Festival where people could contribute for a day, an hour or any amount of time to display their art of giving to others. The exterior of the house was successfully completed and hauled offsite Sunday for an area Des Moines family to enjoy.

2010 proved to be another successful year for the Festival with an attendance of 235,000 despite the extreme heat and damaging overnight storms. With over 1,300 artists applying the jury had the difficult duty of selecting only 185 of the top professional artists throughout the country. Alongside the artists, this was the first year the Festival was able to incorporate the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park. It served as the centerpiece for the grounds of the Festival and patrons were invited to walk through and experience the park. The Des Moines Art Center went one step further and developed many activities within Sculpture Park Central. Docent lead tours were available for all along with kids’ activities including creating their own sculptures and sketch books.

The Festival became a bit more “techy” for 2010 with the development of an iPhone app. This on-the-go piece provided artist information, activity schedules entertainment and more. This app will become a staple for the Festival and will hopefully grow into a wider reach to apply to additional smart phones.

The Festival also continued its commitment of “going green” and implemented F. A. D. with the help of local artists and official sponsor, Hy-Vee. Six local artists were asked to create recycling kiosks out of found, applied and donated objects. The end results were pieces of artwork that served a function of recycling for all materials on the Festival grounds. The 2010 entertainment grew throughout the three spaces: U.S. Cellular Stage, GuideOne Performing Arts Stage and the Jazz & Wine Pavilion presented by Meredith. All three spaces had continuous entertainment and the U. S. Cellular Stage kicked off the weekend with American Idol contestant Katelyn Epperly Friday night. The GuideOne Performing Arts Stage had an eclectic mix of comedy, poetry, theatre, and dance while the Jazz & Wine Pavilion swept patrons away with smooth jazz from various local groups, including local favorite, Max Wellman.

2011 marked a more aggressive approach to the Festival's green program by instituting a number of policies requiring participating vendors to engage.  Communications went electronic,

water stations replaced water bottles effectively eliminating thousands of disposable bottles, beverages were sold in compostable cups made from corn-based materials; all generators moved to a biodiesel blend; and all vinyl banners were recycled to bags that were sold in 2012 as part of the Festival's merchandise program. Additionally, the Festival partnered with Habitat for Humanity for its second Blitz Build. The Interactive Sculpture Project took on new dimensions with a 30 foot by 25 foot inverted ice cream cone

2012 marked the Festival's 15th Anniversary.  An all-Iowa line-up of live music celebrated on Friday night of the Festival with the return of perennial Des Moines favorite, The Nadas.  The home grown talent included Thankful Dirt, Rebel Creek, James Biehn, and Bonnie Finken.  The Festival's interactive activity joined forces with The Principal Financial Group to create a giant mural for Paint the Skywalk.  Emerging Iowa artist Abby Butson's work was feature in the 10'x13' mural that was permanently installed in The Partnership Building's Skywalk following the Festival.

2013 was a year introducing new partnerships.  The Civic Music Association partnered with the Festival and Pavilion sponsor, Meredith Corporation, to host the Jazz and Wine Pavilion.  The Pavilion introduced new wines from partner Gateway Market.  A new approach to the GuideOne Performing Arts Stage resulted in nationally celebrated comedic performer Roberto the MagnificentRegister Media introduced its popular Where at the Festival to Festival guests. The winner received a new iPad.  Habitat for Humanity returned to the Festival with its third Blitz Build.  The art of craft beer was introduced to the 2013 Festival with the Iowa Craft Beer Tent.  Craft beers from 13 breweries were available throughout the weekend.

2014 proved to be another successful year with attendance nearing 175,000 despite heavy rains that caused the Festival to close for several hours.  Guests interacted with one of the art world’s most famous paintings. Sunday on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges-Pierre Seurat came to life over the three-day festival.  The 2014 Festival marked a resurgence of activity in the relaxed and shaded atmosphere of Jazz & Wine Pavilion by Meredith.  A refreshing variety of music from local and regional artists was presented on the Civic Music Association StageRegister Media sponsored a Where at the Festival contest.  Much like a scavenger hunt, guests were invited to pickup an entry form, search through the 195 visiting visual artists, identify the images and win prizes.  More than 100 people participated in the contest. With the goal to further engage with guests, the Festival introduced the all-new interactive media zones.  These interactive media zones were hosted by media partners WHO-HD News Channel 13, Clear Channel Media + Communications and Des Moines Radio Group, featured boosted Wi-Fi provided by CenturyLink, smartphone charging stations and social media streaming powered by TINT.  Saturday was capped off with a fireworks celebration visible from anywhere onsite! 

In 2015, more than 255,000 people came to the Western Gateway Park to enjoy the Festival.

“Birds of a Feather,” was commissioned for Metro Arts Alliance’s 40th anniversary and painted with help from thousands of visitors at the Festival. The public also created hundreds of dove-sized bird kites out of repurposed vinyl, which fly behind the “big bird” like a jet trail. Birds of a Feather was installed in the fall at the Des Moines International Airport.  Along with our world-class line-up of professional and emerging artists, we continue to embrace the art of performing and brought in Mat Kerney on Friday and Eddie Money on Saturday.  In addition, we partnered with Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity "Blitz Build.  The home was hauled in for the Festival where people could contribute for a day, an hour or any amount of time to display their art of giving to others. The exterior of the house was successfully completed and hauled offsite Sunday for an area Des Moines family to enjoy.

