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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: 
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