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2024 Artist Prospectus



from the International Festivals & Events Association


Bravo Greater Des Moines


Des Moines Business Record

Impact Lives Through the Arts

Our Core Values are to:
Inspire Appreciation of the Arts  
 We cultivate, educate and engage our audience toward a heightened appreciation of the arts.

Celebrate Original Art    We produce an annual celebration of outstanding original visual that is created by the hand of the artists in a festival atmosphere.
Impact Community    We foster and celebrate the involvement of all people.

Promote Collaboration  We promote and inspire meaningful collaboration to strengthen the arts community.
Deliver the Highest Standards    We value professionalism and quality.  We operate in a fair and honorable manner with transparency. We are strong financial stewards. We manage with responsibility and maximize value to our partners.
Innovate Strategically   We champion new and emerging ideas.


Our Vision    Strengthen a Vibrant and Creative Community

Application Information:  Des Moines Arts Festival uses the ZAPP application system (ZAPPlication).  To apply, go to  If you have not done so already, open an account (FREE) and do a search for "Des Moines Arts Festival."  Follow the instructions from there. 

"This is one of the best-run shows anywhere in the country. They think of everything."
What Artists Are Saying...

"Artists whisper fervently of the shining unicorn of a show that is Des Moines”

“I left with empty walls and a full wallet”
The Fact Sheet (all information subject to change)

LOCATION: Downtown Des Moines, Iowa, on Locust Street and Grand Ave. between 16th Street and 10th Street.
EVENT NAME: Des Moines Arts Festival
CONTACT:  Stephen King, CFEE, Executive Director
MAILING ADDRESS: P.O. Box 1434, Des Moines, IA 50305
TELEPHONE: 515-416-6134
JURY: One-time projected jury

IMAGES:  5 images of work + 1 booth image
VIEWED:  Projected simultaneously with image 1, 2, 3 on top from left to right, and 4, 5, booth from left to right, on bottom.
JURORS:  5 paid.
SCORING (see details below): First scoring round is 1-7, no 4. All other rounds are show of hands.
JURY/APPLICATION FEE:  $40 Oct 31 – Jan. 15; $55 after Jan. 15.
BOOTH SPACE FEE:  $535 for 10’x10’. An additional $160 is charged for a corner booth. Limited number of Double-DEEP booths are available for $970.
BOOTH SPACE:  10’x10’ with 1’ buffer all around (2’ between each tent), most with abundant storage close to the booth. A limited number of 10’ (front) x 20’ (deep) interior and corner booths are available. We do not offer 20' wide booth spaces unless the artist is juried to show two bodies of work.
ELECTRIC: Provided by festival at no additional charge. Fuel-powered generators not allowed.

ARTIST PRESENCE:  All required (individual and partner(s)/collaborator(s)).
NO. OF EXHIBITORS EXPECTED FROM JURY POOL: Approx. 183 (we jury spaces with the final number of spaces available being 195).
NO. OF ARTISTS EXEMPT FROM JURY:  At least 12 (award winners from the previous year, and special invitation)
 $10,500 at press time

ATTENDANCE: Appx. 200,000+ projected

FESTIVAL HOURS: Friday, 11a - 10p; Saturday, 11a - 10p; Sunday, 11a - 5p

SECURITY:  24-hour
PARKING:  Free/reserved/off-site dedicated.
INSURANCE: Required. Upon acceptance, artists must provide Des Moines Arts Festival with an appropriate Certificate of Insurance, naming Des Moines Arts Festival as an additional insured pursuant to a general liability insurance policy with a minimum coverage of $1,000,000. Artists may not set up or exhibit until the approved certificate is received by the Festival office.
STRUCTURE:  If using a tented structure, the tent must be commercial or professional grade with heavy weights (minimum of 40 pounds) on each corner with stabilizing maneuvers that provide maximum safety to artists and guests. The use of cheap accordion-style pop-up tents is expressly forbidden. The artist who ignores this rule will not be allowed to exhibit at the show and will not receive a refund of any sort as a result.

Artist Benefits
  • Comprehensive and aggressive regional marketing media campaign spotlighting artists and their original artwork. Dedicated campaign stretches to Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois, Kansas and Missouri.

  • Booth sitters and energetic volunteers.

