Paint this staircase: Des Moines artists wanted for neighborhood beautification project

The staircase at 2300 Ingersoll Ave. in Des Moines will be repaired and decorated according to The Avenues of Ingersoll & Grand. — Courtesy of Lauren Kollauf

Even if you pass it every day on Ingersoll Avenue in Des Moines, you may not have noticed the staircase. Lauren Kollauf wants to change that.

“People have probably walked by or driven by this staircase and not really noticed it, it’s drab … and when you go up the staircase, it’s not entirely clear where you’re going to.” said Kollauf, the executive director of The Avenues of Ingersoll & Grand, a local nonprofit dedicated to neighborhood beautification and upkeep.

Kollauf wants that to change by selecting an artist to help transform the staircase, which connects Ingersoll Ave. to Grand Ave. Proposals from artists are due March 6 and work on the staircase is planned to start this spring.

On Thursday, The Avenues of Ingersoll & Grand announced a collaboration with Tree House Partners, the developers behind the Grand Trees Apartments, to revamp the outdoor staircase located at 2300 Ingersoll Ave. with landscaping, lighting and public art.

Kollauf said that the nonprofit’s arts and culture commission isn’t looking for a specific style of art. Any ideas are welcome. 

“That’s why we wanted to put out a public call for artists in Des Moines and in Iowa,” she said.

The project has a planned budget of $5,000 to $10,000 and will likely entail art painted on the stairs themselves.

Kollauf also wants community members involved in the selection process, comparing it to a similar project featuring art on DART bus shelters, which her organization began planning last year.

“Back when we were picking the artists for that, we were literally walking up and down the street with clipboards asking people what they thought,” she said.

They may not repeat that exact method for this project, but Kollauf wants to ensure public engagement when the art is eventually selected.

Artists interested in submitting work can propose their ideas on the nonprofit’s website.