City Assists DMPS Arts Group in Completing Mural Project


RunDSM students at Central Campus work on the original rendition of their mural earlier this month.

The City of Des Moines, in an effort to assist with the recent mural project, has partnered with Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS) and its arts and culture group RunDSM to help in the forward progression of the mural. The City of Des Moines is in support of the project, as it has always been, and is committed to assisting RunDSM through the appropriate process.

“This partnership will guide all parties through the process effectively and strengthen the relationship with DMPS as well” said Mayor Frank Cownie. “The City has rules and regulations in place to ensure fair and equitable treatment for all citizens.” 

After careful review, the City of Des Moines is committed to assisting the youth who worked so diligently on the mural and has put forth a plan that:

  • Expedites the city’s existing process for a three-year agreement and graffiti license.
  • Encourages the Des Moines Public Art Foundation (which reviews all public art requests) to expedite their recommendation process.
  • Pledges financial support for the project to assure it’s properly reconstructed.
  • Commits to providing assistance to RunDSM as they complete the City’s three-year graffiti agreement process. 

The above requirements are needed prior to beginning further work on the wall.

“Our RunDSM  program and the Urban Leadership class at Central Campus provide students an exceptional opportunity to find their own voice. Whether through words, music or the creative arts, students in the program are able to express their ideas and feelings on issues important to them. This mural is a great example of that, and the outpouring of support from the community has been overwhelming,” said Dr. Thomas Ahart, Superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools. “We live in a diverse community, which means we enjoy exposure to a diverse range of creative expression. The students’ mural project contributes to that richness of art in our community, and I’m pleased to have this agreement from the City of Des Moines on the table to enable it to move forward.”

“Once again, I’ve been reminded of why I refuse to call any place other than Des Moines home. Although the mishap was disappointing for both our students and the community, the supportive response from various angles stemming from the citizens of this city has been quite moving and was beyond what I expected,” said teaching artist As Phate, who has conducted workshops with students on the mural project. “Likewise, I can only respect and deeply appreciate the manner in which city officials have not hesitated in working to rectify the situation, and the lengths to which they are going to do so. When people ask me what’s so cool about Des Moines, my response is always the same: ‘The people.’ The outcome of this situation illustrates that sentiment, and we now look forward to matching that coolness, creatively, through paint on walls.”

“The outpouring of support from the community with regards to the youth has been reassuring that a genuine village exists that is ready and willing to stand up to ensure youth voices are heard, respected, and validated in public spaces,” added Kris Rollins and Emily Lang, teachers at Central Campus and coordinators of RunDSM.  We hope that this experience further sheds light on conversations regarding art and culture and what is deemed as valuable and acceptable in the public sphere.  We are excited to move forward with the project and believe that as a result the relationship between the City and Des Moines Public Schools is further strengthened.”