Central Iowa will see a big boost in visitors and economic activity this weekend as 200,000 people are expected for the Des Moines Arts Festival. Executive director Stephen King says the internationally-ranked event continues to grow in size and popularity every year, now with a seven-figure economic impact.
King says: "We’re looking at about a million dollars, to local restaurants, store owners, hotels. It’s pretty significant in terms of the number of people that are here, the number of people that will be staying in the downtown, traveling into the downtown and, of course, spending their money here in the downtown." The festival features 155 professional artists from across the country, 24 "emerging" artists from Iowa and the work of 325 student artists from central Iowa.
King says the Des Moines event has won national and global fame. He says, "We are currently ranked 25th in the nation with an art fair sourcebook ranking, which is based entirely on artists’ sales." Last year’s fest also recently won a Bronze Grand Pinnacle Award from the International Festivals and Events Association for marketing, promotion and management. Only two other events won the award — they’re in Canada and Singapore.
The fest runs today through Sunday and King says it features almost every kind of artwork imaginable. He says "You name it. We have 14 categories of artwork from metalworks to wood to painting to ceramics, drawing, pastels. There’s certainly a wide range both of taste and price." While some matted photographs can be purchased for $25, other works of sculpture may approach $25,000. For more details, visit " www.desmoinesartsfestival.org ".