Event Information

Des Moines Arts Festival 2019

Western Gateway Park, Downtown Des Moines
Des Moines, Iowa (Midwest)

Phone: 515-286-4927
Event Dates: 6/28/19 - 6/30/19
Application Deadline: 1/13/19 Midnight CST

The application deadline has passed.


Images: 6 (a booth shot is required)

Fee (Des Moines Arts Festival Application Fee): $45.00

You can submit up to 20 applications for this show.


Event Summary
The Des Moines Arts Festival® is one of the world’s most respected festivals hosting 180 of the nation’s top artists on June 28-30, 2019 in a beautiful urban street setting surrounding the 4.4 acres John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park and the newly-constructed Krause Gentle Center designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop. Eleven-time winner of the coveted Grand Pinnacle Award from the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA), the outdoor festival of arts and culture attracts more than 200,000 people each year to its downtown location in Iowa’s capital city and largest metropolitan area. The Festival is a show dedicated to the highest standards of excellence that works tirelessly to maintain a positive environment for artists and their clients.  The Festival is a non-profit organization that contributes more than $50,000 annually from its proceeds to support the Des Moines Art Center, numerous area non-profit arts organizations, the continuation of the Festival, and keeping your fees low. 

General Information
2019 Artist Prospectus

from the International Festivals & Events Association

Bravo Greater Des Moines

What they're saying...  
(from the post-event artist survey and comments)

"Best managed, designed and run art show in the country." 

"This is one of the best-run shows anywhere in the country. They think of everything." 

"You treat artists with such respect."

OUR MISSION .    Impact Lives Through the Arts
Inspire Appreciation of the Arts .    We cultivate, educate and engage our audience toward a heightened appreciation of the arts.
Celebrate Original Art .    We produce an annual celebration of outstanding original visual that is created by the hand of the artists in a festival atmosphere.
Impact Community .    We foster and celebrate the involvement of all people.
Promote Collaboration .    We promote and inspire meaningful collaboration to strengthen the arts community.
Deliver the Highest Standards .    We value professionalism and quality.  We operate in a fair and honorable manner with transparency. We are strong financial stewards. We manage with responsibility and maximize value to our partners.
Innovate Strategically .    We champion new and emerging ideas.

