Artist Seso Marentes to be honored at Arts Festival

Mixed-media artist Seso Marentes of Des Moines explores Latino heritage and culture. (Photo: Duane Tinkey)

Des Moines Arts Festival leaders announced that the local mixed-media artist Seso Marentes will be honored as this year’s G. David Hurd Innovator in the Arts. The award is given to individuals or organizations that embody innovation within the arts, and it honors the legacy of the late Hurd, who served as Principal’s CEO.

“Seso Marentes was selected because he embodies Dave’s unwavering dedication to mentoring those who are to come and those struggling to find their voice,” said Stephen King, the festival’s executive director. “He is helping youth find their own way to express what is uniquely theirs and ensure the voice of the Latino artist is amplified.”

dsm profiled Marentes in our 2023 Inclusion issue, in which he said the most important aspect of his work is to create “a footprint for others to follow.” “I’m very passionate about that,” he continued. “I want to see more Latinos comfortable with the idea of becoming an artist.”

In 2021, Marentes started his “Iowa Series,” which includes a mural at East High School that involved some 240 students. The series reflects the identity of the artist whose parents emigrated from Juarez, Mexico. “I grew up in a Mexican household with all this rich history and tradition,” he said. “But I also grew up in Iowa, which has a history just as strong and significant. I’m trying to create an awareness that the Latino culture has been in Iowa for a very long time.”

Read more about Marentes in this dsm story.

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