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Des Moines Art Center announces Big Hair Ball 2017 Salon Call for Entry

Posted on Friday, September 23, 2016

For Immediate Release
Contact: Barbara Briggie-Smith
Tel: 515.271.0343

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Des Moines Art Center Big Hair Ball 2017 Salon Call for Entry 

DES MOINES, IOWA (September 2016) – The Art Center and its member affiliate group, Art Noir, are proud to announce the 8th installment of the Des Moines Art Center’s Big Hair Ball. The 2017 theme will be Alchemy, inspired by the upcoming exhibition Alchemy: Transformations in Gold, on view February 11 – May 5, 2017.

Big Hair Ball is an unforgettable evening of avant garde fashion and entertainment that celebrates hair as a form of contemporary self-expression. In 2017, the event will once again include a salon runway show, featuring modeled hair of all shapes and styles. Approximately 650 people attended the event in 2015. The 2017 Big Hair Ball will be held on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at the Des Moines Art Center, 4700 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa.

In preparation for the Ball, Iowa-based salons and independent stylists are invited to submit a proposal for an individual runway program. Runway programs should be choreographed and include video, music, and design elements to last from 2-5 minutes. Up to eight salons will be selected to participate, and approximately 2-3 independent stylists will be featured in the independent showcase. 

Theme:  Alchemy


A seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination. Revealing something precious from the ordinary.

The Medieval forerunner of chemistry, based on the supposed transformation of matter. It was concerned particularly with attempts to convert base metals into gold or to find a universal elixir. Synonyms: chemistry; magic; “immortality through alchemy.” The term is often limited to descriptions of European alchemy, but similar practices existed in the Far East, on the Indian subcontinent, and in the Muslim world.


  • Transforming the ordinary into something precious
  • Gold, metallics, metals, stone
  • Art, ornamentation, luxury, rarity
  • Jagged, harsh, craggy, smooth, shiny, fluid
  • Magic, mythology
  • Fascination, illusion
  • Technology, science, philosophy, history, culture

This event will focus on both hair and fashion. Participants are asked to consider using non-traditional elements when creating looks.

Participants are also asked to use the theme and inspirational Pinterest board(s) as a brainstorming tool and starting point when designing their individual salon runway show. We are seeking and welcome any and all unexpected and creative ideas.


Entries shall be original by the salon and/or stylists submitting. No reproductions or plagiarized work will be accepted. All entries will be considered and judged on merit if they meet the following requirements:

  1. Salon/stylist must be located in Iowa
  2. Salon theme/idea must be original in nature and comply with the Big Hair Ball theme of 2017
  3. Salon representatives must be available to tape “bumper videos” at a yet-to-be-determined date in 2017; salons and all models must be available for rehearsal the evening of May 12, 2017 for approximately 2-3 hours as well as most of the afternoon and evening the day of the event, May 13, 2017
  4. Night of event, all participants must be 21+

Rules and guidelines

  1. Hairpieces should not exceed ten pounds or cause extreme discomfort to the model
  2. Dimensions of costume, props, and hair cannot exceed 38” in width and 78” in height when worn by the model on the runway
  3. All props must be cleared by the show director in advance or they will NOT be permitted on the runway
  4. Models must be able to see and move down the runway in a safe manner. Eyes cannot be covered; high heels should not be excessively high. Skateboards, roller skates, scooters, etc. will not be permitted
  5. No nudity. Obscene objects, movements, or language will not be permitted on the runway or in video and/or music submissions
  6. No loose glitter
  7. No live animals

Download Entry Requirements

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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