OUR VISION .    Strengthen a Vibrant and Creative Community

THE FACT SHEET (all information subject to change)
Please Note: We do NOT jury by category or medium. When you apply, there will be a choice to select "All Mediums."
Location: Downtown Des Moines, Iowa, on Locust Street and Grand Ave. between 16th Street and 10th Street. 
Dates: June 28-30, 2019
Avg. Sales: Gross Avg. = $8,1935 
One-Time Projected Jury ProcessIf you are NOT an Emerging Iowa Artist you will select "ALL MEDIUMS." We do NOT jury by category or medium. 
Images:  5 images of work + 1 booth image 
Viewed:  Projected simultaneously with image 1, 2, 3 on top from left to right, and 4, 5, booth from left to right, on the bottom. 
Jurors:  5 paid. Includes two invited (exempt) artists from 2018. 
Scoring (see details below):  Second round is scoring 1-7, no 4. All other rounds are a show of hands – the majority moves the artist to the next round. Rounds continue until the final slate is selected. 
Jury/Application Fee:  $35 Oct. 8 – Jan. 7; $45 after Jan. 7. 
Booth Space Fee:  $475 for 10’x10’. An additional $150 is charged for a double deep booth and/or a corner booth. 
Cash Awards:  $9,000 at press time 
Booth Space:  10’x10’ with 1’ buffer all around, most with abundant storage close to the booth. A limited number of 10’ (front) x 20’ (deep) interior and corner booths are available. We do not offer 20' wide booth spaces unless the artist is juried to show two bodies of work. 
Electric:  Provided. Generators not allowed. 
Artist Presence:  All required (individual and partner(s)/collaborator(s)). 
No. of Exhibiting Artists Expected from Jury Pool: Approx. 160 (we jury spaces with the final number of spaces available being 180) 
No. of Artists Exempt from Jury:  At least 10 (award winners from the previous year and special invitation) 
Security:  24-hour 
Parking:  Free/reserved/off-site dedicated. 
Insurance: Required. Upon acceptance, artists must provide Des Moines Arts Festival with an appropriate Certificate of Insurance, naming Des Moines Arts Festival as an additional insured pursuant to a general liability insurance policy with a minimum coverage of $1,000,000. Artists may not setup or exhibit until the approved certificate is received by the Festival office. 
Structure:  If using a tented structure, the tent must be commercial or professional grade with heavy weights (minimum of 40 pounds) on each corner with stabilizing maneuvers that provide maximum safety to artists and guests. The use of cheap accordion-style pop-up tents is expressly forbidden. The artist who ignores this rule will not be allowed to exhibit at the show and will not receive a refund of any sort as a result.
Event Name: Des Moines Arts Festival®  
Contact:  Stephen King, CFEE, Executive Director 
Produced by:  Downtown Events Group, 501(c)3 Non-profit corp. 
Mailing Address: 700 Locust Street, Suite 100, Des Moines, IA 50309 
Telephone:  515.286.4927 
  • 180 juried artists
  • Projected Attendance – 200,000+.
  • Dedicated and energetic volunteers.
  • $9,000 in cash awards at the time of publication. $1500 to the Best of Show; up to five Awards of Excellence at $1000 each; three Juror Awards of $500 each presented by each of the jurors; and the $1000 Leysens Family Award to the Best of Emerging Iowa Artist. These amounts may be altered by the jury, but the total will remain intact.
  • Each of the above awards includes an automatic invitation to the 2020 show. 
  • Responsive website and integrated social media campaign.
  • Official Festival Program includes a color thumbnail image of each exhibiting artist.
  • Website includes up to three full-color images with name, bio, live link to artist website, and email.
  • Free reserved parking.
  • Invitations to special events and receptions.
  • Hospitality area.
  • Air-conditioned restroom facilities.
  • Exclusive “Express Lane” concessions.
  • 24-hour security.
  • Free electricity.
  • Leisurely set-up (full day is available).
  • Comprehensive emergency/evacuation plan.
  • Booth Amenities.
    • 10' x 10' Booth with at least 121 square feet (1’ on sides and back).
    • All booths on street at press time. 
    • Storage behind booth. Some booths will have 1’ behind booth, others a full sidewalk; however, keep in mind that these sidewalks are used for electric cords and passage by Gators and people.
Friday, June 28, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.   
Saturday, June 29, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.   
Sunday, June 30, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.   
Hours subject to change.

Application Available – October 8, 2018 

Application Deadline – Soft deadline is January 7, 2019 12:59:59PM CST; Hard deadline is January 13, 2019, at 8 a.m. CST.   

Jury – February 5 - 7, 2019 in Des Moines, IA (scheduled, subject to change) 

Notifications Emailed – as soon as possible 
Please note:  we do NOT notify artists through ZAPP.  You will receive an email from the DMAF office. 

Deadline to confirm participation/Agreement due – March 30, 2019   

Refund Deadline -  May 1, 2019  


Please Note: We do NOT jury by category or medium. When you apply, you will select “All Mediums” if you are a professional artist OR Emerging Artist if you are applying under the rules of the Emerging Iowa Artist Program.
The jury is scheduled for February 5-7, 2018. The location for the projection jury will be 700 Locust Street, Suite 100 in downtown Des Moines.   Applying artists and special guests are invited to a special Jury Preview on Wednesday, February 5 beginning at 5:30 p.m. Projection of images for the jury begins promptly at 6 p.m. The jury preview is an opportunity for artists to view their images at the same time and in the same manner, the jury will see them. An email notice with all the details will be sent to all applicants. Approximately 160 spaces will be available via the jury process. An additional ten (10) booth spaces are reserved for 2018 award winners, and up to ten (10) spaces are reserved for special invitations. If these spaces are not filled, artists will be invited from the Waitlist.

Round One is a complete overview of all applicants. Each artist set of images will be projected for ten seconds.

Round Two is the first scoring round. Each artist’s set of images will be projected for approximately eight seconds. After which the jury will begin scoring on a laptop in front of them while the six submitted images are projected in front of them.  As the set of images is projected, the Artist Statement is read aloud. The jury will score each artist’s set of images a traditional 1 through 7, with no 4.

Round Three comes after all applying artists have been scored. After Round Two, a median score is determined, and all artists scoring under the median are removed. The artists remaining are first viewed again in a complete overview for 10 seconds each. We then go back to the beginning and display each artist’s set of six images. Each set of images is discussed and scored by the jury with a show of hands. A majority vote moves the artist into the next round. The artist’s set of images remain on the screen for as long as requested by the jury.