  • $10,500 in cash awards at the time of publication. $1500 to the Best of Show; three Juror Awards of $1000 presented by each of the jurors; up to five Awards of Excellence at $1000 each. These amounts may be altered by the jury, but the total will remain intact.

  • Favorable hotel rates at two downtown hotels within walking distance of the festival site. Both offer an artist rate and late-night food and bar menus.

  • Responsive website and integrated social media campaign

  • Air-conditioned restroom facilities.

  • Exclusive “Express Lane” concessions means you don't stand in line.

  • 24-hour security.

  • Free electricity.

  • Leisurely set-up (anytime 11-6 on Thursday and Friday morning).

  • Comprehensive emergency/evacuation plan.

  • Booth Amenities.

    • 10' x 10' Booth with at least 121 square feet (1’ on sides and back).

    • All booths on street at press time. 

    • Storage behind booth. Some booths will have 1’ behind booth, others a full sidewalk; however, keep in mind that these sidewalks are used for electric cords and passage by Gators and people.

Emerging Iowa Artists (EIA)

Iowa residents currently enrolled in or recently graduated (within one year) from a university, college or art school anywhere in the U.S. are eligible to apply to the Emerging Iowa Artists (EIA) program.  This program allows individuals to promote their talents and sell their artwork at the Des Moines Arts Festival. It also provides opportunities for artists to begin their careers. Artists can participate in the EIA program for two years (either consecutively or non-consecutively). This program is free to qualified artists thanks to financial support from Principal There is no charge to submit images for the jury or for booth space once the work is accepted by the jury. 


Qualified artists are required to apply to the show in the same manner as professional artists and submit their work in accordance with the specifications.  All applicants are required to provide at the time of application proof of residency and enrollment to ensure the integrity of the program.  All work submitted is juried by the same jury. All rules and submission requirements remain the same for EIA applicants. 


If you are a qualified EIA, apply under the medium (category) "Emerging Iowa Artist." To waive the application fee, you must enter the coupon code EIA2024.  The Festival will NOT refund the application fee if you do not enter the coupon code.  Please note that Des Moines Arts Festival requires a booth image from its professional artists as part of the application. EIA applicants will instead provide an additional image of their work in place of the booth image.

Emerging Artists
Emerging Artists

Unlike the Emerging IOWA Artist Program, the Emerging Artist program is for artists embarking on a career in the art fair industry. Artists must have less than three years of experience. The application procedure is the same for Emerging Artists and the same rules will apply. If you are an Emerging Artist, use the Coupon Code ImNew2024 at checkout to receive a lower application fee. Upon acceptance, Emerging Artists will pay a lower booth fee of $310. Please note that artists may only apply with a single application. Emerging Artists are encouraged to provide a booth image. If you do not have a booth image, you will provide a 6th image of your work. All work must be within the same medium.

If you have any questions about the Emerging Artist Program, please contact Stephen King at or  515.416.6134.

Important Dates
  • Application Available – October 31, 2023

  • Application Deadline(s) – Soft deadline is EOD January 15, 2024 CST; Hard deadline is January 22, 2024, at 8 a.m. CST.

  • Jury – February 7-9, 2024 in Des Moines, IA

  • Notifications Emailed – following REVEAL, the annual community awareness event revealing the invited artists, scheduled for March 7, 2024

  • Deadline to confirm participation/Agreement due – March 28, 2024

  •  Refund Deadline -  May 1, 2024

About Our Jury Process

Please Note: We do NOT jury by category or medium. When you apply, you will self-identify a medium if you are a professional artist OR an Emerging Artist if you are applying under the rules of the Emerging Artist or Emerging Iowa Artist Program.

The jury is scheduled for February 7 - 9, 2024. 
Approximately 183 spaces will be available via the jury process. An additional ten (10) booth spaces are reserved for 2023 award winners, and up to two (2) spaces are reserved for special invitations.

Round One (evening of the first day) is a complete overview of all applicants. Each artist set of images will be projected for a timed eight seconds.

Round Two (second day) is the first scoring round. Each artist’s set of images are projected while the artist's statement is read aloud. After which the jury will score on a laptop in front of them. The jury will score each artist’s set of images a traditional 1 through 7, with no 4.

