Public art water projects take shape in West Des Moines
Multiple new artworks are now in place in West Des Moines as part of the city’s Public Art Advisory Commission’s Water Quality Community Service project. The permanent project was installed in 2019, with more slated for later in 2020. Forecast managed artist selection and provided project management, and we are excited to watch these projects unfold!
Forecast was hired by the City of West Des Moines to facilitate a three-part project around water awareness, watersheds, and how daily actions can have an affect on the water around us. The three parts of the project are a permanent artwork, a temporary piece, and a community engaged project. Forecast facilitated the selection of the artist for the permanent work, assisted with locational analysis, project management, and installation, and helped strategize the temporary and community engaged projects.
The Public Art Advisory Commission started this project with a community service focus, and utilized water as a theme to provide information to the residents of West Des Moines about the water around them. Forecast helped find artists working in that realm, and focused the site for the permanent artwork in Raccoon River Park, where there are multiple forms of water present in West Des Moines: a river, a man-made lake, annual flooding, water well locations and more, all in one location.
Permanent Installation: Even Water
Even Water is the project’s commissioned permanent piece, by California artist Cliff Garten. Sited in West Des Moines’s Raccoon River Park, Even Water comprises eight individual sculptures and explores the history of Blue Heron Lake and the infrastructure in the park. Made of mirror polished stainless steel and bronze and incorporating poetry as well as visual art, it is one part of the Public Art Advisory Commission’s Water Quality Community Service project. The eight individual sculptures are entitled, The Water Table, The Oxbow, The Water Balance, The Well, and A Changing Lake (series, including four upright sculptures chronicling the changing lake: The Shape of Blue Heron Lake 1955, The Shape of Blue Heron Lake 1967, The Shape of Blue Heron Lake 1974, and The Shape of Blue Heron Lake 1998).
Next Phases: Temporary and Community-sourced artwork
While other components of the water quality project have not taken place yet, they are both planned to happen in the future; timing is uncertain due to the current situation.
Two more pieces are slated for later this year, both by artist Bounnak Thammavong of Kingston, Illinois: Aqua Strata will be a community sourced piece, and Blossoms on the Water will be a temporary work unveiled later in the summer.
Visit the the city’s web page for more detail on the project, view an informational brochure on the artwork, and download a children’s educational activity book
View the Public Art Advisory Commission’s informational brochure for more pictures, sculpture descriptions, an artist bio, and the artist poetry.
Download an educational activity book for children to learn more about Even Water, public art, and how they can improve water quality.
The commission wants every person who participates in and experiences Even Water to be enlightened, empowered, and proud to live in West Des Moines.
In support of Forecast’s beliefs in environmentally sustainable practices and the just distribution of privilege, with this project we were able to be a part of initiating community conversations about regional water sources and help make these systems visible.
Take a Virtual Tour
Take a tour of Even Water with Marnie Strate, the Arts Culture and Enrichment Coordinator for WDM Parks and Recreation.
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