For Immediate Release
Contact: Barbara Briggie-Smith or Jordan Powers
Tel: 515.745.9438 (m) or 630.470.5136 (m)
Email: or


DES MOINES, IOWA (JUNE 2020) – Weeks after closing physical doors to the museum and school in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Des Moines Art Center is planning to reopen to the community on Tuesday, July 7.

In planning for reopening, the health and well-being of visitors, members, students, and staff has been the top priority. The Art Center will be taking numerous steps to ensure the safety of its visitors and staff. They include:

Timed, ticketed entry. The Art Center will continue to offer free admission for all; however, tickets for entry will be required so that proper social distancing within the galleries can be maintained. To ensure visitors are able to enter the museum at their desired time, it is recommended that tickets are reserved online in advance. Reservations will be made available in the coming weeks at

Wayfinding. For the foreseeable future, there will be a designated path through the museum, designed to ensure visitors are able to access all galleries while maintaining social distancing guidelines. This path will be shared on the Art Center’s website in the coming weeks and reinforced during visits with on-site signage and graphics.

Cleanliness. Facilities teams are implementing an increased cleaning and sanitizing plan, especially in frequent contact areas and travel paths.

Masks. Art Center staff will be required to wear a mask at all times when outside individual offices. Visitors will be required to wear masks while in the Art Center.

A phased approach. While the Art Center galleries will be open to the public, for the safety of visitors and staff, all indoor, public programming is currently on hold until the fall. This includes docent-led tours. The Shop at the Art Center and Tangerine at the Art Center are finalizing phased reopening plans beginning in late summer.

When visitors return to the Art Center on July 7, they can expect to see a mix of familiar favorites and exciting newcomers from the Art Center’s permanent collections in the galleries. Director Jeff Fleming said he hopes it feels like “a welcome home.”

“We are thrilled to invite you back to your museum,” Fleming said. “Our team has worked tirelessly to ensure our visitors are returning to the safest environment possible, and I, for one, cannot wait to celebrate your permanent collections with you when we reopen our doors in July.”

The Art Center acknowledges that not all visitors will feel comfortable returning to the physical museum in July, and plans to continue offering virtual resources, including virtual tours, online summer camps and classes, and more ways to engage from wherever visitors prefer.

With the evolving nature of the coronavirus pandemic, the Art Center’s reopening plan may change at any time. Stay tuned to and the Art Center’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter channels for additional updates.

About the Des Moines Art Center

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 with a major emphasis on contemporary art. The collection’s overriding principle is a representation of artists from the 19th century to the present, each through a seminal work. This accounts for an impressive collection that ranges from Edward Hopper’s Automat to Jasper Johns’ Tennyson, Henri Matisse’s Woman in White, Georgia O’Keeffe’s From the Lake No. 1, Francis Bacon’s Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X, Bill Viola’s Ascension, and Cecily Brown’s Half-Bind.

The Art Center’s physical complex marries with the collection for a totally integrated experience. The collection is housed in three major buildings, each designed by a world-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 Ai Weiwei, Louise Bourgeois, Deborah Butterfield, Willem de Kooning, Mark di Suvero, Olafur Eliasson, Keith Haring, Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, Yayoi Kusama, Jaume Plensa, and 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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