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Art on the Campus 2021





The West Des Moines Public Arts Advisory Commission and Parks and Recreation Department invite regional artists (Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Wisconsin, South Dakota) to submit an Artwork Application to participate in the 9th annual Art on the Campus public art exhibit. Art on the Campus is a temporary outdoor exhibit, displayed on the West Des Moines City/School Campus from April to November each year. 


Selected artists are paid a $2,000 stipend for the use of their artwork. 

A selection panel will choose up to 12 original works of art for installation.

The artist retains ownership of their work and agrees to loan it to the exhibit.  During the exhibit, the artwork will be covered under the City’s insurance for the retail value of the artwork; however, artists must also carry standard liability insurance coverage. Artists are required to provide proof of liability insurance if selected. 

A People’s Choice vote will be taken throughout the duration of the exhibit. When the exhibit is complete, the People’s Choice artwork will be named and shared with the public, and the People’s Choice winner will receive a $500 award.

A recognition event will be held at which members of the community, WDM City Council, WDM Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, and featured artists are invited to celebrate 2021 Art on the Campus exhibit.  Invited guests will have the opportunity to view the selected works. Artists are asked to attend and give a brief oral description of their artwork. More details to come.

The Art on the Campus exhibit will be promoted in the local media. Marketing efforts will include but not be limited to:

· An article in WDM Magazine (direct mailed to all WDM households and businesses)

· News and information on the WDM City Web Site (www.wdm.iowa.gov)

· WDM Parks and Recreation Department’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts

The Art on the Campus exhibit is a listed feature on the Otocast app, a mobile audio guide. Selected artists are required to work with Otocast staff to record a short narrative about their artwork.

*The City of West Des Moines reserves the right to photograph and reproduce images of the artwork on exhibit for promotional and educational purposes. 


The West Des Moines City/School Campus is a centrally located area that is home to several facilities utilized by the community including an elementary school, freshmen high school, the WDM City Hall, the WDM Public Library and the WDM School District’s Learning Resource Center and the new Jamie Hurd Amphitheater. A half-mile walking trail encircles the centrally located pond. Selected works will be installed on 4’ x 4’ concrete pads that are located around the pond and adjacent to the walking trail. 


Artists are responsible for all costs, equipment, and labor necessary for the delivery, installation and removal of their work and assume all risk and damage to their work before and during installation and during and after removal. Work not appropriate for installation onto a 4’x4’ concrete base will not be allowed. Lighting and power will not be provided at the artwork locations. The artist shall affix their artwork to the concrete pad in such a way that non-authorized removal would not be possible. The City of West Des Moines will not provide labor nor equipment for install.     


Each selected piece of artwork must have a pre-determined purchase value or sale price that is set by the artist. If someone desires to purchase one of the displayed artworks, 15% of the sales price will be paid to the City of West Des Moines. These funds will provide future funding of public art in West Des Moines. The $2,000 stipend provided to the artist is not part of any sales transaction. Artwork must remain on display throughout the duration of the exhibition.


All artwork must be the original work of the artist (in concept, composition, and execution) and suitable for outdoor public display. Works will be selected by a selection panel comprised of WDM Public Arts Advisory Commission members and local citizens, artists, and business representatives. The following criteria will be used in the selection process:

Required Artwork Characteristics

·Artwork that is suitable for public viewing

·Artwork that displays high quality technical skill, imagination, and innovation

·Artwork that is suitable for outdoor display in adverse weather conditions

·Artwork that has soundness of construction, is durable, and is safe for viewing

Desirable Artwork Characteristics

·Artwork that creates a sense of discovery, surprise, and emotional connection

·Artwork that uses kinetic devices, optical effects, dynamic shapes, or bright colors to create a vibrant and interesting exhibit


People’s Choice Winner 2020

“The Sacrifice”


·Artwork that is participatory

·Artwork that is whimsical, uplifting, and creative

*Decisions by the selection panel are final and not open to negotiation.


Call for Artists issued                                                                        August 31, 2020

Artwork Applications due                                                                 October 30, 2020

Selection panel deliberations and recommendation               November 2-13, 2020

Notifications of selection to artists                                                By December 15, 2020

Delivery and installation of artwork                                               April 1-14, 2021

Exhibit open to the public                                                                 April 15–November 15, 2021

Removal of artwork                                                                           November 16-30, 2021

*The City of West Des Moines reserves the right to change the project timeline.

