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Des Moines Art Center to Open New Sculpture Park in Heart of Downtown Des Moines in August 2009

DES MOINES, IA.- In August 2009, the Des Moines Art Center will open a new 4.4 acre sculpture park in the heart of downtown Des Moines. The John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park will be built directly within a major crossroads of the urban grid, making it unlike any other sculpture garden in the United States, and will contribute to the ongoing revitalization of the surrounding neighborhood. It will feature 24 works donated to the museum by the Pappajohns, including seven new promised gifts from the couple’s renowned collection of contemporary sculpture and a new commission by artist Deborah Butterfield.

The Pappajohns’ initial contribution of 16 works for the park—the most significant donation of artwork ever made in a single gift to the museum—included sculpture by Louise Bourgeois, Richard Serra, Martin Puryear, Ellsworth Kelly, Willem de Kooning, and Anthony Caro, among others, and was valued at more than $25 million. This collection will be united with a second gift of eight works by Sol LeWitt, Tony Smith, Gary Hume, Ugo Rondinone, and Deborah Butterfield in a permanent installation in the city’s Western Gateway Park, which offers a pedestrian entranceway to downtown Des Moines.

“The John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park will change the cultural landscape of the city in a dramatic way unseen since the opening of the Des Moines Art Center in 1948,” said Des Moines Art Center director Jeff Fleming. “The impact of the Pappajohns’ gift on the museum and the city cannot be over emphasized. It will contribute to the dynamism of the city and add a new dimension to the museum experience.”

The sculpture park will strengthen Des Moines’ progressive public art program, which enhances the city’s physical environment by installing works of art by venerated artists on-site at public buildings and lands. Works currently on display include pieces by Andrew Goldsworthy, Mary Miss, Bruce Nauman, Claes Oldenburg, and Richard Serra….

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