This year’s Ingersoll Live event will serve as the kick-off to a new public art program that features installations along the busy commercial corridor as two pieces will be unveiled during the annual festivities.
“We’re really concentrated on arts and culture,” says Emily Toribio, event planner for Ingersoll Live. “There will be some new, fun and interesting things coming along the Ingersoll corridor” in terms of public art.
“Ingersoll has always been home to a diverse mix of entertainment, dining and artisan venues,” she continues. “We want to celebrate what there is to offer, both during the festival and every day of the year.”
The 12th annual Ingersoll Live will be on Aug. 29, a week later than usual, in the area between 28th and 29th Streets along Ingersoll Avenue. Activities start at 4 p.m. with entertainment running until 11 p.m. Once again there will be two stages of musical acts.
Local musical arts will take place on two stages throughout the evening
This year’s festival is being held a week later because the Iowa State Fair moved back a week. Organizers are promoting it as a back-to-school celebration.
“I hope everybody comes out to enjoy it,” says Matt Coen, chairman of the Ingersoll Live committee. “It’ll be a celebration of the first week of school, too, the way it works out.”
“The event will mark the beginning of the school year and be the must-attend event for the end of the summer season,” Toribio says.
New this year, is that both stages will be placed on the street. One was in the Palmer’s parking lot last year, which Toribio says made it seem disconnected from the rest of the event.
Entertainment begins with a performance by the Isiserettes Drill and Drum Corps. The group of Des Moines-area youth, ages 7 to 18, will perform from 4 to 4:30 p.m.
West Stage entertainment:
- Brother Trucker, an Americana roots rock band, from 4:30-6 p.m.
- The Maytags, a Des Moines soul band with a folk-tinged sound, from 6:30-8 p.m.
- Sonny Humbucker Band, a guitar-driven rock band, from 8:30-10 p.m.
East Stage entertainment:
- Los Parranderos, which plays a mixture of folk and urban music from Latin America, from 5-6:30 p.m.
- Elegant Gypsy, a band that plays an eclectic mix of soul, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll, from 7-8:30 p.m.
- Faculty Lounge, a band whose members are school teachers, coaches or administrators in the Des Moines area. The band plays an assortment of jazz, funk, soul and R & B music. They perform from 9-11 p.m.
Public art becomes a new component of annual festival
In addition to the regular festivities, public art will be a big part of this year’s festival, says Coen.
Matthew Kluber’s “So Much Water So Close to Home,” a piece of projection art that will be visible on the side of the Adio Chiropractic building, 2925 Ingersoll Ave., will be unveiled, as will Tommy Riefe’s sculpture, “Towards Tomorrow” in front of Price Chopper.
Kluber’s piece is a video of a swimmer bobbing up and down through black and white waves. Kluber, an associate professor at Grinnell College, has the concept for the piece a couple of years ago, but the technology had not yet advanced to the point that he could make the project a reality, TJ Moberg, owner of Moberg Gallery on Ingersoll Avenue says.
The video will be projected onto the side of the building during dark hours, which will depend on the time of the year, but roughly from twilight until 2 a.m.
Riefe’s white aluminum sculpture will stand 10 feet tall. Riefe is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa.
“It’s the first of a series of public art pieces that will be unveiled on Ingersoll and Grand” avenues, Coen says. “The idea is really to create a public art trail that would connect the Art Center with the Sculpture Park. We want to leverage those amazing resources in the community and make some stronger connections between them.”
Moberg is the consultant for the public art project and has been working with the Restoration Ingersoll Committee on potential locations for public art. He’s identified about 50 areas that, over time, could be a site for a public art piece. As money is available through either the committee or the area’s Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District, more artwork will be installed.
Moberg is working with several different artists to develop pieces that would be appropriate for various locations. In some cases, he gives the committee a group of three artists and their work to consider for a spot. Through his gallery, he’s been able to use his knowledge of various artists to determine what would be appropriate for installation along Ingersoll.
Another of those artists is Larissa Kabel of Des Moines. A few years ago she designed the holiday card for the White House. Moberg says she’s doing some great things in the art world.
“It would be neat to get her first public piece of art in our hometown,” he says.
While several of the artists Moberg is considering are from Iowa — Iowa artists are always the committee’s first choice for a project — artwork from artists across the country could one day find a home along Ingersoll Avenue. There is an artist from Maine and another from Portland, Oregon, who are both being considered for mural projects, as well as a couple of graffiti artists from Lost Angeles.
Event includes wide range of entertainment for all ages
Ingersoll Live is free to attend, as is the entertainment. One of the biggest changes organizers made to this year’s event is to offer rides, including a train, a balloon artist, a henna artist, a face painter, a magician and inflatables for children, all for free. Ten artists will show their handiwork, which ranges from various genres of art to jewelry making, in booths. Food, drink and vendor items will be for sale.
This year there also will be an event called Cookies & Canvas, when easels will be set up with large pieces of paper for kids to create their own pieces of artwork.
There also will be impromptu “pop-up” acts that will perform along the street which will include a magician. Organizers also were working to book street performers such as area dance clubs, school cheerleading groups and martial artists.
The bicycle valet will continue again this year. It’s located on the east side of The Mansion, 2801 Ingersoll Ave., for anyone who rides their bicycle to the event.
The budget for this year’s event almost doubled from last year to $25,000 in order to provide the free children and family activities. The event is paid for through vendor fees and sponsorships from neighborhood businesses and the community. Mediacom is the main sponsor of the event. Principal Financial Group and Meredith Corp. also are large sponsors.
“With this being a grassroots event, we have tremendous support from our local businesses,” Coen says. “I don’t think we could overstate that. It’s very critical.”
Event created to draw attention to thriving business district
Ingersoll Live, which began as a way to draw people to the Ingersoll Avenue area in order to boost interest in revitalization of the corridor, has grown in some capacity each year, either through attendance or offerings. About 10,000 people have attended the past couple of years.
Any money generated from Ingersoll Live goes toward the Restoration Ingersoll project, which started in 1988. For the past couple of years, the event has broken even so no money was contributed toward the revitalization efforts, but in past years as much as $5,000 has been raised.
Two years ago, the area’s Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District (SSMID) expanded. These districts are in a defined area in which the businesses and property owners located there pay an additional fee based on their property’s assessed value. This money is designated for improvements that enhance the district in some capacity. About $200,000 a year is generated, which goes toward the Restoration Ingersoll project, as well as additional marketing and economic development efforts for the area. Some of that money is going toward the public art project along the corridor.
Restoration Ingersoll is an effort under way to beautify the Ingersoll Avenue corridor from Martin Luther King Junior Parkway to 42nd Street. The project has been expensive, with more than $1.2 million in private contributions and taxpayer money invested thus far to landscape and rebuild the sidewalk in certain areas. A bicycle lane was added in 2010.
Key points of the overall Restoration Ingersoll project include new trees and flowerbeds, the location of public art along Ingersoll, improved street parking and improved off-street parking, enhancements at the major intersections and a new sign ordinance to allow business owners to have greater creativity in displaying signs for their business.
Other businesses have done some improvements, and as redevelopment occurs along the corridor, some of the Restoration Ingersoll redevelopment goals will be incorporated into those developments.