For Immediate Release
Contact: Amy Day
Tel: 515.271.0344 (o)
515.612.0775 (c)

DES MOINES, IOWA (May 2024) – The Des Moines Art Center has received an Inspire Iowa Cultural Tourism Grant totaling $40,000. This grant will help the Art Center to create a multi-channel marketing campaign to elevate Iowa as an arts and cultural destination of choice. Support for this grant is provided by the Iowa Tourism Office and Iowa Arts Council, both part of the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

The Art Center was invited by the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston to serve as one of only a few nationally renowned museums to host the prestigious mid-career retrospective of the Dominican Republic-born, US-based artist, Firelei Báez. The artist’s self-titled exhibition is one of the country’s most popular and will be a rare opportunity to see many of her works, including seldom shown pieces from private collections, her signature large-scale paintings featuring exuberant color and incredible attention to detail, and two immersive installations likely to be crowd-favorites, given their social media appeal. As The Boston Globe recently wrote of the exhibition, which opened on April 4 in Boston, “Báez is one of the most captivating, eloquent, thoughtful, and materially gifted painters working today.”

With the Inspire Iowa grant, the Art Center will promote its 2025 exhibition of “Firelei Báez” to attract new cultural tourists to Iowa. Building upon current awareness of this exhibition, which was named a Top 12 Must-See Museum Show in 2024 by Art News and a Top 10 Must-See Museum Exhibition by Artsy, the Art Center will deploy a multi-channel marketing strategy, designed to drive tourism to Iowa, Des Moines, and the Des Moines Art Center. The Art Center’s campaign will strategically reach out to art enthusiasts in surrounding states with broadcast, digital, and social marketing with the goal of drawing them to Iowa for the exhibition. The Art Center will also work with community partners to connect local Hispanic and Caribbean groups with the artist and exhibition.

“Through exhibitions like “Firelei Báez,” the Art Center fulfills its mission to bring the world to Iowa, and Iowa to the world, introducing forms of creativity that resonate locally, regionally, and internationally. We are deeply grateful to the Iowa Tourism Office for this opportunity to raise awareness of the cultural resources that Iowa has to offer,” states Dr. Kelly Baum, John and Mary Pappajohn Director.

About Inspire Iowa
Inspire Iowa is a partnership between the Iowa Tourism Office and Iowa Arts Council and is administered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Funding is made possible through the Iowa Tourism Office. This program recognizes Iowa’s arts, cultural, and heritage venues as significant tourism attractions that anchor growing communities. Iowa’s creative sector generates more than $4.5 billion of economic impact annually, while stimulating local spending, supporting the broader hospitality industry, and attracting millions of visitors to our state.

About the Des Moines Art Center
The Des Moines Art Center is a vibrant, AAM-accredited (American Association of Museums) institution located in the capital city of Iowa that welcomes over 300,000 visitors annually from across the country and around the globe. Its historic campus consists of three buildings designed by major architects of the 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 art for which the Art Center cares 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.