Polk County Heritage Gallery

Polk County Heritage Gallery Hours: 11am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday. The Polk County Heritage Gallery is a 501(c)(3) organization and is funded solely through entry fees received from gallery-sponsored competitions, gallery rentalfees paid by artists, private donations, and by contributions made by Gallery visitors.

The Gallery is also funded in part by grants from Bravo Greater Des Moines and from the Polk County Board of Supervisors. Gallery hours are 11:00 to 4:30, Monday through Friday. Admission is free. Your comments are always welcome. For more information, call us at 515-286-2242. Visit us at www.polkcountyheritagegallery.org

Mission: The mission of the Polk County Heritage Gallery is to provide a multi-use exhibition space for artistic and historical exhibits, to provide a unique facility contributing to the cultural development of Des Moines and Polk County, and to complement existing educational and cultural institutions.

Operating as usual


Congratulations to photographers who have been accepted into our F/STOP 2020 digital exhibit! We *can't wait* to share this exhibit with you. Stay tuned!

Roger D. Feldhans
Phil Roeder
Eric Burson
Mike Hiatt
Katharine Vogel
Jody Boyer
Travis Hanson-Pollock
Nancy Brown
Cullen Powers
Diane Michaud Lowry
Kerrie Hill
Aaron Graves
Stewart Buck
Jody Boyer
Tj Metelman
Deb Shoning
Bruce James Bales
Phil Roeder
Penny Adam
Mike Hiatt
Mike Cox
Diane Michaud Lowry
Eric Burson
Ann Evans
Makenzie Hafel
Jason Boyers-Liechty
Kelsey A Seay
Penny Adam
Aaron Graves
Bruce James Bales
Brett Roseman
Deb Shoning
Brett Roseman
Mike Hiatt
Tatiana Giacinti
Diane Michaud Lowry
Danielle Eisentrager
Austin Neal
Amenda Tate
Tatiana Giacinti
Katharine Vogel

It's the last day that you can submit to F/STOP 2020! Visit www.polkcountyheritagegallery.org
Polk County Heritage Gallery

It's the last day that you can submit to F/STOP 2020! Visit www.polkcountyheritagegallery.org

Downtown Des Moines Art Gallery. For local and greater Des Moines artists. Beautiful and ideal space for artists based in Des Moines and Iowa. Organized your art exhibition and artists show in downtown Des Moines Gallery.

Call for entries ends on Monday! Photographers: Make sure to get your best-of-the-worst photos of 2020 submitted by Nove...
Call For Entries — Polk County Heritage Gallery

Call for entries ends on Monday!

Photographers: Make sure to get your best-of-the-worst photos of 2020 submitted by November 2nd.

We started 2020 with an optimistic, thoughtful look at the issues people are facing as we approached the caucuses. If we had only known what was coming... We could give you a list of all the horrible things this dumpster-fire-of-a-year has brought us, but we’ll spare you. Is it over yet? Just lik...

Don't forget to enter our annual photography exhibit: F/STOP 2020This year's show will be juried by Brittany Brooke Crow...

Don't forget to enter our annual photography exhibit: F/STOP 2020

This year's show will be juried by Brittany Brooke Crow See more of her work at brittanybrookecrow.com

Call for entries for F/STOP 2020 closes next Monday, November 2, 2020 at 5 p.m.
Visit http://www.polkcountyheritagegallery.org to submit your photography.

**Don't forget to submit your photos for our juried exhibit!**Meet the F/STOP 2020 juror:Brittany Brooke Crow's art expl...

**Don't forget to submit your photos for our juried exhibit!**

Meet the F/STOP 2020 juror:

Brittany Brooke Crow's art explores ideas of intimacy, vulnerability, distance and disruption, and the performative action necessary to create is an inherent part of the content of her work. In order to finish a series that captured her sense of connection to and distance from former lovers, she drove from Iowa to Washington state just to photograph one person with a large-format view camera. Crow earned a BFA in studio art and a BA in art history from the University of Northern Iowa in 2013. She has since directed the art gallery at Wartburg College, taught for a semester at the same institution, worked for multiple art centers, and served as a governor-appointed board member on the Iowa Arts Council Board of Directors. https://brittanybrookecrow.com/

***Call for photos!***2020 has been an. . . interesting year. Let's be honest it needs to F/STOP. We're excited to annou...
Call For Entries — Polk County Heritage Gallery

***Call for photos!***

2020 has been an. . . interesting year. Let's be honest it needs to F/STOP.

