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Des Moines Arts Festival® promises banner year for 20th celebration


Des Moines, IA  June 13, 2017 — The phrase “go where it takes you” holds an entirely new meaning for the 20th celebration of the Des Moines Arts Festival® which will take place in Western Gateway Park June 23-25. Now just days away, the much anticipated festival dubbed “the best in the world” three consecutive years by the International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) has packed a weekend full of innovative visual art, music, film and performing and interactive arts that promise to attract, excite and fascinate.

“Our goal every year is to showcase our beautiful city while at the same time fostering an appreciation for art in all disciplines, and with our twentieth celebration, we’ve pulled out the stops. We work hard to inspire and engage our audience, regardless of what type of art they’re interested in,” said Stephen King, executive director of the Des Moines Festival. “The Festival can deliver whatever you’re looking for. If it’s world-class art, great music, or thought-provoking film, it’s here in Des Moines!”

The 2017 Festival proudly features 178 of the top professional artists representing 29 states and the countries of Argentina and Canada as well as 11 Emerging Iowa Artists. Guests have the unique opportunity to interact with the artists and celebrate a shared passion for art or go where it takes them and discover something entirely new.


In addition to the paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, mixed media pieces and more, guests will have the opportunity to experience the following:

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Live music –Enjoy Indie pop sensation Saint Motel and rock band Big Head Todd and the Monsters headlining Friday and Saturday, respectively on the Hy-Vee Main Stage. The 2017 Acoustic Stage presented by Meredith Corporation welcomes a variety of musicians to the stage including Minneapolis based indie-roots band The Pines and American folk singer-songwriter Joe Purdy.

Performing Arts—These acts promise to delight the entire family.

eVenti Verticali’s “WANTED”: You have to see this spectacular vertical dance act sponsored by a leading retirement services company, Athene, to believe it. The Italian production company’s visual comedy show features video projections behind two artists suspended by rope while they play “cops and robbers” on a vertical stage. Follow this link to discover the group’s unusual type of aerial theater:

Secret Walls: The “Fight Club” of the art scene, inspired by Marvel comics and graffiti and presented by Wells Fargo. In this urban art competition artists go head-to-head for 90 minutes on a giant blank white wall and use only markers, paint and spray paint to create their piece. The winner is voted upon by two judges and a crowd vote using a decibel reader. To say it’s a one-of-a-kind experience is an understatement.

Physical comedian Bill Robison will use his rubber-like face, elastic body and limitless energy for a can’t-miss, zany, unpredictable and hilarious comedy act.

Los Angeles juggler Fantastic Patrick will offer a show full of juggling swords, fire, balls and clubs; musical numbers; plate spinning; and a 10-foot unicycle finale for the whole family. 

Interrobang Film Festival – This year’s highlights include 48 film screenings with Q&As on select films. We are proud to also announce the world premier of OUTED, the Des Moines-based web series that was partially funded by the Iowa Arts Council, The Barn Raisers (from Quad City-based filmmakers Kelly and Tammy Rundle) and the Palm d’Or nominated Lunch Time which recently premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in France. A full schedule can be found on the Interrobang website.

Interactive Art – There are activities for all ages and interests at this year’s Festival, and guests can get creative with hands-on art, music, dance and theater. Highlights include Boom Art! presented by MidAmerican Energy, newspaper pirate hats presented by The Des Moines Register, public art tours, Pinot’s Palette painting, and spin art. These activities can be found throughout the Festival at sponsor and vendor booths, and the Creative Zone.

Visit the Interactive Arts page on the Festival’s website for a full schedule of events.

Artists of future – Featuring student artwork from more than 100 local schools, guests can see budding artists at the Des Moines Art Center’s Student Art Exhibition (SAE) and the Visionary Artists Ceremony (11:30 a.m. on Saturday on the Hy-Vee Main Stage) presented by Hubbell Homes. SAE is a program that spotlights the creativity of children K-12 attending schools in central Iowa through a special exhibition on-site at the Festival and the six weeks after at the Des Moines Central Library. 

Culinary Arts – The Iowa Craft Beer Tent and Court Ave. Brewing Co. will feature the Festival’s specialty craft brews, plus other wines, beers and favorite beverages return to the Festival to enhance the celebration. More than 20 eclectic food vendors representing flavors from around the globe will heighten the experience and offer guests a taste of what they’re craving. Check the Des Moines Arts Festival Culinary Arts page for a full listing of all the choices to eat and drink.

But there’s more! For a full schedule of events for this year’s festival, and to plan your visit, go to Des Moines Arts Festival website.

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