Our Main Street
Created by Gail Chavenelle; Dubuque, IA
In 2017, Historic Valley Junction celebrated its 30th year as a Main Street Iowa community. The Public Arts Advisory Commission wanted to commemorate this occasion and celebrate this unique place through a public work of art. The Commission wants every person who experiences the artwork to gain an appreciation of Historic Valley Junction’s special anniversary, while experiencing togetherness on “Our Main Street”. The Commission wants residents and visitors to feel a sense of belonging, grounded in West Des Moines’ pride and heritage.”
Gail Chavenelle was selected as the artist for the " Our Main Street" public art project. Gail was asked by the Selection Committee to create a work of art that was colorful and eye-catching; playful and whimsical. Gail is the owner of Chavenelle Studio Metalworks in Dubuque, Iowa. For over 20 years, she has been creating artwork that can be found in corporate and public collections across the Midwest. Gail was selected for her ability to express feelings through her use of simple metal forms, not to mention her delightful personality.
On August, 23, 2018, the public was invited to celebrate the dedication of "Our Main Street" during the Valley Junction Farmer's Market's Fine Arts Night.
The three "Our Main Street" sculptures are located along 5th Street in Valley Junction.
You can download an informational brochure to see more pictures and learn more about "Our Main Street".
Created by Gail Simpson and Aris Georgiades; Stoughton, WI
In 2016, the West Des Moines Public Arts Advisory Commission selected their first commissioned artwork, titled "Surrounds". The artists', Gail Simpson and Aris Georgiades of Actual Size Artworks in Stoughton, WI, concept involved five sculptures that were placed at different locations along Jordan Creek Trail. These sculptures feature brightly painted polychrome cast aluminum animal replicas perched on the horizontal limbs of the vertical metal structures. The artists' goal was to have these replicas be animals that are native to the West Des Moines area. In the spring of 2016, the public was asked to cast their vote for the animals to be used in the sculptures. The animals chosen were the owl, fox, rabbit, hawk, squirrel, and beaver. The animals were then fabricated, and the sculptures were installed in the fall of 2016 at the five locations detailed below. The public was then asked to vote on animal names, based off of classic literary characters. On June 3, 2017, the WDM Public Arts Commission, City Council, and Parks and Recreation Department celebrated the grand opening of "Surrounds".
The five "Surrounds" sculptures are located along the Jordan Creek Trail between 1st St/63rd Ave and Jordan Creek Parkway.
View the informational brochure here for more pictures, animal names, and a sculpture location map
Created by Tim Adams; Webster City, IA
“Greek goddess of shooting stars, astrology, and prophetic dreams. The kinetic blue aster “bouquet” represents the nocturnal oracles and astrological wizardry of Asteria. The abstract rusted steel figure conveys her dark magic of necromancy (communicating with the dead) and foretelling the future.”
Asteria was one of thirteen sculptures featured in the 2017 Art on the Campus exhibit. Upon completion of the exhibit, the Public Arts Advisory Commission purchased Asteria and it became the third acquisition in the West Des Moines public art permanent collection. Asteria is located at the front entrance of Valley View Aquatic Center.
Jeff Boshart Community Project
Created by West Des Moines students and Jeff Boshart; Charleston, IL
Several Public Arts Advisory Commission members attended the Iowa Public Art Network Conference in Dubuque in the fall of 2014. One challenge taken away from the conference was how to involve youth when incorporating art into the community. Jeff Boshart was a presenter at the conference and after listening to his presentation and visiting with him, staff contacted him for some ideas and a proposal.
Boshart conducted a class in the fall of 2015 where students were asked to help create the design for the art piece. The group first created a small scale model of a sculpture out of balsa wood over the course of two days and then a larger steel tube replica sculpture was assembled by Jeff Boshart and his team. Students were encouraged to assist in the assembly. This was an opportunity for participants to become engaged in the actual design of a piece of public art. This art piece is located at the entrance of Holiday Park.
Created by Joseph Dehner; West Des Moines, IA
Joseph's inspiration for this sculpture revolved around the concept of the vibrations and movement throughout life.
Frequency was one of thirteen sculptures featured in the 2014 Art on the Campus exhibit. Upon completion of the exhibit, the Public Arts Advisory Commission purchased Frequency and it became the second acquisition in the West Des Moines public art permanent collection. Frequency is located near the front entrance of the West Des Moines Library where many patrons enjoy moving the vertical rods to create varying sound frequencies.
Circle of Life
Created by Hilde De Bruyne; Cumming, IA
Hilde was inspired by the lyrics from the song “The Circle of Life” by Elton John.
“In the circle of life
It's the wheel of fortune
It's the leap of faith
It's the band of hope
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle, the circle of life."
Circle of Life was one of 9 sculptures featured in the very first Art on the Campus exhibit in 2013. A private citizen purchased the piece and gifted it to the City of West Des Moines. The piece became the first acquisition in West Des Moines' public art permanent collection. Circle of Life is located behind West Des Moines City Hall.
Railroad Avenue Gateway Features
Created by Michael Lanning/Shive Hattery Inc.; Des Moines, IA
These four artistic panels welcome people as they drive into the Valley Junction historic district along Railroad Avenue. One side of each panel displays historically accurate phot form Valley Junction, while the other side offers a somewhat literal representation of the area's railroad history. The architectural design reflects elements common to railroads.
Raccoon River Park Nature Lodge Wall Tiles
Created by David Dahlquist; Des Moines, IA
These tiles were installed as an artistic enhancement to the Raccoon River Park Nature Lodge and represent the natural elements found within the park. The tile shown represents the predominate tree found on the site, the Cottonwood tree. There is also a second design that echoes the pattern of dried mud that results from the shifting levels of water in Blue Heron Lake.
Raccoon River Park Entrance Sculptures
Created by Tam Askman; Cheney, WA
Installed to greet visitors as they enter Raccoon River Park, these commissioned works of art were created by artist, Tom Askman. The fern-like sculptures represent the "rebirth" of the park from its origins as a sand and gravel mining operation in the last half of the 1900's.