Editor’s Note: At the Confluence of Past and Present

2023 is a milestone year here at dsm magazine—we’re officially turning 20! 

For the past two decades, dsm’s mission has been to elevate the diverse voices that make our community unique—the artists and advocates, chefs and shop owners, entrepreneurs and immigrants. Over the years, we’ve featured hundreds of people, each with a compelling story to tell. 

This issue is no exception as it focuses on people who have built on the pillars of the past to propel the city and its various institutions forward. 

Consider Jeff Fleming. Retiring this year from the Des Moines Art Center after 18 years as director, Fleming has fostered an inclusive environment in which female, diverse and emerging artists are showcased. The museum remains free for all visitors, and downtown’s sculpture park has become a must-visit destination for tourists and locals alike. 

Also celebrating an anniversary this year, the Art Center will spotlight some of the state’s painters, sculptors and other artists in “Art Center: 75 Years of Iowa Art,” an exhibit running Feb. 10 through May 10. Learn more about the show (here) and how Fleming has positively influenced the institution (here). 

Leaders throughout the city, as part of the nonprofit Invest DSM, are respecting the past while working to boost values and amenities in some of the city’s original neighborhoods, making these walkable areas even more appealing to young families. In the Drake, Franklin, Highland Park and Columbus Park neighborhoods, homeowners and business owners have benefited from funding help for curb appeal updates, shops and restaurants, and public art. Read the story here before planning an urban crawl to discover what’s new—or possibly to revisit an old favorite—in these core enclaves. 

What makes us most excited—and inspired—about covering the next 20 years at dsm is the city’s new generation of emerging leaders. With creativity, determination and optimism, Gen Z is already shaping the metro as artists, advocates, educators and naturalists. Get to know four of them in the story here. 

Throughout this issue, you’ll meet even more young leaders making their mark, including Indigenous musician Geneviéve Salamone, who last fall performed at Paris Fashion Week (read here), and Linda Tong, a 24-year-old designer who’s gone viral on TikTok with her planners and calendars (read here). 

As dsm begins its third decade, you can count on us to keep covering these fresh voices, as well as the sage ones, that will help make the city an equitable and vibrant place for all of us.

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