Round Four and Beyond – Any number of rounds now occur slowly balancing the show by making final selections. This and subsequent rounds are scored as described above – a majority show of hands moves the artist into the final round(s). The jury uses the following standards to guide their decision:
  • Projection “blind" jury
  • The jury will view each artist’s set of six images. One of the six images shall be an actual image of the artist's booth showing the body of work. The images will be projected in two rows, three images on top and three images on bottom, simultaneously.
  • The ideal work will reflect excellence.
  • The work will be well conceived and expertly executed.
  • The work will show an identity of design.
  • All work must be original and made by the hand of the applying artist.
  • Artwork is considered solely on the merit of the work pictured. This and the submitted Artist Statement will be the only criteria considered. (See below regarding Artist Statement).
  • The work will be professionally and creatively presented. The better the image presented, the better your opportunity.
  • The work presented for jury will be representative of the artist’s body of work. If the work is not current, do not submit the image.
All applications from professional artists must submit an authentic booth image (that is, an actual photo/image of your booth).
  • Booth images may not be created in a computer program or manipulated, enhanced or otherwise affected by a computer in any way.
  • Booth images may not contain the artist name, company name or any other affiliation; artists may use Photoshop techniques to remove the name(s). 
  • The booth image must include the entire booth, not a portion.
  • The booth image must be that of your outdoor booth (no indoor booth images).
Please Note:  If you submit an application without the booth image or the booth image does not follow the criteria as stated here, your application will be returned to you.  You may choose to re-submit the application under our rules.  Regardless of whether you choose to re-submit the application under our rules, application fees will not be returned for not following the stated rules.  Artists may choose to submit the image as is with the understanding that a full point will be deducted from the artist’s final score for not adhering to the guidelines above after being offered the opportunity to make a change. A note about the booth image. The booth image shows the jury your body of work, provides dimension and scale, a sense of artistic and creative presentation, and reflects what your booth will look like at the show in June.  It will also report to the jury if the work submitted in the individual images reflects your current style and overall body of work.  Please note that EIA’s will show a sixth image in place of the booth image.

Artist Statement  The application will automatically have a question for an artist's description of material and technique of up to 300 characters. You are encouraged to enter a description of material and technique that is concise and explains well the body of work. The jury responds best to a description of technique rather than how you are inspired. The first (up to) 300 characters of the submitted statement will be read aloud to the jury.
Based on past experiences in the jury room, the following are provided as a “good statement” and a “bad statement”
Good Statement = Photographs printed by artist over a layer of luminous gold paint onto powder-coated steel. Editions of 1.
Bad Statement = I take my photographs while contemplating my existence in the face of danger.  

  • Festival will notify applicants of results using the email provided in your ZAPPlication.
  • In addition to the email notification, accepted artists will be posted on www.desmoinesartsfestival.org.
  • Results will not be given over the phone.
All decisions of the jury are final.  DMAF reserves the right to reject any application if it does not comply with the covenants and rules set forth in this document.  

The Emerging Iowa Artist Program (EIA) Iowa residents currently enrolled in or recently graduated (within one year) from a university, college or art school anywhere in the U.S. are eligible to apply to the Emerging Iowa Artists (EIA) program.  This program provides individuals the opportunity to promote their talents and sell their artwork at the Des Moines Arts Festival. It also provides opportunities to artists beginning their careers.   Artists can participate in the EIA program for two years (either consecutively or non-consecutively). This program is free to qualified artists. There is no charge to submit images for the jury or for booth space once the work is accepted by the jury.   Qualified artists are required to apply to the show in the same manner as professional artists and submit their work in accordance with the specifications.  All applicants are required to provide at the time of application proof of residency and enrollment to ensure the integrity of the program.  All work submitted is juried by the same jury. All rules and submission requirements remain the same for EIA applicants.   If you are a qualified EIA, apply under the medium (category) "Emerging Iowa Artist." To waive the application fee, you must enter the coupon code EIA2019.  The Festival will NOT refund the application fee if you do not enter the coupon code.  Please note that DMAF requires a booth image from its professional artists as part of the application. EIA applicants will instead provide an additional image of their work in place of the booth image.

