Central Art Gallery

River Stories: Views from a Watershed Exhibit
Women Farmers Depict Ag Impact on Watersheds
January 28-February 28
Central Library Second Floor

Land of Standstone

Facilitators Angie Carter and Betty Wells collaborated with local women farmers to create a Photovoice collection of photos and stories about water quality concerns and efforts to improve water quality in their community.  Participants used cameras (their own or their phone) to capture the story of their watershed from their own vantage points – conservation in process, agricultural practices, wildlife, watershed concerns, etc. – and write short descriptions for each picture. The attendees were provided ample opportunity to become acquainted, share stories, and ask questions. Although attending the first meeting did not obligate the attendees to join the project, all remained active participants from start to finish. Six women chose to engage their watershed by participating in the Photovoice project:

  • Patti Edwardson, of Churdan
  • Chris Henning, of Cooper
  • Jan Kaiser, of Woodward
  • Colleen Radebaugh, of Rippey
  • Courtney Turnis, of Coon Rapids
  • Danielle Wirth, of Woodward

All six own farmland within the Raccoon River Watershed. The photo-essays depicted issues of agriculture's impact on watersheds, conservation efforts designed to improve conditions, plus the beauty and ecosystems found within the watershed.

Iowa River Stories Website

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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 gallery

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 art work 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!