ONLINE APPLICATIONS ONLY. APPLY AT www.wdm.iowa.gov/CallforArtists

Applications due by 5:00pm on October 30, 2020

Contact Allison Ullestad (Arts, Culture, and Enrichment Supervisor) at 515-222-3455 or allison.ullestad@wdm.iowa.gov with questions.  View the current Art on the Campus exhibit at www.wdm.iowa.gov/AOC.

Prize summary: 
Prizes Details: 

$500 for People's Choice Award Winner


Entry Fee:

Contact & Links: 

Light Valley Junction Public Art Project





“Light Valley Junction” Public Art Statement

Historic Valley Junction is the gathering place that is the heart and soul of West Des Moines – a delightful mix of old and new, bridging generations with unique shops, vibrant events and a walkable hometown feel. Historic Valley Junction is West Des Moines’ original main street.

The Light Valley Junction Public Art Work Group wants to celebrate the past, present and future of this unique place through a public work of art. The Work Group wants every person who experiences this specific commissioned artwork to feel a sense of excitement and a connection to the community. The Work Group wants residents and visitors to be enticed to engage with the artwork and feel alive in its presence.

The project will include a permanent commissioned work of art to be sited on public property in a public walkway located on the west side of the 200 block of 5th Street. The work of art may be a single piece or made up of multiple pieces and must include the use of light in its design. The total budget for the project is $50,000. This not-to-exceed total must cover all artist fees, design and engineering including structural and electrical, fabrication, installation, lighting (excluding electrical service), site visits, and other related expenses.


Selection of a finalist or finalists will be based on the following:

Quality of letter of interest

Quality of work samples

Background and prior work experience including community engagement

Demonstration of project understanding and ability to meet project schedule

Consideration of project criteria in conceptual design proposal

The artist’s concept, final proposal, and ultimately the final artwork will need to meet certain criteria. Artwork should:

Fulfill the “Light Valley Junction” Public Art Statement (see above)

Incorporate lighting as an integral part of the artwork

Be colorful and eye-catching; high-impact and engaging

Be low maintenance, durable, and resistant to vandalism; able to withstand extreme weather conditions

Be aesthetically and photographically pleasing; draw people in

Be appealing both day and night and during all seasons

Be able to be installed entirely on City-owned public property

Include a high level of community engagement that is incorporated into the development of a final proposal by the selected artist

May be one or multiple pieces of art


Artist or artist team:

Must have completed 2 commissioned outdoor public works of art of $25,000 or more. Experience with incorporating lighting elements in public art preferred.

Must show an understanding of the community of West Des Moines and the Historic Valley Junction district; special consideration will be given to those artists who show familiarity with the district in their proposal (no travel costs will be covered for any pre-selection site visits).

Must be a regional artist who currently resides in one of the following states: Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Wisconsin, South Dakota; special consideration will be given to artists with an Iowa connection.

Must be able to participate in a virtual interview, if needed.

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) are encouraged to apply.


In digital format only.

Provide the following in a single PDF document (work sample JPEG’s can be sent in separate files):

Contact information for artist / artist team members

One-page letter describing interest in project and approach to design; please include statements addressing eligibility criteria, community engagement, and project criteria

One-page biographical information or resume for lead artist(s) (include one paragraph for each team member if artist-led team)

Three references (contact information only) for recently completed projects of similar scope

Work samples: include 3-5 work samples showing projects completed within the last 5 years with up to 3 digital images of each project. Save all standard JPEG images and label each with applicant’s full name and number in sequence with list of work samples

One-page document listing all work samples. Please provide a brief description and budget for each

No more than 3 pages showing artist’s initial concept for the Light Valley Junction Public Art Project that may include sketches, images, and text


Entry Fee:

Contact & Links: 

RFQ - Art Installation at the Library ($17,000 Budget)



The Art Advisory Committee of Drake Community Library, the public library in Grinnell, Iowa, is issuing a Request for Qualifications from artists to design, fabricate and install a piece of public art in a large and highly visible space in the library. A project budget of $17,000 is available to create an original and eye-catching permanent installation. Learn more and apply at http://grinnell.lib.ia.us/art/



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