One of the nation’s top ten arts festivals is entering its second day in Iowa’s largest city. The Des Moines Arts Festival is being held in the "high and dry" end of downtown, many blocks from any of the flooded rivers.
Stephen King, the fest’s executive director, is expecting up to a quarter-million people to attend over the three-day run, in addition to a whopper economic impact of as much as $2.5 million in spending from the artists, the sponsors, the vendors and the visitors. The festival is working with students in 90 central Iowa schools to show off their work, in addition to showcasing about two-dozen "emerging" artists, all students in Iowa colleges.
For the bulk of the show though, King says it’s professional artists, working in media including: painting, pastels, wood, ceramics, photography, glass, jewelry and metal. "We have 175 professional artists and those artists come from all over the country and were juried back in November from a pool of about 1200 applicants," King says.
There’s something for everyone’s eye — and for everyone’s wallet, he adds, as the prices typically will range from around $25 all the way up to $60,000. He says some visitors to the festival will hire the artists for private works, too. "If you like their work, you like their style, ask them about it," King says. "They do commission work and it doesn’t add zeroes to the price. If you see something that you like and it’s not quite the right color or maybe the right shape or something, we encourage our guests to talk to the artist because they’re more than happy to work with you."
One new feature this year is a film festival, focusing on the art of film-making with some 65 works that’ll be showing continuously. There are also two stages for live music and another stage for performing arts that will feature dance, music, theatre and comedy. The festival concludes tomorrow. For more information, visit the Des Moines Arts Festival website at www.desmoinesartsfestival.org .