2016 packed in another great weekend of visual art, music, culinary art, film, performing arts and interacting arts. Athene USA sponsored a laser and LED light show and the popular 90s group Gin Blossoms and classic rock legends Grand Funk Railroad headlined the Hy-Vee Main Stage Friday and Saturday evening. In addition, the Acoustic Stage by Meredith Corporation was introduced, which covered a wide range of music styles form folk and pop to blues and jazz. The Festival also welcomed BOOM ART!, an interactive mural project suspended 30 feet high from the all-new, all-electric MidAmerican Energy bucket truck. It was with great excitement that a new annual award named for the late G. David Hurd was revealed at the Preview Celebration for the 2016 Festival and local artist Larassa Kabel received the first-ever G. David Hurd Innovator in the Arts award.

 

Des Moines Arts Festival ® Awards & Recognition

Over the years, the Des Moines Arts Festival® has been recognized by a number of associations and trade magazines making it the most celebrated event in Iowa. No awards have been more significant to the emergence of the Festival on the international stage as the Grand Pinnacle Award and over 120 Pinnacle Awards by the International Festivals & Events Association over the past seven years for marketing, merchandising and programming

2016 Awards

  • Gold Grand Pinnacle Award reflecting the "best festival in the world" by the
  • International Festivals & Events Association.
  • Winner of 25 Pinnacle Awards from the International Festivals and Events
  • Association.
  • Named 2016 Best Cultural Attraction by the Des Moines Business Record for the tenth consecutive year

2015 Awards

  • Gold Grand Pinnacle Award reflecting the "best festival in the world" by the
  • International Festivals & Events Association.
  • Winner of 21 Pinnacle Awards from the International Festivals and Events
  • Association.
  • Named 2015 Best Cultural Attraction by the Des Moines Business Record
  • Best Annual Event from CityView Best of Des Moines Annual Reader's Poll
  • Best Community Festival from CityView Best of Des Moines Annual Reader’s Poll
  • Best Small Arts Festival by Fodor’s Travel

2014 Awards

  • Gold Grand Pinnacle Award reflecting the "best festival in the world" by the
  • International Festivals & Events Association.
  • Winner of 21 Pinnacle Awards from the International Festivals and Events
  • Association.
  • Named 2014 Best Cultural Attraction by the Des Moines Business Record
  • Best Annual Event from CityView Best of Des Moines Annual Reader's Poll

2013 Awards

  • Silver Grand Pinnacle Award reflecting the "best festival in the world" by the International Festivals & Events Association.
  • Winner of 32 Pinnacle Awards from the International Festivals and Events Association.
  • Named 2013 Best Cultural Attraction by the Des Moines Business Record
  • Best Annual Event from CityView Best of Des Moines Annual Reader's Poll          

2012 Awards                                                                      

  • Bronze Grand Pinnacle Award reflecting the "best festival in the world" by the International Festivals & Events Association.
  • Winner of 25 Pinnacle Awards from the International Festivals and Events Association.
  • The Encore Award from Bravo Greater Des Moines.
  • Named 2012 Best Cultural Attraction by the Des Moines Business Record
  • Best Annual Event from CityView Best of Des Moines Annual Reader's Poll          

2011 Awards

  • Bronze Grand Pinnacle Award reflecting the "best festival in the world" by the International Festivals & Events Association.
  • Winner of 19 Pinnacle Awards from the International Festivals & Events Association.
  • Named 2011 Best Cultural Attraction in Des Moines by the Des Moines Business Record.

2010 Awards

  • Gold Grand Pinnacle Award reflecting the "best festival in the world" by the International Festivals & Events Association.
  • Winner of 21 Pinnacle Awards from the International Festivals & Events Association.      
  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame by the National Association of Independent Artists.
  • Named 2010 Best Cultural Event in Des Moines by the Des Moines Business Record.
  • 2010 Top 10 Art Fair & Festival by AmericanStyle Magazine.
  • Hometown Hero Award from Greater Des Moines Convention & Visitors Bureau.

2009 Awards

  • Silver Grand Pinnacle Award from the International Festivals & Events Association.
  • Winner of 22 Pinnacle Awards from the International Festivals & Events Association.
  • Named 2009 Best Cultural Event in Des Moines by the Des Moines Business Record.
  • 2009 Top 10 Art Fair & Festival by AmericanStyle Magazine.

2008 Awards

  • Winner of 17 Pinnacle Awards from the International Festivals & Events Association.
  • Named 2008 Best Cultural Event in Des Moines by the Des Moines Business Record.
  • 2008 Top 10 Art Fair & Festival by AmericanStyle Magazine (No. 10).

2007 Awards

  • Bronze Grand Pinnacle Award from the International Festivals & Events Association.
  • Winner 17 Pinnacle Awards from the International Festival & Events Association.
  • Named Best Cultural Attraction of 2007 by Des Moines' Business Record.
  • Named one of the Top 100 Events in North America for 2007 by The American Bus Association (ABA).

2006 Awards

  • Bronze Grand Pinnacle Award from the International Festivals & Events Association.
  • Winner of eight Pinnacle Awards from the International Festival & Events Association.
  • Ranked 25th among 300 art festivals in artist sales by the 2006 ArtFair SourceBook.

Other Notable Achievements

  • Winner of four National Association of Independent Artist (NAIA) Artist Choice Awards.
  • Received the 2004 Tourism and the Arts Award at the annual Iowa Tourism Conference.
  • 2004 winner of 11 Pinnacle Awards from the International Festival & Events Association.
  • 2003 winner of 11 Pinnacle Awards from the International Festival & Events Association.
  • 2002 winner of two Pinnacle Awards from the International Festival & Events Association.
  • Named the 2001 Iowa Tourism Event of the Year by the Iowa Division of Tourism.
  • Named Best Arts Show by Cityview.


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