Des Moines Arts Festival announces 2022 Commemorative Poster artist, Ella Richards

The Des Moines Arts Festival presented by Nationwide has commissioned New York artist Ella Richards to create the Festival’s 25th Anniversary commemorative poster. The Festival will be sharing videos and snapshots of Richard’s creative journey with the piece on its social media channels leading up to its official unveiling at the Festival’s VIP Preview Celebration on May 26.   

A working artist from Greenwich Village, NYC, Richards was trained as a watercolor artist, but her interest in minimalism and simplicity led her to create her art form, which she calls Scissor Drawings. Richards draws on black paper so that it can be continuously cut with scissors. Then the black paper is glued to watercolor paper using a fine-tipped glue pen.

Richards and her mother escaped the Soviet Union in 1988 as political refugees. She learned to speak English from a kind stranger she met in New York’s Washington Square Park, who she discovered was a Holocaust survivor. The two would meet at a park bench for weeks and weeks, learning new words and forming them into sentences.   

Richards has an artistic mission to inspire children to be both artists and to have an appreciation of art. While traveling the country, she brings along art books for children to pick up and browse, engaging children in conversation about art. She encourages children to create their drawings which she displays next to her artwork. Richards’s uplifting story, artistry, and love for Des Moines inspired the Festival to select her for the significant milestone that is the 25th-anniversary commemorative poster. 

Richards has toured the United States from coast to coast with her art. She has won numerous awards and commissions, including a mural at Facebook in Silicon Valley – a 16-foot hand cut of a poem she wrote. Richards won the Best of Show honor at the Des Moines Arts Festival in 2016. 

Richards attended Columbia University in NYC. She is currently on the faculty at NYU. Recently Richards has been taking her design experiences to a new medium, embarking on an adventure in iPhone street photography. In this project, she shares her daily walks around the Greenwich Village and recording what she sees.

Ella Richards will exhibit and sell her original scissor drawings in booth GS33C during the three-day Festival. Guests may purchase the Official Commemorative Poster from one of two on-site Arts Festival Shops while supplies last. Any remaining posters may be purchased on the Festival’s online merchandise store following the Festival.