The DMAF considers its enforcement of the rules our exclusive right and responsibility.  Festival officials will visit all displays at intervals throughout the Festival to ensure that exhibitors comply with all Festival rules, including but not limited to checking identification.  Your submitted application and signature on the Artist Agreement (for those invited) is your indication that you agree that noncompliance can result in expulsion and ineligibility for jurying, awards and participation in future Festivals. If an artist is removed from the show for non-compliance of the rules, no booth fee refunds will be issued nor compensation made, and the artist will be ineligible to exhibit for a period of at least two years.   

1. All work exhibited must be original art produced by the exhibiting artist(s). Work done by a production studio, in classes or workshops, “Buy-sell” and/or imports, work from kits, commercial designs, and derivative work is prohibited. Artists selling work that is not their own will be expelled from the Festival.
2. It is the work of the artist that is juried. Therefore, any change in the overall body of work by the artist after the jury process accepts the juried work is not considered juried and may not be exhibited until approved by the director of the show. Absolutely no consideration will be made if the work was submitted for jurying and not accepted by the jury.
3. No reproductions are allowed.  If it’s a copy of any kind, regardless of medium, it may not be exhibited.
4. All artists associated with the juried work must be present to exhibit. If artists apply as partners, each artist must be present. If each artist is not present, the artist who is present will not be permitted to setup or exhibit. No proxy of any kind is permitted. If artists working as partners are found to apply as a single artist, the artist will be disqualified without a refund regardless of the calendar of stated deadlines.
5. Booth and display must remain intact during all hours of the show. 
6. A photo ID is required at artist check-in by all artists, including partners, accepted to exhibit. In addition, the Festival reserves the right to check ID each day of the Festival to ensure the artist is present. Artists may NOT setup or have their booth setup until they have provided proof of their presence.
7. The sale of original and/or non-original promotional items is prohibited. Promotional items include things like t-shirts, postcards, cups, hats, etc.
8. Artists are responsible for proper insurance and protection of work and setup. The DMAF will not be responsible for damage to work or setup for any reason. All artists are required to maintain and provide proof of insurance before they are allowed to setup and exhibit.
9. Artists are responsible for collecting and reporting all taxes, including Iowa sales tax.
10. We do not allow sharing of booths except under extraordinary circumstances and ONLY if prior approval is provided in writing from the director. Absolutely no consideration is given if the request is made at the time of set-up or during the show.
11.  Artists are not permitted to use cheaply-made, light-weight, accordion-style pop-up tents. The tented structure must be commercial or professional grade with at least 40 pounds on each corner and with stabilizing maneuvers that provide maximum safety to artists and guests. Any variation is prohibited and will result in the artist being excluded from the Festival without compensation or consideration.  

In addition to the rules of exhibiting, the following guidelines/restrictions apply to the jury process:
Artists may submit multiple applications with a distinctly different body of work.
Applications may NOT be of mixed work. Artists whose work is selected in multiple mediums are eligible for a single, double booth space.    

Upon receipt of the application, the Festival reserves the right to return any application if it is deemed noncompliant or does not provide the information requested. If you submit an application that does not follow the criteria as requested, your application may be returned to you for modification. Application fees will not be returned or refunded. Artists may choose to submit the application as-is with the understanding that a full point may be deducted from the artist’s final first-round score for not adhering to the guidelines set forth in this application after being offered the opportunity to make a change.

PLEASE NOTE – REGARDING COLLABORATING ARTISTS: If you are submitting an application as a collaborating artist/partner, you must submit the name(s) with the application. Please follow the instructions provided on ZAPP. You may not add a partner after the jury. If you have any questions or difficulties registering the partner, please contact the ZAPP office before submitting your application.


Booth Information

Booth fees and artist paperwork including the Artist Agreement are due by March 30, 2019.  The following fee schedule applies for 2019:
Single booth fee:  $475
Double-WIDE booth fee:  $950 (limited to those artists juried in two mediums)
Corner booth fee:  $625 ($475/$150 additional fee paid by separate check)
Double-DEEP booth fee:  $950 (available only on the North side of Grand Ave.)
Double-DEEP corner booth:  $1100 (available only on the North side of Grand Ave.)

Many thanks for your interest in the Des Moines Arts Festival. Should you have any questions about the process, please do not hesitate to call Stephen King, Executive Director, at 515.286.4927 or email sking@desmoinesartsfestival.org.
We value your participation and look forward to seeing you in June 2019!