Des Moines Arts Festival announces Hoyt Sherman Place as the G. David Hurd Innovator of the Arts Recipient

The Preview Celebration presented by American Enterprise Group was held on Thursday, May 26, 2022. [Courtesy Des Moines Arts Festival]

The Des Moines Arts Festival presented by Nationwide is honored to announce Hoyt Sherman Place as the sixth recipient of the G. David Hurd Innovator of the Arts. The honor is bestowed each year by Festival leadership to an individual or organization that “fully embodies innovation within the arts.” The recognition honors the legacy of the late G. David Hurd, former CEO of Principal Financial Group and an influential community leader noted for his involvement with the Des Moines Arts Festival, as well as for his vision and progressive thinking. Previous recipients of the Hurd Innovator are ArtForce Iowa, Girls Rock! Des Moines, Bravo Greater Des Moines, Chaden Halfhill, and Larassa Kabel.

“Hoyt Sherman Place was selected because a lot of hard work, perseverance and imagination has resulted in a rebirth of an important cultural space in our community” said Stephen King, Executive Director of the Des Moines Arts Festival. “Their dynamic work emulates Dave Hurd’s vision to make the Des Moines community a better place to live. He’d be very proud of what they’ve accomplished and brought to our city.” 

Hoyt Sherman Place was recognized at the Preview Celebration, a private reception held at American Enterprise Group’s sculpture park. In addition to the announcement, the Festival recognized individuals who received Volunteer Legacy recognition, unveiled the commemorative poster, and showcased a new commemorative beer can in partnership with Exile Brewing Company.

Volunteer Service

For service on the Des Moines Arts Festival Board of Directors: Mary Chapman (2017 – 2022), Vicki Comegys (2015 – 2022) Angela Connolly (2017 – 2022), Scott Sundstrom (2017 – 2022);

For service on the Festival’s Event Management Team: Laurie Miller (20 years of service) and Kristina Huntsman (10 years of service).  

Commemorative Poster

Artist Ella Richards unveiled her work “Meeting Place. Gathering Place. Welcoming. One and All. Des Moines, IA 2022” for the 25th Anniversary Commemorative Poster. Richards has a special connection to Des Moines and the Des Moines Arts Festival. While creating this artwork, she relived many of the emotions she experienced early in her life as an immigrant from Russia. When humanitarian organizations brought Ella and her mother to the United States, they arrived at JFK airport. This was before she could speak English and before she had a place to call home. She dreamt of a new life where she would have a home, learn the language, meet some nice people, and, hopefully, make friends.

When Ella started working on this piece, she wrote “JFK” in giant letters on a piece of paper and taped it to her wall where she could look at it often. Creating the artwork connected many of the fragments of her life. For Ella, this artwork represents her experience at the Des Moines Arts Festival as a place where many different people, people of all backgrounds, likes, dislikes, cultures, and languages, can gather. It is a place where each person who passed or entered her booth space welcomed her and each person engaged Ella and befriended her. As Ella says, “I put my life in this piece, put my feelings, my emotions, my hopes, my dreams, for a better future and better humanity, some people I know, respect, admire, and love are there, some friends, lots of people I do not know.”

The artwork features 339 people of Des Moines, each intricately cut from a black piece of watercolor paper, gracing this beautiful representation of our region. 

Commemorative Beer Can

Exile Brewing Company has launched a commemorative can of Citra Sky. The beer is dedicated to the Festival’s 25 years of impacting lives through the arts. Citra Sky is a hazy IPA that pairs well with celebrating the arts, building a strong community and hot summer days.

Exile Brewing Company has launched a commemorative can of Citra Sky. [Courtesy Des Moines Arts Festival]