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Des Moines Art Center receives 2017 Art Conservation Project Grant from Bank of America

Posted on Wednesday, November 1, 2017

For Immediate Release
Contact: Barbara Briggie-Smith
Tel: 515.271.0343
Email: bbsmith@desmoinesartcenter.org

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Des Moines Art Center Named as 2017 Art Conservation Project Grant Recipient by Bank of America

DES MOINES, IOWA (November 2017) – The Des Moines Art Center received a 2017 Bank of America Art Conservation Project grant for Untitled (Three Dancing Figures, version C) by Keith Haring (American, 1958 – 1990). The grant support restored the sculpture to its original condition. As a social activist and artist, Haring focused on creating an accessible and public form of art that could be enjoyed and understood universally. He underwent traditional artist training, but shunned conventional techniques and instead found inspiration in graffiti, animation, and the chaos of New York City. The human figure, reduced to basic lines and bright colors, was his primary subject and was often portrayed brimming with energy and dancing.

While the sculpture was structurally sound, the quality of the paint coating had diminished significantly from years of outdoor, public display. The vibrant paint layer is not only an integral aesthetic component of the artwork, it also protects the metal surface beneath from corrosion, compromising both the artist’s intent and structural integrity of the work. A vital part of what makes the Pappajohn Sculpture Park an outstanding experience and educational resource,
the conservation of Untitled (Three Dancing Figures, version C) was an urgent priority for the
Art Center.

“The staff and board of the Des Moines Art Center, indeed the entire Des Moines community, are grateful for Bank of America’s support of our conservation efforts in the Pappajohn Sculpture Park. The conservation of Keith Haring’s Untitled (Three Dancing Figures, version C) is now complete, and the work looks like new. Many thousands of visitors to the park will be able to continue to engage with the sculpture for years to come,” said Jeff Fleming, director, Des Moines Art Center.

“Bank of America’s support was crucial to the conservation of the Keith Haring sculpture in the Pappajohn Sculpture Park. We’re thrilled the community and visitors from all over the globe will be able to enjoy this important component of the park and of downtown Des Moines,” added
Jim Wallace, Retired CEO, Guide One Insurance; president, Des Moines Art Center Board of Trustees.

“The Art Conservation Project provides grants to nonprofit cultural institutions around the globe to conserve historically or culturally significant works of art that are in danger of degeneration,” said Heidi Parkhurst, Iowa President of Bank of America. “Our partnership with the Des Moines
Art Center enables us to deliver on our mutually shared vision that the arts are for everyone.”

More than 20,000 people engage in tours at the Art Center and Pappajohn Sculpture Park each year. With free admission at both locations, more than 450,000 visitors are attracted to the
Art Center and the park annually. The Haring sculpture, with its bright color and whimsical nature, is a favorite in the community.

The Bank of America Art Conservation Project provides grant funding to nonprofit cultural institutions throughout the world to conserve historically or culturally significant works of art that are in danger of deterioration. Since the Art Conservation Project began in 2010, Bank of America has provided grants for more than 120 projects in 30 countries on six continents to conserve paintings, sculptures, archaeological and architectural pieces that are critically important to cultural heritage and the history of art.

Twenty-one major art restoration projects across six countries and in 13 U.S. cities are receiving grant funding through the 2017 Bank of America Art Conservation Project. A selection of works in the U.S. benefiting from the 2017 grants includes “The Assumption of the Virgin” (1577-1579) by El Greco at The Art Institute of Chicago; the Farnese Sarcophagus (circa 225 C.E.), a 7500-pound Roman Severan period piece at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston; 21 works by Romare Bearden and other African American artists, at The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; the Mexican Cultural Institute’s Roberto Cueva del Río mural installed on three floors of the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C.; and five paintings by Wayne Thiebaud at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California.

For full descriptions of the 2017 projects and to view images of the artwork, please click here to download the “Bank of America Art Conservation Project 2017 Recipients” brochure.

The Art Conservation Project is a key element of Bank of America’s program of arts support worldwide, and part of the company’s environmental, social and governance program. The support Bank of America provides for the arts is global in scope and diverse, spanning both the visual and performing arts. The program includes loans of its private art collection to museums at no cost, sponsorships, and grants to arts organizations for arts education, as well as the preservation of cultural treasures. For more information, please visit the Art Conservation Project website.

About the Des Moines Art Center

Recognized by international art critics as a world-class museum in the heart of the Midwest, the Des Moines Art Center has amassed an important collection with a major emphasis on contemporary art. The collection’s overriding principle is a representation of artists from the 19th century to the present, each through a seminal work. This accounts for an impressive collection that ranges from Edward Hopper’s Automat to Jasper Johns’ Tennyson, Henri Matisse’s Woman in White, Georgia O’Keeffe’s From the Lake No. 1, Francis Bacon’s Study after Velásquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X, Bill Viola’s Ascension, and Cecily Brown’s Half-Bind.

The Art Center’s physical complex marries with the collection for a totally integrated experience. The collection is housed in three major buildings, each designed by a world-renowned architect – Eliel Saarinen, I. M. Pei, and Richard Meier. With the exception of special events, admission to the museum is free.

In September 2009, the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park opened in Des Moines’ Western Gateway Park. Philanthropists John and Mary Pappajohn have provided funding for and donated 28 sculptures by internationally acclaimed contemporary artists to the Des Moines Art Center. The collection of sculptures by such artists as Louise Bourgeois, Deborah Butterfield, Willem de Kooning, Olafur Eliasson, Keith Haring, Ellsworth Kelly, Jaume Plensa, Richard Serra, Joel Shapiro, and Mark di Suvero, is the most significant donation of artwork to the Art Center in a single gift in the museum’s history. The Pappajohn Sculpture Park was created in collaboration with the Pappajohns, the City of Des Moines, the Des Moines Art Center, and numerous corporate and private donors.

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