Illustrations from North Polk Middle School art students are incorporated in the rings of the sculpture "Whispers of Nature." 


Polk County’s three major ecosystemsprairie, woodlands and wetlandsare represented in a sculpture at the new Jester Park Nature Center, which hosts its grand opening Sunday, Aug. 5, from 1 to 5 p.m.

The sculpture "Whispers of Nature," is the work of Reinaldo Correa, architecture lecturer at Iowa State University. Correa’s design was selected from more than 25 submissions.

"Iowa continually surprises me with its beauty," Correa says. "When you think of whispers, you don’t notice them at firstthey’re subtle. But if you focus and hone in on the experience, you start to grasp the things we take for granted."

The 12-foot-tall, tree-like sculpture features three rings, representing the local ecosystems. A fourth ring near eye level encourages visitors to reflect upon Iowa’s ecological history, as well as their own conservation efforts. "Art is sometimes taken for granted and seen as an amenity," Correa observes. "But art can relay a story and allow us to think about our role in different themes and narratives."

1980s bathroom makeover
The 80s were a good era. Unfortunately, bathroom designs from that decade are not as timeless as the music. See the approach used to modernize two bathrooms in this 1980s home, including a link to before photos and floor plans. ... Read more »

By Design presents dsmDining —

Part of a design "materials board" for Teddy Maroons suggests the colors and character of the place, coming to Ingersoll Avenue.

By Wini Moranville

Chris Diebel and Kolby Jones, partners in Bubba—Southern Comforts, will open Teddy Maroons this fall at 23rd and Ingersoll (in the new mixed-use structure called the Soll). But of course, you know that already from following me on my All Things Food DSM Facebook page, where I broke the news last week.

Here’s a little more to the story:

• Yes, the name of the venue is a play on the rivalry between Theodore Roosevelt High School and Dowling Catholic High School.

• No chef has been named as yet, but Diebel promises an elevated take on American bar-grill food, including salads that "aren’t just an afterthought." (I’m holding you to that, Mr. Diebel!) Weekend brunch will also be served.

• The 40-seat bar will feature 16 beers on tap as well as a cocktail program highlighting fresh-squeezed juices.

• While there will be big-screen TVs in the bar, the 88-seat dining room will be TV-free. So much the better to enjoy the big, cozy booths with five-foot high-back dividers and the massive 12-foot glass windows that will wrap around the place. "This is not a typical dark tavern,"  Diebel says. A 50-seat patio will open next spring.

• Diebel described an interior decor inspired by geometric patters and an "East Coast prep school" color palette and vibe. Check out the mood board (above) he shared with me for a peek.

Follow @TeddyMaroons on Facebook and Instagram for updates.

Curved sofas are so dreamy…we love this trend. ... Read more »

The musical "Six-on-Six" captures the glory and heartache of a treasured era in Iowa basketball.


Robert John Ford’s latest production, "Six-on-SixThe Musical," celebrates a quirky, cherished era of girls' high school basketball in Iowa—a time that ended a quarter-century ago and that featured six girls on a team, playing a game with its own set of rules. The story encompasses sports, politics and young love, played out with 18 original songs and a cast of 44.  

Performances at Valley High School's Staplin Performing Arts Center are scheduled Aug. 3-5 and 9-12. Showtimes are 2 p.m. Sundays, 7:30 p.m. other days. Ticket prices range from $15 to $30. For additional details and advance tickets, click here. To read more about Robert John Ford, read this story from the dsm archives.   

Women working in munitions and other essential industries were instrumental in ensuring victory in World War II.


The historic film "The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter" will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9, at the Des Moines Art Center’s Levitt Auditorium, the last in a series of feminist film-and-commentary programs called "Nevertheless, She Persisted." Attendance is free, but reservations are encouraged to ensure seating.   

Post-film remarks will be provided by Abby Dubisar, associate professor of English and faculty affiliate in Women’s and Gender Studies at Iowa State University, and Sandra Looft, director of the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center and faculty affiliate in Women’s and Gender Studies at ISU. The series is presented in conjunction with two exhibitions at the Art Center: "In the Spirit of Louise Noun" and "This Woman’s Work." To read more about the exhibit, read this recent story in dsm magazine.

Country sensation Sturgill Simpson, shown in a performance on Saturday Night Live, plays the Hinterland Festival Friday.


As local as the Nadas and as national as Sturgill Simpson and Band of Horses, the annual Hinterland Musical Festival cranks it up once again this week, with a steady stream of performances Friday and Saturday, Aug. 3 and 4.

In the finest of music fest traditions, Hinterland includes an expansive campground at the festival site, the Avenue of the Saints Amphitheater at St. Charles, a half-hour south of Des Moines. And whether you’re day-tripping or camping overnight, shuttle buses run continuously between the site and Southridge Mall. Ample parking is also available on the grounds.

Day passes in advance are $49 for Friday, $59 for Saturday, and $95 for both days. Food vendors are standing by, as are activities for kids and other entertainments. A full lineup of performances, schedules, FAQs and other helpful stuff is available here:

Barry Phipps will talk about his experience photographing small-town Iowa on Monday in Valley Junction.


When photographer Barry Phipps relocated to Iowa City from Chicago in 2012, he knew nothing of Iowa. He began taking day trips across the state, taking photographs, which are now incorporated in his book, "Between Gravity and What Cheer." Phipps will give a free photography/book talk at Artisan Gallery 218 on Monday, Aug. 6 at 6:30 p.m.

Without condescending or overemphasizing the decline of small-town America, Phipps documents rural communities as they are now, noting abstract shapes and colors as he photographs business districts with quirky and/or artful signs, streetscapes and landscapes, buildings with ghosts of paint from previous lives, and the occasional resident.

Artisan Gallery 218 is at 218 Fifth St. in Valley Junction. Copies of Phipps' book will be available for purchase.

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