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Rotating Public Art Exhibition | 2023 Call for Artists

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Polk County Conservation and the Jester Park Nature Center invite artists to submit an application for pre-existing artwork to participate in Jester Park Nature Center Prairie Sculpture Trail’s annual rotating art exhibit. This exhibit is a temporary outdoor exhibit, displayed behind the Jester Park Nature Center in conjunction with our permanent outdoor Prairie Sculpture Trail. 


  • Selected artist will receive a $2,000 stipend for the use of their artwork.
  • The artist retains ownership of their work and agrees to loan it to the exhibit. During the exhibit, the artwork will be covered under the County’s insurance policy for the retail value of the artwork; however, artist must also carry standard liability insurance coverage. Artist will be required to provide proof of liability insurance if selected.
  • The Sculpture Trail rotating piece will be promoted through local media. Marketing efforts will include but are not limited to:
    • An article in Nature News (18,000+ subscribers)
    • News and information on the Polk County Conservation and Jester Park Nature Center’s websites
    • Polk County Conservation and Jester Park Nature Center’s social media accounts (combined following of over 19,000)
    • Jester Park Visitors (1.4 million+ visitors annually)

*Polk County Conservation reserves the right to photograph and reproduce images of the artwork on exhibit for promotional and educational purposes.


The Jester Park Nature Center is located in Granger, Iowa and offers 1,600 acres of prairie, wetlands, and forests for visitors to explore. Hiking, bird watching, camping, fishing, golfing, and horseback riding are just a few of the activities visitors can enjoy at the park. The Nature Center is located in the heart of the park and serves as a gateway to the outdoors.  The Prairie Sculpture Trail features five unique nature-inspired public works of art. Each sculpture is located along a beautiful nature trail beginning at the front entrance of the Jester Park Nature Center. The sculptures on the trail are meant to educate, inform, and nurture our fascination and curiosity about the natural world. Selected work will be bolted to a 4’ x 4’ steel plate located behind the nature center, adjacent to the patio.


Artist is responsible for all costs, equipment, and labor necessary for the delivery, installation, and removal of their work and assume all risk and damage to their work before and during installation and during and after removal. Work not appropriate for installation onto a 4’ x 4’ steel plate will not be allowed. Lighting and power will not be provided at the artwork locations. The artist shall affix their artwork to the plate in such a way that non-authorized removal would not be possible. Polk County Conservation will not provide labor or equipment for install.


The selected piece of artwork must have a pre-determined purchase value or sale price that is set by the artist. If someone desires to purchase the displayed artwork, artwork must remain on display throughout the duration of the exhibition. The $2,000 stipend provided to the artists is not part of any sales transaction.


All artwork must be the original work of the artist (in concept, composition, and execution) and suitable for outdoor public display. Work will be selected by a selection panel. The following criteria will be used in the selection process.

    Required Artwork Characteristics

  • Artwork that is suitable for public viewing
  • Artwork that displays high quality of technical skill, imagination, and innovation
  • Artwork that is suitable for outdoor display in adverse weather conditions
  • Artwork that has soundness of construction, is durable, and is safe for viewing.

    Desirable Artwork Characteristics

  • Artwork that creates a sense of discovery, surprise, and emotional connection
  • Artwork that uses kinetic devices, optical effects, dynamic shapes, or bright colors to create a vibrant and interesting exhibit
  • Artwork that is participatory
  • Artwork that is whimsical, uplifting, and creative
  • Artwork inspires curiosity about our natural world


  • Call for Artists issued                                                                                     November 3, 2022
  • Artwork applications due                                                                              November 28, 2022
  • Selection panel deliberation and recommendation                                                December, 2022
  • Notification of selection to artist                                                                        January 12, 2023
  • Delivery and installation of artwork                                                                   April 15-30, 2023
  • Removal of artwork                                                                                           April 1-14, 2024

Download Application Here

Applications due by 4:30 p.m. on November 28, 2022.

Contact Missy Smith, Nature Center Coordinator, at 515-323-5317 or with questions


Polk County Conservation and the Jester Park Nature Center are pleased to present, The Wildlife & Nature Art of Timothy Pross. This art exhibition highlights the work of Atlantic artist, Timothy Pross. Since childhood, Tim is happiest when he is actively engaged in the exploration of nature. His intent as an artist is to take those experience and feeling and strive to exp ...

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The Jester Park Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center will be open for extended hours over Spring Break (March 14 - 18) from noon - 4 p.m. For pricing and more information, click here.

The Jester Park Nature Center’s locally grown, raised, & created Fall Makers Market is a perfect opportunity for you to support local merchants in a beautiful park setting. Join us on Sunday, November 20, from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Jester Park Nature Center in Granger to shop for gifts or goods just in time for the holiday season! While there, explore the nature center ...

Polk County has consistently followed CDC recommendations related to masking and social distancing. Beginning on Monday, February 28 masks will   no longer   be required in Polk County Conservation buildings. Those facilities include:  Jester Park Nature Center Jester Park Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center  Natural Resources Headquarters Note that a mask require ...

"Art has the power to inspire us in times of adversity, and the ability to teach our society that even in times of ugliness, beauty is still all around." – River Mural Artist, Jan Hutchison
We hope you enjoy the latest art installation, the River Mural, located on the floor at the Jester Park Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center!

Tune into Polk County Conservation's Facebook page Monday - Friday at 10 a.m. for a live educational program!

The upper level of the nature center will showcase a new, unique travelling exhibit this March! Snakes, Rattles and Holes consists of a 69 foot long, 10 foot high plywood rattlesnake model.

Located outside the Jester Park Nature Center along the streamscape path, you will find decorative leaf towers that are designed to honor a special person, family, company, or a loved one that has passed.