Attendees will celebrate with Favela’s family by participating in games, music, cuisine and pinata time on August 21

For Immediate Release
Contact: Jordan Powers
Tel: 630.470.5136 (m)


DES MOINES, IA (August 2021) – Community members are invited to the front lawn of the Des Moines Art Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on August 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.

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 August 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.

For further information, interviews/quotes or exhibition images, please contact Director of External Affairs Jordan Powers at 630.470.5136 or

About the Des Moines Art Center + John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park
Recognized by international art critics as a world-class museum in the heart of the Midwest, the Des Moines Art Center, an AAM-accredited institution, has amassed an important collection of art from the 19th century to the present, with a major emphasis on contemporary art. Focused on quality and global in scope, it includes major works by Henry Ossawa Tanner, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Francis Bacon, Andy Goldsworthy, Henri Matisse, Wangechi Mutu, Ai Wei Wei and Kara Walker, among hundreds of others. The collection is housed in three major buildings, each designed by a 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 provided funding for and donated 31 sculptures by internationally acclaimed contemporary artists to the Des Moines Art Center. The collection of sculptures by such artists as Martin Puryear, Louise Bourgeois, Deborah Butterfield, Willem de Kooning, Mark di Suvero, Olafur Eliasson, Keith Haring, Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, Yayoi Kusama, Jaume Plensa, Richard Serra and Joel Shapiro is the most significant donation of artwork to the Art Center in a single gift in the museum’s history. The Pappajohn Sculpture Park is a collaboration of the Pappajohns, the City of Des Moines, the Des Moines Art Center and numerous corporate and private donors.

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