We're excited to announce our 3rd themed exhibit. Submit the photos that will help us all to remember this dumpster-fire of a year!

The exhibit, and awards ceremony, will all be virtual.


We started 2020 with an optimistic, thoughtful look at the issues people are facing as we approached the caucuses. If we had only known what was coming... We could give you a list of all the horrible things this dumpster-fire-of-a-year has brought us, but we’ll spare you. Is it over yet? Just lik...

**Call for entries opens October 16**It's been a quite a year! We started with a look at issues we care about - with hop...

**Call for entries opens October 16**

It's been a quite a year! We started with a look at issues we care about - with hopes that things would get better. We won't list them here- you know it's been a hard year.

For our 3rd themed photography exhibit, this time 100% virtual, we'll be asking Iowa photographs to share their best (or worst) of 2020!

Polk County Heritage Gallery's cover photo

Polk County Heritage Gallery's cover photo

*Honorable Mention* Artists PRofileEmergence (Dyptrich)Sundie + Brad Ruppert www.sculpturalfelt.comIG: @sculpturalfeltFB...

*Honorable Mention* Artists PRofile

Emergence (Dyptrich)
Sundie + Brad Ruppert

IG: @sculpturalfelt
FB: @sculpturalfeltbybradandsundieruppert

About the artwork
After five years of focusing on wildlife portraits while innovating and perfecting our felt-sculpting techniques we were inspired to create some abstract pieces. We work as a team, but we have very separate jobs in the process and it is probably best described as collaborative jazz fusion. Because of this unusual collaboration it is important that we both “see” the vision of what we are creating and that is much easier to do with an animal sketch than an abstract design.

“Emergence” is the premier piece of the beginning of a new direction and body of work for us.
2020 was on track to be our break out year; we had been juried into eight of the best spring art shows, ones we have been trying to get into for years. We had a fantastic body of work to fill our booth and we were excited to get on the road for ten solid weeks, coast to coast from Arizona to Texas to South Carolina. Ironically, instead, we were sent home from Scotsdale into quarantine....the complete opposite of “Emergence.” In fact, this artwork hasn’t even emerged from its blanket wrapped travel protection since March.

Everything about this piece says “Emergence.”
The transition from dark to light, subtle to bold.
The underlying wood structure’s unfolding lobes creating depth and movement.
The rescued hatmaker’s felt that is rescued from the landfill, then dyed, cut and nailed to the wood base to emerge as a piece of art rich in texture and impossible not to reach out and touch.
The leap of our art career to the next level.
And ironically, the eventual emergence of our country from this pandemic.

About the artist
Brad and Sundie Ruppert (www.sculpturalfelt.com) have a fascination with texture and the need to innovate by creating unique mixed media sculptures. Their most recent body of work gives new life to perhaps the oldest textile used today, fur felt, the remnants trimmed from the brims of felt hats. They have developed a process of cutting, bending and layering the intricate felt pieces over carved wood, creating incredible likenesses of their natural subject matter.

These two Iowa artists reference multiple photographic images to realistically interpret the color, movement and emotion of their nature-inspired subjects. Sundie explains, “We try to capture the soul that shines through bright eyes, soft fur and sleek feathers.” Brad adds, “Viewers are drawn in by a type of optical illusion. The soulful eyes grab them first. Next, the brain tries to comprehend if they are viewing a painting or a sculpture and then finally, they reach out and touch the soft felt to fully indulge in the experience.”

The Rupperts’ appreciation of nature developed over a decade as Art and Creative Directors specializing in gardening for Meredith Corporation’s Better Homes and Gardens and Home Garden magazines. Then, as pioneers in the early days of e-commerce they spearheaded the creative look and feel of garden.com and companion printed magalog, Garden Escape. In 2000, they left corporate America to become full-time artists.

How is the current time affecting your artwork?
Well with no shows to travel to, it has allowed us to take care of many things that have been neglected to get done around our home and studio. We finished a beautiful outdoor studio we call The PandemDECK. We have enjoyed growing a garden again and having relaxing weekly outdoor dinners with our adult son.

