MAY 24, 2016

Detail from "Eternal Journey" (watercolor and digital art) by Igor Khalandovskiy, who will show his works at the opening exhibit for the Art Gallery at Central Library.
Starting in June, you'll not only be able to check out books from the Des Moines Public Library downtown, but check out local artists as well. No, you can't take them home with you, but you can view their works at the new Art Gallery at Central Library, located on the second floor.
The inaugural exhibit will feature Judith Eastburn, whose striking photographs have been showcased in dsm, and abstract painter Igor Khalandovskiy. Both artists will answer questions and discuss their work at the opening reception June 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. Exhibits will rotate about every two months.
While the Art Gallery at Central Library is new, it represents the revival of a 100-year-old tradition. In 1916, a gallery opened in the former main library building, in partnership with the Des Moines Association of Fine Arts. And what happened to that gallery? It grew and moved; today, you know it as the Des Moines Art Center.  
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Kathranne Knight's pencil drawings hang on the wall for the opening exhibit of the Residential at Crane Artists Lofts.
The library isn't the only unexpected place where art is popping up. Last week, we sure had fun attending the opening of the Residential at Crane Artists Lofts. The Residential represents a new concept for a gallery: Exhibits will be held in people's homes.
The inaugural display features works by well-regarded Ames artist Kathranne Knight. At the lively event last Thursday, about 50 people crowded into Mat Greiner's apartment to view Knight's captivating drawings.
The idea behind the Residential is to offer a way to experience art in an intimate space, pairing fine art with hospitality, says Greiner, a local artist. He admits "it can be a little weird" to go to someone's home to see an exhibit, but the concept can nonetheless help lower barriers to accessing art, as well as allow people to connect with one another, the artist and the work. He expects the Residential will host four or five exhibits a year. 
Other than opening receptions and special events, the Residential is open by appointment only; for more details and contact information, go to the Residential's website or Facebook page. The gallery is a project of Chicken Tractor, which Greiner and three other artists founded in 2013 to increase opportunities for local artists (read more about the group in this dsm story). Upcoming events and projects include a microgrant dinner June 8 at the Riverwalk Hub; a group exhibit, "We Must Arise and Act!," June 21 at the Residential during Art Week Des Moines; and a display at the Garage at the Salisbury House in the fall. To learn more, check out Chicken Tractor's website or Facebook page.
Among blooming plants at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is this Wisteria frutescens "Amethyst Falls" in the Conifer and Gravel Garden. Get a refreshment and a fresh perspective by attending Thursday Nights in the Garden.
Put a little greenery in your happy hour with Thursday Nights in the Garden, a weekly event through September at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.

The garden will stay open Thursdays until 8 p.m. And the on-site eatery, Trellis, will be there to serve you from 5 to 8 p.m. So get yourself something delicious and stroll the grounds with friends or find a comfy spot to relax. And why not? Any Thursday is, after all, Friday Eve.

By the way, there's a fun feature on the GDMBG's website: Click the tab "What's in Bloom," and your screen is suddenly filled with pictures of whatever is currently in bloom--and a locator telling you where to find them on the grounds.
Ah, the  dream of the apprentice, to be an exotic and mysterious coloratura soprano ...
OK, not so much the guys. This season's apprentices will showcase their considerable talents at "Death by Aria" this Saturday in Indianola. Photo by Ben Easter.
Des Moines Metro Opera introduces this season's 40 apprentice artists with its annual "Death by Aria" program Saturday, May 28. Each will sing a favorite aria, and it's free (we know you want to ask "aria kidding me?") --free of cost or obligation, as you can stop in or slip away anytime after they cue the music at 6:30 p.m. in the lobby of Blank Performing Arts Center in Indianola.
The talented young artists selected for this 40th year of the apprentice program come from all parts of the country, California to Connecticut, and they bring impressive performance histories. For a preview, click here.
Death by Aria is the annual kickoff of the opera's apprentice program, directed by Lisa Hasson.
Volunteers have fun, make friends and get cool T-shirts for their efforts.
The Des Moines Arts Festival opens in Western Gateway Park one month from today, running June 24-26. Before then, organizers hope to recruit 1,200 volunteers to help with market research, assisting guests, artist relations and other duties. To learn about the opportunities and register, click here.

Volunteers are vital to the event's success, according to coordinator Morgan Dowdell, who noted that the Arts Festival was named 'Best Volunteer Program' last year by the International Festival & Events Association. "We are excited to once again offer a variety of ways to get involved," she said.
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