DES MOINES, Iowa — For the first time in 25 years the Des Moines Art Center is under new leadership.

Kelly Baum started as director back in May. She’s been a curator for the last 25 years. She comes to Des Moines from New York City where she worked at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Baum says the two cities and institutions are different, but Des Moines can hold its own.

“The Des Moines Art Center is unique. It’s one of the country’s best art museums. It has a phenomenal collection of modern and contemporary art. It’s situated in three gorgeous buildings that are in the heart of a park. And what, part of what I love about the Des Moines Art Center is that it is at the center of the community in Des Moines,” said Baum.

Baum knew of the Des Moines Art Center before taking the job. She’s borrowed pieces from Des Moines to use in exhibitions at The Met.

Baum has big plans for our art center. She wants to bring in more people, partner with new organizations, think more about sustainability and do more overall. The goal — make the Des Moines Art Center a premiere destination.

“I want us to be better known in the city and the state. So, I want to raise our profile around the country. I want more people to really be able to take advantage of what we can offer at the art center. And I have invited every staff member of the museum to think big, to come to me with their ambitions. So, we have a lot of plans for exhibitions for programs for community outreach and access. There’s a lot on the horizon at the art center,” Baum said.

That includes a big celebration. The Des Moines Art Center turns 75 this year. It is hosting a community lawn party on Saturday, August 19th from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. There will be free art activities, ceramic demonstrations, games, live music, food trucks, and cake. The lawn party is free to attend.

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