We have been lucky enough to have some commissions to work on to keep our skills fresh in between applying for loans, grants and boosting our online presence. We have also been very moved by the events of recent weeks and are brainstorming the best way for us to have a voice that will help create moving change in our society going forward.

*Honorable Mention* Artist ProfileThird Mercs Pt IV: Retractor RydazEthan Edvenson ethanedvenson.comInstagram: ethanedve...

*Honorable Mention* Artist Profile
Third Mercs Pt IV: Retractor Rydaz
Ethan Edvenson

Instagram: ethanedvenson

About the artwork
For the main structure in the piece, I was thinking about the designs of cathedrals or some sort of expanding tower in the Arctic standing in as a brain that was bursting with the secrets it held within. I specifically wanted there to be no words to hint at what was happening with the characters in the piece (outside of one hidden sentence about someone wearing jean shorts in such cold weather) but these two opposing groups are trying to gain entrance to the tower, unaware of what they're getting into. It is a continuation from a few pieces I've made about some of the characters, but with less text as to show and not tell as they say. I also wanted to break away from the standard rectangle as much as possible by adding layers of other imagery and marks on paper as well as paint and Spackle for a weird texture, and expanding outward for a stranger shape. Plus, I wanted the glowing tower to be complimented by a shadowy, dark area shooting beneath it.

About the artist
I am a fine artist who emphasizes in drawing. I primarily work with India ink and acrylic paint on wooden panels and different types of paper with other materials such as spray paint or pastel sneaking in sometimes. Many of my works are defined by their loose brushstrokes and linework, use of gravity, and a high control of color. My work mainly explores different aspects of paranoia, isolation, what’s in a name, and consumption of media with touches of humor sprinkled in. I regularly choose these topics because they’re constantly on my mind and I can use drawing as an outlet to tolerate and reflect upon these feelings. I also am heavily influenced by my friends and the topics that are relevant in our conversations. Visually, I depict these themes through filling a surface with abstract monuments and characters which come together (occasionally with text) to create a narrative scene or design.

I was born and raised here in Des Moines. Influenced by a variety of books and television shows, most of my early youth was spent drawing as a way of retelling the stories he had heard or making his own and this eventually grew into me making comics based on my own ideas when I was a teenager. However I hadn’t considered beginning a career in the art field until my publications teacher in high school asked me to draw cartoons for the school newspaper. Recently, I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a BFA in drawing and a minor in Art History.

How is the current time affecting your artwork?
Recently, I graduated from UNI this semester. I wanted to learn more techniques with printmaking before I was done, but since the studio was closed when they cancelled classes and I had to move back to Des Moines, I decided to do the closest thing I could to it by making stencils and using spray paint or just messing around on photoshop. I think it was one of those compromises that ended up for the better and I've just been doing those even now that I'm graduated. Otherwise, I've set up a studio in my basement in the time being and it's worked as an alright space to make drawings for the time being.

*Honorable Mention* Artist ProfileLook AwayMaggie Douglas Instagram: @mdouglas.studioWebsite: mdouglas-studio.com About ...

*Honorable Mention* Artist Profile
Look Away
Maggie Douglas

Instagram: @mdouglas.studio
Website: mdouglas-studio.com

About the artwork
Look Away began with my usual process of creating abstract work which involves putting down layers of watered down paint and reacting to how it naturally dries. But soon after the first layer dried, I noticed a shoreline developing in the piece. This led me to a message on climate change, pollution, micro plastics etc. and all that is negatively effecting our oceans. I felt that adding a figure looking out into the distance shows our human tendency to avoid conflict and tension for our own comfort. We soak up the beauty and ignore the rest.

About the artist
I was born in Des Moines, Iowa and graduated from Loras College with a B.A. in Art and Digital Design in 2014. I have worked as a Graphic Designer since graduating and in 2018 began to focus more of my attention on studio art. My body of work entails 2-D multimedia pieces on paper and canvas. I see my pieces as a study of water from its micro to its macro form. In my work I use water as my inspiration, my subject, and my medium. The ebb and flow process, sometimes peaceful, sometimes forceful, guides my process as I act and react to what is on the canvas.

