Sculpture Park Turns 10

Above: Richard Serra, “Five Plate Pentagon” (1986); steel, 60 x 72 x 113 inches. Consisting of five unpainted steel plates, the sculpture’s assembly resembles playing cards balanced against one another. 

All of us at dsm have been big fans of the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park since it opened in 2009. With 31 sculptures by 25 internationally acclaimed artists—such as Willem de Kooning, Richard Serra, Keith Haring, Yayoi Jusama and Louise Bourgeois—the park has been a key part of downtown’s dynamic transformation. So we’re looking forward to celebrating the 10-year milestone at the Des Moines Art Center’s anniversary party Sept. 7 at the park. 

An exhibit called “Sculpting Our Community” will highlight the free public event. For the display, the Art Center invited the public to create and submit their own artwork inspired by the park’s sculptures. The celebration, from 4 to 7 p.m., also will include guided tours, music by Faculty Lounge and a kid zone, plus food trucks and drinks.

In addition, you can check out the park’s newest piece, the pop art “LOVE” sculpture by Robert Indiana. The work fits with the museum’s philosophy of acquiring “a seminal work of art by a significant artist that can represent that artist’s body of work,” says Jeff Fleming, the museum’s director. 

“Indiana began incorporating the word ‘love’ as a subject of his art in 1964,” he adds. “He created both two-dimensional and three-dimensional prints, paintings and sculptures throughout the following years. … This particular version … is considered one of the best examples of his use of the word, as evidenced by its size, format, and the aesthetics of its combination of colors.”

The Des Moines Symphony will keep the celebration going by performing a suite from composer Steve Heitzeg’s “Symphony in Sculpture” in concerts Oct. 12 and 13 at the Des Moines Civic Center. The symphony commissioned the work in 2012 to portray the park’s sculptures through music; it’s been updated with the addition of three new sculptures. For details, visit

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