Round Three comes after all applying artists have been scored. After Round Two, a median score is determined, and all artists scoring under the median are removed. The artists remaining are first projected for a timed 5-seconds. We then go back to the beginning and display each artist’s set of six images. Each set of images is discussed and scored by the jury with a show of hands. A majority vote moves the artist into the next round. The artist’s set of images remain on the screen for as long as requested by the jury.

Round Four and Beyond – Any number of rounds now occur using the same process described above, slowly balancing the show by making final selections.

The jury uses the following standards to guide their decision:

  • All work must be original and made by the hand of the applying artist.

  • Projection “blind" jury

  • The jury will view each artist’s set of six images. One of the six images shall be an actual image of the artist's booth showing the body of work. The images will be projected in two rows, three images on top and three images on bottom, simultaneously.

  • The ideal work will reflect excellence.

  • The work will be well conceived and expertly executed.

  • The work will show an identity of design.

  • Artwork is considered solely on the merit of the work pictured. This and the submitted Artist Statement will be the only criteria considered. (See below regarding Artist Statement).

  • The work will be professionally and creatively presented. The better the image presented, the better your opportunity.

  • The work presented for jury will be representative of the artist’s body of work.

Booth Image
  • All applications from professional artists must submit an authentic booth image (that is, an actual photo/image of your booth).

  • Booth images may not be created in a computer program or manipulated, enhanced or otherwise affected by a computer in any way other than to remove a name or other identifying factor from the booth.

  • Booth images may not contain the artist’s name, company name or any other affiliation; artists may use Photoshop techniques to remove the name(s). 

  • The booth image must include the entire booth, not a portion.

  • The booth image must be that of your outdoor booth (no indoor booth images).

  • The booth image must not have people in or around it.

  • The booth image must contain work related to the same work in the images. It is understood that the exact same images are not seen, but the represented work is the same.

  • If the work is new and the booth is not updated, make a note of this in the Booth Image Title/Description.

A note about the booth image. The booth image shows the jury your body of work, provides dimension and scale, a sense of artistic and creative presentation, and reflects what your booth will look like at the show in June.  It will also report to the jury if the work submitted in the individual images reflects your current style and overall body of work. 

Please Note:  If you submit an application without the booth image or the booth image does not follow the criteria as stated here, your application will be returned to you.  You may choose to re-submit the application under our rules.  Regardless of whether you choose to re-submit the application under our rules, application fees will not be returned for not following the stated rules.  Artists may choose to submit the image as is with the understanding that the Des Moines Arts Festival retains the right to pull your application from consideration or have a full point deducted from the artist’s final first-round score for not adhering to the guidelines above after being offered the opportunity to make a change.

Please note that EIA’s will show a sixth image in place of the booth image.

Artist Statement

Artist Statement The application will automatically have a question for an artist's description of material and technique of up to 200 characters. You are encouraged to enter a description of the material and technique that is concise and explains well the body of work. The jury responds best to a description of technique rather than how you are inspired. The first (up to) 200 characters of the submitted statement will be read aloud to the jury.


Based on past experiences in the jury room, the following are provided as a “good statement” and a “bad statement.


Good Statement = Photographs printed by artist over a layer of luminous gold paint onto powder-coated steel. Editions of 1.


Bad Statement = I take my photographs while contemplating my existence in the face of danger.


The Festival hosts an annual event called REVEAL that follows the jury. REVEAL is a public event that culminates in “revealing” the artists selected by the jury to exhibit at the June festival. Artist notifications are emailed following the event. Additionally, the exhibiting artists are posted on the website with links on social media.

  • Festival will notify applicants of results using the email provided in your ZAPPlication.

  • In addition to the email notification, accepted artists will be posted on

  • Results will not be given over the phone.

All decisions of the jury are final.  Des Moines Arts Festival reserves the right to reject any application if it does not comply with the covenants and rules set forth in this document.

New Directions

New Directions is designed for professional visual artists (the distinction is made because of the emerging artists' programs) who are juried into the show and who, between the time they are juried and the date of the show, are exploring new directions in their current work. Exhibiting artists will have this opportunity available to introduce to our guests expressions of new art they are exploring.   All artists will jury with their body of work as they normally do. Upon acceptance into the show, artists will be notified of the details of the policies surrounding its integrity. Should any juried artist find themselves exploring a new direction with their work and wants to participate in the program, we will work with them on a case-by-case basis within a set of parameters that all involved (including the show) must follow.   In order to keep intact the decisions of the jury, we will institute a few parameters: new work may not occupy but a small percentage of the overall exhibit space; the work will be identified as “new work” within the exhibit space; the work must be an extension of the work juried into the show; the new work must be clearly defined within the exhibit; and it all must be original. It may not be a completely different medium.