How is the current time affecting your artwork?
Art is my therapy. The process of art-making brings me so much joy. It is my escape most of the time, but I see some of my work bringing in the reality of the world today. Typically, I create the work for myself, but I am beginning to find the value of creating work that makes a more direct statement about the world and asks the viewer to reflect on it.

*Merit Award* Artist ProfileThe Arms of an AngelJill Wells www.jillwellsart.comInstagram: jillwellsartFacebook: Jill Wel...

*Merit Award* Artist Profile
The Arms of an Angel
Jill Wells

Instagram: jillwellsart
Facebook: Jill WellsArt

About the artwork
This piece was inspired by Niccolo dell Arca, "Sorrow Over Dead Christ." I lost my only biological child, William, to SIDS 15 years ago and creating this work helped me cope, process and begin to heal. This work also allows his legacy to be told. This piece is forever a part of me.

About the artist
I am an Iowa native and a graduate of Drake University with a BFA in painting. My artwork seeks to express emotions and communicate narratives.

How is the current time affecting your artwork?
My current environment is helping me create, as I am blessed to work from home. I am also blessed to have a home studio and the combination of both has fostered new work.

*Merit Award* Artist ProfileMerit AwardThe Arctic Tern Never Rests :: Ephemera No.3Julie Russell-Steuart www.caveworkspr...

*Merit Award* Artist Profile
Merit Award
The Arctic Tern Never Rests :: Ephemera No.3
Julie Russell-Steuart

IG: @caveworks
FB: https://www.facebook.com/CaveworksLetterpress/
Behance: https://www.behance.net/julierussell2

About the artwork
From new a series of prints that aim to react to and are broadly, "exploring the ephemeral nature and emotions of the current zeitgeist." Referencing the Arctic Tern of environmental activist Terry Tempest Williams’ essay, “Ground Truthing” which is an absolute must read. Find it at https://orionmagazine.org/article/ground-truthing/ I also draw upon the idea of networks that connect us, and the necessary work of activism for a better future. I like to experiment with combining processes and this work combines drypoint etching, collograph, monoprint, and hand-set wood and metal type on 100% cotton rag paper. Monoprint background has small variations. Extremely limited edition of 5 printed on my Vandercook Uni III proof press.

About the artist
Visual artist Julie Russell-Steuart grew up in Maryland and earned a BFA in General Fine Art from Maryland Institute, College of Art. Her work encompasses multiple mediums with a particular interest the synthesis of word and image. She publishes letterpress books of poetry, artist’s books, and prints on a vintage Vandercook printing press. A guillotine paper cutter, Kluge platen press, and six type cabinets full of metal typefaces and various antique cuts round out her print shop. Her artwork combines printmaking techniques like linoleum carving, pressure printing, collograph, wood engraving, and drypoint. She has shown her work internationally, and her books are collected by several University libraries, including The University of Iowa, Texas State University, and the University of Kentucky Lucille Little Fine Arts Library. She resides in Reinbeck, Iowa, with her husband David, and daughter Cassandra.

How is the current time affecting your artwork?
I began this series of prints to respond to current events in 2017, using the basic title of Ephemera, which refers to something that is fleeting and of the moment. In letterpress/printing history, it refers to pieces that are transitory or meant for a brief time, such as a poster for a show. I own some wood type that is over a hundred years old, and it is interesting to think about all the posters or headlines they were used for. I use them again, acknowledging their history. The series so far are all included in the show. They all have quite different treatments, but share the urgency of translating the moment. I am working on a new print that will also be centered around drypoint like the third in the series. Again, it will reflect a activist or human sense/response to our world and times right now. I draw a lot of energy from my recent job as a field organizer for Bernie Sanders.

*BEST IN SHOW*  Artist FeatureInto the WeedsLinda Lewis lindalewisart.com  *  instagram.com/lindalewissculpture About th...

*BEST IN SHOW* Artist Feature

Into the Weeds
Linda Lewis

lindalewisart.com * instagram.com/lindalewissculpture

About the artwork
I grew up in the country outside of a small town in Michigan. Our house was surrounded by unused farm fields that had turned to 'weeds.' They were full of wild flowers like Queen Ann's lace, daisy's and black eyed Susan's. I still have images of what it looked like when running through the flowers and bringing some back to our house to enjoy. Later in life when I had a busy life with work, 4 kids, graduate school, activities and keeping a house 'running' I often thought about the saying 'into the weeds'. I remember thinking how I was in the thick of things but attempting to remind myself there is a good side to the chaos and exhaustion I was experiencing. Yes there was chaos and endless issues to deal with but the people were just so amazing. They shaped who I came and am becoming. Just like some people considered a field as being a bunch of weeds, I saw that plot of land as a limitless source of flowers.

