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Above: Des Moines Municipal Service Center

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Dedication Ceremony Held for A Monumental Journey

Friday, July 13, 2018

A dedication ceremony was held July 12, 2018 for A Monumental Journey, a sculpture by internationally acclaimed artist Kerry James Marshall. 

At 30 feet tall, the sculpture looms large in Hansen Triangle Park off of Grand and 2nd Avenue in downtown Des Moines. Strategically situated within a walking path, viewers are able to tour 360 degrees around the off-centered talking drums. 

Above: A MONUMENTAL JOURNEY by Artist Kerry James Marshall

The piece was created using steel, concrete and black bricks. The custom made, solid bricks  have a chamfer on one edge and, together, form the entire exterior of the sculpture. Oddly enough, when digging the foundations for the sculpture, crews discovered an old brick that is exactly the same as the brick chosen for this project buried deep in the center of the jobsite (scroll to the bottom to watch time lapse video of the project!).

Above: Original brick found buried at the site of the current sculpture

The dedication ceremony was not only to celebrate completion of the incredible sculpture, but also to recognize those the sculpture was designed in honor of – the National Bar Association. 

Above: Project Superintendent Cody Paul, Project Engineers David Warner & Gavin Scroggin, Project Manager Mark Thompson and VP Business Development Ted Brackett brave the heat for the dedication

93 years ago, the National Bar Association was founded in Des Moines by a group of African-American lawyers after they had been refused entry into other associations. The off-centered design is meant to symbolize the “struggle to maintain balance and equilibrium” that many are still working towards. 

Above: Artist Kerry James Marshall humbly takes his seat for the ceremony

The ceremony included speakers from the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation and the National Bar Association, and attendees were treated to live music, including a performance by Iowa native Simon Estes.

Above: Iowa Native Simon Estes sings during the ceremony

We are honored to have played a role in constructing this significant and stunning structure. Everyone involved put so much heart and soul into seeing this piece brought to life including Substance Architecture, Johnson Machine Works, Seedorff Masonry, Elder Corporation, Cox Design and Metal Fabrication and RJ Lawn and Landscaping.