Pappajohn Sculpture Park Opens

John and Mary Pappajohn

The Pappajohn Sculpture Park, a collection of 24 sculptures valued at $40 million and sitting on 4.4 acres of green space in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, opened with a stirring celebration on Sunday, September 27 with a crowd of more than 1,000 in attendance as state and city leaders thanked the principal benefactors, John and Mary Pappajohn, long-time members of Leadership 100.

Designed as an outdoor museum, the two-block space on the west end of downtown Des Moines was transformed by the city and the Des Moines Art Center with $6.5 million in corporate and private donations. Guided tours of the new park are booked through the end of October.

The Isiserettes Drill and Drum Corps and dancers from Ballet Des Moines entertained the crowd, which included Governor Robert Ray, U.S. Representative Leonard Boswell and Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie.

Several of the sculptors whose work is on display participated, including Deborah Butterfield, who created the bronze horses, Judith Shea, who made the hollow overcoat and Joel Shapiro, whose stick figure stands near the center of the park.

Pappajohn, a venture capitalist who with his wife, Mary, are major art collectors and sit on the boards of several leading art museums, said, “In philanthropy, there’s always one question: Is this a good use of funds? The turnout today makes Mary and me very excited.”

Deborah Butterfield "Bronze Horses"

Judith Shea "Hollow Overcoat"

Joel Shapiro's Stick Figure

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