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Des Moines Art Center announces new positioning statement

Posted on Friday, February 15, 2019

For Immediate Release
Contact: Barbara Briggie-Smith or Christine Crawford
Tel: 515.271.0343 or 515.271.0344
Email: or

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Des Moines Art Center announces new positioning statement

DES MOINES, IOWA (February 2019) – 

Staff at the Des Moines Art Center began work on a positioning statement several months ago that would concisely communicate the commitment we have to the multiple communities we serve, locally and globally. This statement will not alter our overall mission — to engage multiple audiences through Modern and contemporary art — but will expand upon it, focusing our efforts on presenting and fostering the transformative capabilities of art. Further, the statement emphasizes and reinforces our desire to be an inclusive and welcoming institution to all; guides us to be relevant in our increasingly global interactions; and functions as a mirror of our diverse world. The Board of Trustees has approved the statement and we are proud to announce it. We endeavor that it will inform the critical work we do, aligning with and supporting the exhibitions and programming we present through the art of our time.

The Des Moines Art Center believes in the power of art to inspire personal, political, and social transformation.

We commit to exhibit and explore thought-provoking modern and contemporary art.

We connect people and art by offering opportunities for feeling, imagining, dreaming, and creating. We promote curiosity and embrace critical and empathetic thinking with a spirit of openness. We strive to be a welcoming and equitable cultural resource.

This effort to ensure access to art for everyone has been a core tenet of the museum since its founding. Admission is always free for all.

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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