April 9, 2024

DES MOINES, IA (April 9, 2024) – ICON Water Trails, in partnership with Bravo Greater Des Moines and the Polk County Board of Supervisors, is pleased to announce that “Hello, River,” an interactive art installation connecting culture and conservation, has been selected to fulfill a $125,000 National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” grant, originally awarded in 2020. Minneapolis-based studio, Plus/And, consisting of artists Emily Stover and Amanda Lovelee, developed the concept with the intent of creating an approachable method for engaging with the waterways.

“Hello, River” serves as a beacon, welcoming people to interact with the river using their senses. The installation consists of a steel arch sculpture finished in iridescent white pearl, inspired by the shape and coloring of a mussel native to Iowa waterways. It produces sound captured from within the river, inviting people to listen to the way the water is flowing each day. The piece will be located next to the Lauridsen Skate Park and the future home of ICON Water Trail’s Center Street site.

“At its core, ICON is all about connection,” Stephanie Oppel, ICON Water Trails Executive Director, said. “Hello, River is a natural extension of what we’re already doing in and around the water. It creates another opportunity for residents and visitors to connect with the waterways that set our region apart.”

“At Bravo, we aim to connect art to our region’s priorities. Hello, River is a fantastic example of art and nature coming together in an unexpected way,” Sally Dix, Bravo Greater Des Moines Executive Director, said. “Not only does this piece amplify water conservation efforts, but it sparks important and vital conversations about how art can be playful, can inform, and can connect.”

“Polk County is making significant investments in our rivers and streams that will improve water quality and change the way we interact with them. With over 250 miles of shoreline in Polk County, it is critical that this natural resource is protected and enhanced in order for residents and visitors to make meaningful connections with Iowa’s landscapes.” Angela Connolly, Chair of the Polk County Board of Supervisors, said. “We are proud to support the work of ICON and excited to see nature, recreation and art come together.”

“Hello, River,” is slated to be installed early this summer.


About ICON Water Trails
Iowa Confluence Water Trails — ICON, for short — will connect 80+ improvements across 150 miles of rivers and creeks in Central Iowa. Initiated by the Central Iowa Water Trails Consortium, including Capital Crossroads, Catch Des Moines, the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, Des Moines Area MPO, Greater Des Moines Partnership and the Great Outdoors Foundation, ICON represents a new commitment to water safety and conservation as well as a concerted effort to drive economic development, visitor attraction and workforce retention. Learn more at ICONwatertrails.com. Follow along on Facebook, Instagram, X, and LinkedIn.

About Bravo Greater Des Moines
Bravo Greater Des Moines leverages community resources to maximize impact of arts, culture and heritage to advance regional priorities. Leveraging funds contributed by seventeen local government partners, Bravo invests strategically in arts, culture and heritage organizations and projects that contribute to and enhance the quality of life in Greater Des Moines for residents and visitors. Learn more about Bravo: www.bravogreaterdesmoines.org.

About the Polk County
Serving a diverse Central Iowa community, Polk County is among the nation’s most innovative public institutions. We bring together creative leaders, collaborative organizations and key resources to empower our communities and make life better for all people in Polk County. Learn more at https://www.polkcountyiowa.gov/.