Central Art Gallery

Jennifer Fisher Jones

Big Dogs : Large Stories
Paintings by Jennifer Jones
July 15 - August 23
Central Library Second Floor

Artist Statement

When people talk about their dogs, the origin of communication shifts from the head to the heart. Forced discourse on the weather or politics becomes fueled by something much deeper: love.

Big Dogs : Large Stories was born from the creation of “Atypical Pet Portrait” commissions. I found myself fascinated with process of collaboration between myself, the animals, and their humans. The anecdotes, idiosyncrasies, heroism, and heartbreaks shared were vast and varied and informed the portraits from start to finish. The love between these humans and their canine companions is deep and unconditional.

All of this outpouring of affection and connectivity inspired me to represent this BIG love people have for their dogs by curating a selection of the dogs’ stories to accompany super-sized portraits.

To begin, I put out a call for “dogs with interesting stories” and the response was healthy and immediate. The human counterparts and I would discourse about the dog during the painting process; once completed, they were asked to put their dog’s story into writing making “Big Dogs : Large Stories” truly a collaborative effort. I am amazed that despite all the different breeds, types of humans, and personalities of both, the unifying thread points to an intuitive sense of a promise for fulfillment of the deepest unconditional love.

Jennifer Jones' Website
Big Dogs : Large Stories Website



Jennifer Fisher Jones is a native Iowan whose passion is creating contemporary paintings in series with oils on canvas. Jennifer graduated with honors in Studio Art from Macalester College and also holds a K-12 Teaching Certification in from the University of Iowa. Jennifer has years of experience helping children discover their own creative capacities through after school art programs and summer art camps which she designed and taught. Jennifer’s love of contemporary art led her into galleries where she had the opportunity to serve as an art consultant in San Francisco and later Washington D.C.

Jennifer is currently resides with her family (Brian, Adam (14), Greta(12), canine Ipu, and felines, Mo, Charlotte, and Theodore in Decorah, Iowa, where she happily spends much of her time exploring the local prairie with her most awesome canine pal, Ipu.




Art Gallery History

In 1916, the Des Moines Public Library, working in partnership with the newly-formed Des Moines Association of Fine Arts, made a gallery space available in order to “purchase and hold title to paintings acquired for the benefit of the public, and to bring exhibitions to the city.” Several exhibitions were shown each year, and works of art were periodically purchased for the association’s permanent collection. After a period of inactivity in the 1930s due to the Depression, the DMAF in 1938 moved their collection to a building on Walnut Street, and, with funding from the Works Progress Administration in the 1940s, provided galleries and studio space. The Des Moines Association of Fine Arts voluntarily dissolved in 1945 and their assets were turned over to the [James] Edmundson Art Foundation. That entity funded construction of the new Des Moines Art Center, which opened at its present location on Grand Avenue in 1948.

Old Art Callery

The Art Gallery at the Central Library, which opened in May 2016, is located on the second floor and offers an accessible and welcoming environment for encouraging and celebrating Iowa artists. Exhibitions of original artwork will engage, enrich, and be enjoyed by our patrons and enhance our community as a whole. These exhibitions expand the library’s role and bolster creative and expressive energy in the Des Moines community.

We are excited to continue the rich tradition of art at the Des Moines Public Library into a second century. Thank you for your support, and we hope to see you at the gallery!