A $9 million project will transform the southeast corner of Des Moines Water Works Park, adding an amphitheater, natural play features, a food truck park and a tunnel connection to Gray’s Lake Park.
The multimedia sculpture, “River Constellation,” that celebrates community and water will be dedicated at 4 p.m. on Dec. 5 in Water Works Park.
The ceremony will include the lighting of the sculpture and brief remarks located in the Community Foundation Concourse south of the Lauridsen Amphitheater.
The sculpture features sound and light in a collection of vertical poles arranged to mimic parts of the paths of the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers, which supply drinking water to more than 500,000 central Iowans.
Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation commissioned Boston-based composer and Iowa native Beau Kenyon and Brooklyn-based sculptor Natalia Zubko earlier this year in a process led by Group Creative Services to select among five artists’ proposals.
Installation began in September and was finished on Nov. 15. “River Constellation” includes 45 10-foot-tall stainless steel poles brightened with 12-inch polycarbonate globes.
Zubko created hardware around the globes that were fabricated in Hong Kong and made the first model by hand.
Kenyon and Zubko collaborated with art fabricators from Colorado, Juno Works. Dispersion worked on the light and sound.
At the base of the sculpture’s poles, donors’ names are attached to rings. Blank rings are added at the bottom of poles for the names of additional $500 donors.
Kenyon said he and Zubko thought about “the constellation as sort of a guiding force.”
Eleven speakers are attached to poles that send micro-vibrations to the structures. Each pole has a track built to weave in and out to connect one another.
“The sounds coming out of the globes are composed but also captured from the park,” he said. Kenyon described “River Constellation” as a “musical ecosystem.”
Park visitors will be able to hear the sounds of a clarinet, violin, cello, French horn and bassoon. Kenyon worked with members of Des Moines Metro Opera and the Des Moines Symphony to produce the sculpture’s music.
The total cost of the project is about $250,000. The permanent installation is presented by the Kyle and Sharon Krause Family Foundation.
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