For Immediate Release
Contact: Amy Day
Tel: 515.271.0344 (o)
DES MOINES, IOWA (July 2023) – The Des Moines Art Center has been named a recipient of a grant from the Art Bridges Foundation to support The Belonging Project. The Belonging Project is a two-year initiative from the Des Moines Art Center created to bring immigrant and refugee organizations in Des Moines together to explore the concept of belonging through the power of art.
The Art Bridges Foundation focuses on expanding access to American Art through lending works from their collection and facilitating partnerships and educational opportunities for similar exchanges within cultural institutions throughout the country. The grant has helped facilitate the lending of two works: a film by Ana Mendieta, “Fundamento de Pal Monte: Silueta Series (Gunpowder Works)” (1980); and mixed media by Njideka Akunyili Crosby, “I Refuse to Be Invisible” (2010) from the Art Bridges collection. The works beautifully depict themes of heritage, displacement, and home, serving as inspiration for the project’s participants to explore their own unique stories and experiences.
Mia Buch, Museum Educator at the Des Moines Art Center, expressed her excitement about the project, saying, “By connecting members of our community with access to the Art Center and providing opportunities to share art’s impact in their lives, I hope for this program to inspire meaningful and creative connection.”
Through thematic museum tours and instructor-led workshops, students from immigrant and refugee organizations will have greater access to the museum. Students in the West Des Moines Public Schools’ Refugee and Immigrant Student Embassy (RISE) program are designing and leading the creation of a collaborative art project that involves visitors who attended Des Moines’ celebration of World Refugee Day in June and by students from other organizations participating in the program.
The resulting artwork will be prominently displayed at a public celebration scheduled for August 25, 2023, contributing to awareness building about the refugees and immigrants rebuilding their lives in central Iowa and further emphasizing the values of community engagement and artistic expression. For more information, visit www.desmoinesartcenter.org.
About Art Bridges
Art Bridges is the vision of philanthropist and arts patron Alice Walton. The mission of Art Bridges is to expand access to American art in all regions across the nation. Since 2017, Art Bridges has been creating and supporting programs that bring outstanding works of American art out of storage and into communities. Art Bridges partners with a growing network of nearly 220 museums of all sizes and locations to provide financial and strategic support for exhibition development, loans from the Art Bridges Collection, and programs designed to educate, inspire, and deepen engagement with local audiences. The Art Bridges Collection represents an expanding vision of American art from the 19th century to present day and encompasses multiple media and voices. For more information, visit www.artbridgesfoundation.org.
About the Des Moines Art Center
The Des Moines Art Center is a vibrant, AAM-accredited institution located in the capital city of Iowa that welcomes over 270,000 visitors annually from around the globe. Its historic campus consists of three buildings designed by major architects of 20th century — Eliel Saarinen, I. M. Pei, and Richard Meier — incorporated into the natural landscape of Greenwood Park. The Art Center is home to one of the strongest collections of 20th and 21st century art in the region, and it hosts a series of ground-breaking exhibitions and lectures each year featuring artists known regionally, nationally, and internationally. The experimental spirit of the art for which the Art Center cares for is reflected in its creative offerings including a celebrated education program that prioritizes access and collaboration, an art school with studio classes for all ages, and the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park, situated on 4.4 acres in downtown Des Moines. The Art Center is committed to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion, which are incorporated into every facet of its mission and identity.