Pappajohn Sculpture Park – Des Moines, Iowa - Atlas Obscura

Pappajohn Sculpture Park

Millions of dollars worth of sculpture decorate this Iowa city center. 

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Smack in the middle of downtown Des Moines is an odd collection of daring modern sculpture known as the Pappajohn Sculpture Park. 

Taking up four of Western Gateway Park’s twenty-seven acres, the public sculpture installation was the work of venture capitalists John and Mary Pappajohn who donated over $40 million worth of statuary to the site through an independent arts center.

The park was opened in 2009 with 24 sculptures from such art-world titans as Willem de Kooning and Richard Serra, all presented in public for all passersby to enjoy. The number of sculptures continues to grow and there are now 27 works in the park, creating an impressively varied landscape in the otherwise unremarkable urban center. 

Know Before You Go

There's plenty of parking around the park. The Better Homes & Gardens test gardens are right across the street. Make sure you get ice cream on the opposite corner at Black Cat Ice Cream.

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