As part of the city of Des Moines’ infrastructure and streetscape project on University Avenue spanning 25th Street to 31st Street, Drake University is collaborating with Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) to install new, public artwork on two bus shelters on the campus side of the street. The artwork was recently reviewed and recommended by the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation (PAF) to the Des Moines City Council. PAF serves as the advisory body on all public art matters for the City of Des Moines.
The shelters will feature Drake and neighborhood inspired designs from nationally acclaimed artists and Iowa natives Mollie Wallace and Dana Harrison. The artwork is made possible through the generosity of the Wells Fargo Foundation. It is expected to be installed later this year and is designed to bring more public art to the community.
“This project is one of the many ways Drake University is connecting with the community as an anchor institution,” said Drake University President Marty Martin. “The artwork contributes to the vitality of the neighborhood and reflects its diversity and character.”
The art project is another example of the recent investments made in the area surrounding campus made by the city, developers, local businesses, non-profits, and the University.
“Bus shelters are our most requested service enhancement and improve the overall accessibility and comfort of using transit,” said Matthew Harris, DART business and community partnerships manager. “We’re excited to provide a canvas for community expression that will expand access to public art and complement the transformation taking place throughout the Drake neighborhood.”
ABOUT THE ARTWORK
Thanks for the Memories
Wallace created a collage that represents the Drake neighborhood. Viewers will be able to spot iconic locations, and noteworthy details that create a snapshot of what you are able to see when riding a DART bus through the area.
Harrison’s piece is reminiscent of his street art style. Images like mature trees and the architecture that is special to the Drake neighborhood can be seen throughout the artwork. Viewers will be able to spot representations of many places and things special to all those residents who have called the wonderful neighborhood home.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Mollie Wallace was born and raised in Des Moines and graduated from King-Perkins Elementary, Callanan Junior High, and Roosevelt High School. After earning her art degree from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y., she spent 15 years in New Orleans where her art can be seen in signs, murals, and banners throughout the city. Wallace has served as the artist in residence at the Erin Rose, an iconic French Quarter bar that has been featured in Bon Appetit and many other publications, for the past decade. She has designed everything from Mardi Gras tuxedos to guitars to food trucks. She was the festival artist for the internationally-renowned Internationale de Lousiane in Lafayette, La., in 2018. Her painting became the festival poster. Wallace and her family returned to Des Moines last year.
Dana Harrison (Limone) a Jefferson, Iowa, resident, started writing graffiti in 1996 in his home town of Fort Dodge, Iowa, and studied under the late Sazko from Hamburg, Germany. With almost 25 years of mural experience, you can find some of his recent work at the Edna Griffin building, 10th Street bridge, Platinum Kutz, and much more.
The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) is Iowa’s only regional and largest transit agency and operates a family of transportation services that enriches lives, connects communities and expands opportunities, providing more than 15,000 weekday rides and nearly 4.5 million rides annually to jobs, healthcare, education and a variety of essential destinations throughout 12 member communities in and around Polk County.