Rules & Regulations

The Des Moines Arts Festival considers its enforcement of the rules our exclusive right and responsibility.  Festival officials will visit all displays at intervals throughout the Festival to ensure that exhibitors comply with all Festival rules, including but not limited to checking identification.  Your submitted application and signature on the Artist Agreement (for those invited) is your indication that you agree that noncompliance can result in expulsion and ineligibility for jurying, awards and participation in future Festivals. If an artist is removed from the show for non-compliance of the rules, no booth fee refunds will be issued nor compensation made, and the artist will be ineligible to exhibit for a period of at least two years.  

1. All work exhibited must be original art produced by the exhibiting artist(s). Work done by a production studio, in classes or workshops, “Buy-sell” and/or imports, work from kits, commercial designs, and derivative work is prohibited. Artists selling work that is not their own will be expelled from the Festival.


2. It is the work of the artist that is juried. Therefore, any change in the overall body of work by the artist after the jury process accepts the juried work is not considered juried and may not be exhibited until approved by the director of the show.  Please see the description of our New Directions program above.  Absolutely no consideration will be made if the work is a different discipline.


3. No reproductions are allowed.  If it’s a copy of any kind, regardless of medium, it may not be exhibited or sold at the Festival.


4. All artists associated with the juried work must be present to exhibit. If artists apply as partners, each artist must be present. If each artist is not present, the artist who is present will not be permitted to set up or exhibit. No proxy of any kind is permitted. If artists working as partners are found to apply as a single artist, the artist will be disqualified without a refund regardless of the calendar of stated deadlines.


5. Booth and display must remain intact during all hours of the show. 


6. A photo ID is required at artist check-in by all artists, including partners, accepted to exhibit. In addition, the Festival reserves the right to check ID each day of the Festival to ensure the artist is present. Artists may NOT set up or have their booth set up until they have provided proof of their presence.


7. The sale of non-original promotional items is prohibited. 


8. Artists are responsible for proper insurance and protection of work and setup/tear down. The Des Moines Arts Festival is not responsible for damage to work or setup/tear down for any reason. All artists are required to maintain and provide proof of insurance before they are allowed to setup and exhibit. Insurance must cover all days of the festival and setup.


9. Artists are responsible for collecting and reporting all taxes, including Iowa sales tax.


10. We do not allow sharing of booths except under extraordinary circumstances and ONLY if prior approval is provided in writing from the director. Absolutely no consideration is given if the request is made at the time of set-up or during the show.


11.  Artists are not permitted to use cheaply-made, light-weight, accordion-style pop-up tents. The tented structure must be commercial or professional grade with at least 40 pounds of weight on each corner and with stabilizing maneuvers that provide maximum safety to artists and guests. Any variation is prohibited and will result in the artist being excluded from the Festival without compensation or consideration. 


In addition to the rules of exhibiting, the following guidelines/restrictions apply to the jury process:


Artists may submit multiple applications with a distinctly different body of work. Applications may NOT be of mixed work. Artists whose work is selected in multiple mediums are eligible for a single, double booth space. Upon receipt of the application, the Festival reserves the right to return any application if it is deemed non-compliant or does not provide the information requested.  If you submit an application that does not follow the criteria as requested, your application may be returned to you for modification. Application fees will not be returned or refunded. Artists may choose to submit the application as-is with the understanding that the Des Moines Arts Festival is fully within in its rights to reject the application from jurying or a full point may be deducted from the artist’s final first-round score for not adhering to the guidelines set forth in this application after being offered the opportunity to make a change.


PLEASE NOTE – REGARDING COLLABORATING ARTISTS: If you are submitting an application as a collaborating artist/partner, you must submit the name(s) with the application. Please follow the instructions provided on ZAPP. You may not add a partner after the jury. If you have any questions or difficulties registering the partner, please contact the ZAPP office before submitting your application.

Many thanks for your interest in the Des Moines Arts Festival. Should you have any questions about the process, please do not hesitate to contact Stephen King, Executive Director, at We value your participation and look forward to seeing you in June 2024!

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