Hello and welcome to our post on all things art in Des Moines. Galleries, museums, supplies, schools, shows, events and more will all be broken down in depth on this page.
Our objective is to get you all of the info you need as quickly as possible. We will kick this off by getting right into the best Des Moines Art Galleries and Museums where you can see some of the finest exhibitions and collections the city has to offer.
After covering them we will get into the best art stores in town where you can find all the supplies and materials you need. The top shows and events throughout the year will need to get their own section as well.
Taking an art walking tour or checking out some of the most creative statues and sculptures around town can be a lot of fun when the weather is nice. Step up your game by taking local art classes and lessons and whether you prefer group classes or private lessons there are plenty of options.
There are some art studios for rent near you if you are itching to get your next project started. Dealers, appraisers and framing shops will also be discussed as things move forward.
Expect to find a local art map at the end to help you get a better lay of the land. We have written quite a few other posts on towns around the Midwest that you can check out if interested.
Best Art Galleries & Museums In Des Moines
The best art galleries and museums in Des Moines would be:
- Des Moines Art Center at 4700 Grand Ave
- Tandem Brick Gallery at 2722 Ingersoll Ave
- Heritage Art Gallery at 111 Court Ave
- Light the Earth at 900 Keosauqua Way
- Liz Lidgett Gallery & Design at 111 E Grand Ave
- Nancy Briggs Pottery at 1726 30th St
- Olson-Larsen Galleries at 203 5th St
- Artisan Gallery 218 at 218 5th St
The Des Moines Art Center is a Modern and Contemporary Art Museum that also has a gift store, a cafeteria, and a studio art instruction school. The museum is always free for anyone.
Tandem Brick is an excellent choice for custom framing as well as being the ideal spot for quirky, one-of-a-kind gifts, cards, and local art. Heritage Art Gallery held its first show in 1980 and is a non-profit that is funded by entry fees from gallery sponsored competitions, private donations, and exhibitions.
Light the Earth art is created with some of the most amazing, hand-selected stones you’ve ever seen. Liz Lidgett Gallery and Design opened its doors in 2019. Over time, the company’s customers grew to include personal collections, restaurants, corporations and small enterprises, and hotels. Lidgett is also a frequent art expert, stylist, and host for publications such as Better Homes and Gardens, Martha Stewart, and Apartment Therapy.
Olson-Larsen Galleries, founded in 1979, is a modern gallery that represents 60 professional Midwestern artists. Most have had their art displayed in prominent museums or has been put in permanent collections across the country. Olson-Larsen artists work in a variety of two- and three-dimensional media including paintings, photography, sculpture, various forms of prints, and mixed media work.
Artisan Gallery 218 is an artist-owned contemporary fine art gallery in the center of Historic Valley Junction, representing the work of over 40 local Iowa artists. They host unique exhibits and offer a variety of activities including painting and jewelry creation. They also sell bead strands and findings for jewelry manufacturing, bespoke work, and offer jewelry repair.
Materials & Supplies Near You
These art stores are good places to buy new supplies or materials:
- Creative Coldsnow Artist Materials at 2419 University Ave
- Hobby Lobby at 1160 E Army Post Rd
- Joann at 5034 SE 14th St
- Dollar Tree at 4349 Merle Hay Rd
- Michaels at 1404 22nd St
Creative-Coldsnow Artist Materials is a locally owned art supply store where the staff is courteous and competent, and they are all practicing artists with fine arts degrees. You probably already know what chain stores like the Michaels, Joann, Dollar Tree and Hobby Lobby near you have to offer.
If all you are trying to buy are some quick, basic, and cheap art supplies Dollar Tree should suffice. The Great Frame Up and some of your other local framers should probably also sell some supplies.
Shows & Events
The best local art shows, festivals, and events held throughout the year would be:
The Des Moines Arts Festival is one of the world’s most prestigious festivals, bringing together 180 of the country’s top artists in a beautiful urban street setting surrounded by the 4.4-acre John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park and the newly constructed Krause Gateway Center designed by Renzo Piano Building.
ArtFest Midwest is the Midwest’s largest fine arts show where 250 Iowa and regional artists are represented.
Art Dealers & Appraisers
The art dealers and appraisers near you are places to find new unique pieces or learn the value of something you already own:
- Steven Vail Fine Arts at 1501 Walnut St
- Moberg Gallery at 2921 Ingersoll Ave
- Kavanaugh Art Gallery at 228 5th St
Steven Vail Fine Arts is a modern art gallery that provides art consultancy, bespoke framing, and other related services. The Project Room at Steven Vail Fine Arts is an exhibiting venue for modern and contemporary prints, multiples, and works on paper by creators from all over the world.
