Artist Jenna Brownlee researched the various cultural communities in Des Moines to inform the countries highlighted in her mural design.
Writer: Allaire Nuss
Liz Lidgett Gallery + Design has commissioned over 50 murals in Central Iowa since it launched in 2019. The latest installation, “Love Blooms,” was completed in less than three days by local artist Jenna Brownlee. Unveiled this month in partnership with the Des Moines World Food and Music Festival, the mural is a love letter to the city’s multiculturalism.
“Part of inclusion is trying to embrace as many people in our community as possible,” says gallery founder Liz Lidgett. “We really want our murals to be inclusive because we understand representation matters.”
The mural was funded through an anonymous donor in conjunction with the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines. A committee selected Brownlee, a Des Moines native, to design and execute her floral vision. Brownlee is among the 35 local and national artists represented by Liz Lidgett Gallery + Design, over half of whom are women.
The goal of the mural was to celebrate diversity without explicitly showing any faces. Instead, flowers are prominent in the mural’s design. Each bloom—such as an Iowan prairie rose, a Bosnian lily and a Mexican dahlia—represents a specific cultural community within the city.
An advocate for public art, Lidgett says murals “are accessible … you can go visit any time. When we bring art into people’s lives, the community becomes much richer. A mural is a wonderful way to do that.”
You can spot “Love Blooms” on the side of RoCA on Court Avenue. Learn more about artist Jenna Brownlee here.