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Community invited to participate in Family Fiesta as part of the Des Moines Art Center exhibition Justin Favela: Central American


Community members are invited to the front lawn of the Des Moines Art Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Aug. 21 for Family Fiesta, a component of artist Justin Favela’s exhibition Central American. The exhibition opened at the Art Center on July 17.

Favela’s art is inspired by Latinx culture, art history and food rendered in layer upon layer of vibrant strips of paper. His technique recalls piñatas and party decorations — ephemeral forms that signify joy and celebration.

“I like making fun and colorful work that is accessible as a way to push the boundaries of the materials I use and to also bate the audience with beauty. I think that comes from my experience growing up in Las Vegas where it is all about the facade. There is always a deeper meaning behind my work if you are willing to look past the fluff,” Favela said.

The exhibition’s subtitle, Central American, contains multiple meanings, suggesting the artist’s heritage, Iowa’s place in the middle of America and the strong presence of Central Americans in the state and within the agricultural industry upon which the economy depends.

The Family Fiesta includes family-friendly activities (paper plant and flower making, Loteria, pinatas, a custom lowrider show and more), food and beverage from El Michoacano, El Salvador Del Mundo and Veggie Thumper, tunes mixed by DJ Lizz and visits to the museum. Several members of Favela’s own family will also be in attendance.

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Justin Favela: Central American is organized by Des Moines Art Center Curatorial Manager Laura Burkhalter. The exhibition will run through Winter 2021/22.

“Justin’s work is so joyful and such a visual delight. I think this exhibition will be a favorite with the community, and I can’t wait for them to see what Justin has made for us,” Burkhalter said. “I know “summer fun” and museums are not always words used together, but this show may change that perception.”

Favela will also host a virtual artist lecture, including an illustrated presentation of his work and takeaway snacks, at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 19. More information on both events is available at

Justin Favela: Central American is supported by National Endowment for the Arts, Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, ASK Studio and Applied Art & Technology.

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