About the artist
When I attended college I took art classes as an 'extra' because pre college schools I attended had no art program or teachers. I lived in a small enough town that attending art classes at a nearby art center were not available. There were a few elementary teachers however that told my parents they ought to foster my art ability. My parents had no idea how to do that but they asked a cousin who was getting her graduate degree in ceramics and metal smithing. Her response was. "provide her with paper, paints, pastels and anything else you can find'. They let me be and I experimented with lots of materials with no rules or constraints. I built cities and buildings in the huge sandbox we had. I built houses for Barbie out of Lincoln Logs and boxes, made the furniture and even made Barbie and Ken's clothes. All this 'making' led me to signing up for all the art classes I could in college (Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa). Again I was encouraged to get a major in Art butI didn't know what the possibilities were so I got a teaching degree and taught in Des Moines Public Schools for 35 years. During that time I dabbled, used different materials and mostly painted. Finally as our children left home I started taking ceramics classes through the DSM Art Center and eventually took a week long workshop with a narrative sculptor. That's what reignited my desire to start seriously making artwork 12 years ago. Since then I've done several color show around Iowa, participated in many juried art festivals in Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, Des Moines, Denver as well as many others. I've been fortunate to participate in nationally recognized juried art exhibitions as well. I continue to explore possibilities in clay and have recently started experimenting with drypoint and mono printing. Always new frontiers!

How is the current time affecting your artwork?
Cover-19 has given me the chance to create with no particular end in mind but the freedom to create. I have days where I am so inspired and other days that I may not want to go to the studio. Not sure why. I continue to go to the studio however and to encourage myself. The incidents leading up to demonstrations and a renewed Black Lives Matter movement have saddened me on the one hand but inspired me on the other. Because the people closest to me, my husband and children, are people of color I have witnessed systematic racism for years. One feels helpless and being caucasian I have often witnessed very little understanding or attempts for understanding of the lives of people of color. I have been personally touched and strengthened by my interactions with people of color so when I witness this wonderful resource dismissed, taken for granted, misunderstood and degraded (as well as other destructive actions) I feel helpless. Attending one of the demonstrations in Des Moines and watching the peaceful demonstrations on television have given me hope. My challenge is to figure out how I can visually convey this struggle that is happening in our communities and nation and come out with artwork that is also hopeful.


111 Court Ave
Des Moines, IA

Opening Hours

Monday 11:00 - 16:30
Tuesday 11:00 - 16:30
Wednesday 11:00 - 16:30
Thursday 11:00 - 16:30
Friday 11:00 - 16:30




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Our Story

GALLERY MISSION The mission of the Heritage Gallery is to provide a multi-use exhibition space for artistic and historical exhibits; to provide a unique facility contributing to the cultural development of Des Moines and Polk County; and to complement existing educational and cultural institutions.


The Heritage Gallery represents a commitment by the people of Polk County to preserve a beautiful example of historic federal architecture, in the Beaux Arts classical style, giving it a new purpose. The building which houses the Heritage Gallery at 111 Court Avenue was built in 1908 and served as the main Post Office for the citizens of Des Moines.

In 1975, the building was placed on the National Register of Historical Places; and later that year, Polk County bought the building to use for the County's offices. The north lobby of the building was restored and turned into The Heritage Gallery, an exhibition space for the visual arts. The Gallery's Advisory board was formed in 1979 and the first show at the Gallery was held in 1980.

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Wish could see in person. This year's Iowa Exhibited appears to have one of the best shows I have seen over the years. Some remarkable pieces. I hope many take advantage of the opportunity to view these works.
This is a long shot, but does anyone recognize the man in this photo? The daughter (Anne Rawland Gabriel) of the woman in the framed photograph is trying to track him down to purchase a copy of his work. I suspect the framed portrait was part of a show at the Polk County Heritage Gallery. Thanks in advance for your help.