Kavanaugh Gallery houses an exceptional collection of fine art that spans the globe including original paintings in oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastel, and mixed media, as well as sculpture, limited edition prints, Giclée’s, and serigraphs, antique and reproduction prints and posters, and early works on paper.
When the weather is nice walk around outside and see unique art on one of these tours:
The Art Route is a painted walkway that runs along city sidewalks and crossroads. The path connects 87 pieces of public art with a 6-mile-long trail downtown, as well as 14 painted crosswalks at six crossings. In addition, there will be an art pocket along the paths near the City of West Des Moines City Hall.
Destination Des Moines is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and marketing the city via activities that support the vibrancy of our Waterland Community. Of course when the festivals are going on that would also be a great time to walk around.
Sculptures & Statues
Another fun thing to do on a sunny day would be to check out some of these statues and sculptures:
- Pappajohn Sculpture Park at 1330 Grand Ave
- South Des Moines Sculpture Park at 768-798 McKinley Ave
The Pappajohn Sculpture Park is located at 1330 Grand Avenue and is open from daylight to midnight during city park hours. The South Des Moines Sculpture Park is a long, narrow strip of land in a residential neighborhood with roughly 18 sculptures.
Des Moines Art Classes
Whether you are trying to find private lessons or group classes for kids, teens, or adults some of the best Des Moines art schools can be found at:
- Amy O’Brien Art at 900 Keosauqua Way #433
- Five Monkeys at 4211 Chamberlain Ave
- Bottle & Bottega Des Moines at 1301 Locust St E
- Jess Quinn Art at 900 Keosauqua Way Studio #407
- Fuzzishu at 1808 Fuller Rd
Amy O’Brien enjoys sharing her expertise of art and design through Virtual Sip & Paint sessions and she also does fine art and commissioned projects. Oil portraits of homes, people, and pets are available.
Bottle & Bottega is a great art studio for everyone who likes painting. In many of their events they use acrylic paints on 16″ x 20″ canvas and walk the students through the painting of the day step by step.
Jess Quinn Art provides fine art items and commissions, as well as art education and group workshops for private parties, fundraisers, team building, and fun. Fuzzishü is a fully equipped studio where you can take jewelry, metalsmithing, and glass blowing classes and workshops, as well as rent studio space.
Remember that The Des Moines Art Center also has instructors that teach quality classes, and Kunzler Studios is a good spot for ceramics lessons.
Studios For Rent Near You
You can try to rent art studio space at:
- Mainframe Studios at 900 Keosauqua Way
- Crane Artist Lofts at 1440 Walnut St
- Kunzler Studios & Gallery at 324 5th St
Mainframe Studios is a nonprofit company that provides permanent, inexpensive workplaces for artists of various disciplines. Crane Artist Lofts has both traditional and affordable housing options. Qualification for affordable housing units is based on income level, household size, and student status.
Kunzler Studios is a historic Valley Junction art gallery and ceramics studio who does one-time and monthly ceramics classes. Fuzzishü from our best art schools near you list also has studio space.
When you need to find local art framing head to:
- Moberg Framing at 2921 Ingersoll Ave
- Andy’s Frame Shop at 2210 Ingersoll Ave
- Dot’s Gallery & Frame Shop at 4223 Fleur Dr
- The Great Frame Up at 5515 Mills Civic Pkwy
Moberg Framing is a full-service, professional frame business dedicated to client pleasure. Museum grade framing, framing consultancy, canvas stretching, appraisals, art restoration, bespoke moldings, custom finishes, pickup, delivery, and installation are among the services offered.
Andy’s Frame Shop has been in business for over 20 years, providing individualized, professional service that keeps customers coming back for all of their framing requirements. Dot’s Gallery is a frame shop and art gallery that has been in business since the mid 1970’s and quotes are provided free of charge.
For nearly 35 years, The Great Frame Up has been framing memories and artwork to create high-quality bespoke framing that reflects your distinct style and personality Heritage Art Galleries, Tandem Brick and Steven Vail Fine Arts also do framing.
By the way we have also discussed the art scene in:
Have Fun Enjoying The Des Moines Art Scene
Hopefully we did a fair enough job of covering the full art scene near you. After reading about the best local galleries, museums, events, shows, supply stores, dealers, appraisers, walking tours, sculptures, classes, studios, and framers you should feel a lot more prepared to make your next move.
Go ahead and use the comments to share your own tips or to let us know if you think we got anything wrong.We hope you enjoy your time at the best Des Moines Art Galleries, Museums, Supply Stores or doing whatever it else you plan to do with the info.