Portrait and Perspective

By Susan Hatten

A city of art. With the approach of the Des Moines Arts Festival, I have taken recent moments to walk the streets of Downtown Des Moines to absorb the beauty in our artwork and architecture.

I must say that it has taken my living Downtown to truly respect the flickers of art that are sprinkled throughout our landscape. It has been an emotional journey, with a reflective overture.

We are blessed to house the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park and the breathtaking beauty inside the 801 Grand building, but so much more awaits you, if you just take a moment to stop and be present.

I made it a summer goal to snap photos of my favorite pieces of art and architecture while walking our trails and streetscapes. I found pleasure in even the small things: the creamy grand entrance of Saint Ambrose Cathedral, a bronzed sculpture of a young girl reading to her baby brother near the Polk County Courthouse, the prismatic circular stained glass window inside First United Methodist Church, and a fountain of a lion’s mouth in the center of the Capitol lawn.

The Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation offers easy online access to search our public art, but it’s much more fun to adventure on your own. I found many unique works that amazed the senses that weren’t featured in the foundation’s information.

With each discovery, a little part of me seemed to be hidden within the art. Some of it mysterious, some colorful and creative, and others, quietly subdued and independent. These discoveries were inspirational in nature, prompting me to stop and reflect.

Summer will quickly find its way to a close. Take some time to walk the Greater Des Moines periphery and dive in when you feel something calling you. You may even find your own unique perspective within our landscape.

susan hatten

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