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Admission into Jester Park
& the Nature Center is FREE

The Art of Jester Park

“Public art has the power to energize our public spaces, arouse our thinking, and transform the places where we live, work, and play into more welcoming and beautiful environments that invite interaction. Beyond its enriching personal benefits, public art is a true symbol of societal maturity. Public art helps green space thrive, enhances roadsides, pedestrian corridors , and community gateways; it demonstrates unquestionable civic pride.” "Wood Is Art”, Public art Benefits of Public Art [www.lakewoodisart.com]

Explore local art as you adventure throughout Jester Park

Over the last decade, Polk County Conservation has expanded public art throughout our park system. Today, park visitors can experience a myriad of art that educates, inspires, informs and arouses their curiosity about our natural world. This link shows you our current public art and where to find it!

The Galleries at the Jester Park Nature Center

The Galleries at Jester Park Nature Center offers the opportunity for local art to be displayed and made available for sale to park visitors. 

Current Exhibition - Perspectives

Polk County Conservation and the Jester Park Nature Center are pleased to present, Perspectives. This art exhibition highlights the work of graphic artist, Roy Behrens and glass artist, Tilda Brown Swanson. There will be wine and refreshments as well as an opportunity to meet Tilda at the Opening Reception on Thursday, May 12, from 6 – 8 pm at The Galleries at Jester Park Nature Center.

Roy Behrens, University of Northern Iowa Professor Emeritus and Distinguished Scholar, will be showcasing a collection of full color posters commemorating 23 National Parks and Monuments. Roy used his graphic design skills to create these beautiful digital montages.

Tilda has been working in glass for 30 years. She layers flat glass, powdered glass, and sometimes copper to explore moments of beauty she sees in the natural world. She enjoys working in glass because it offers deep color, transparency, and visible layers.

Perspectives will be on display from May 2 to August 28 during Jester Park Nature Center hours. Hours can be found at jesterparknaturecenter.com. For additional information, please contact Missy Smith at 323-5317.

Prairie Sculpture Trail 

The Jester Park Sculpture Trail features 5 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. Take a hike and discover each art piece as the trail leads you around the pond, over the creek, through the woods, and eventually back to the nature center. During the hike, you will discover sculptures meant to educate, inform, and nurture our fascination and curiosity about the natural world. The newest sculpture, "Horai" was recently added. This full size bull elk, made from barbed wire and 16 gage welded scrap metal, was created by artist, Jeff Best, of Devil's Rope Studio. Hoari means a portion of time or season and with this piece, Hoari is referring to the elk's fall bugling season when he competes for breeding rights. Check out this video for a talk with the artist about his piece.

The sculpture trail now culminates with Lupine, a temporary outdoor exhibit, displayed behind the Jester Park Nature Center in conjunction with our permanent outdoor Prairie Sculpture Trail. This 12 foot tall prairie flower is on loan to us from artist, Tim Adams, of Webster City, Iowa. Inspiration for many of Tim's pieces come from his professional training in Landscape Architecture and Horticulture. Natural landforms and native plants are the starting points for many of his sculpture concepts. Lupines were once thought to grow on prairies in northern Iowa, but our hot, dry summers make it hard for them to carve out a true home here. To foster sustainability Tim strives to incorporate recycled metals and repurposed materials when practicable. Join us in welcoming Lupine at the May 12th Galleries Opening Reception at the Jester Park Nature Center starting at 6 pm. Lupine will remain on display through April 1, 2023.

Public Art Throughout Our Parks

Don't stop your art exploration at Jester Park. You can find public art throughout our park system. 

 

Easter Lake

Butterfly, 2015

Medium: Willow and Terracotta

Size: 4' x 8'

Artists: Pam Dennis and Ryk Weiss

Great Western Trail

River Chuck Stop, 2018

Medium: Steel, Repurposed Bicycle

Size: 12' tall

Artists: Barney Feezell and Steve Haefner

Thomas Mitchell Park

Morel Mushroom, 2005

Medium: Wood Carving (oak)

Size: 7.5 'x 5'

Artists: Mike Sibley and Jim Swearengin