RAGBRAI: River to River

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Client: Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation

Location: Des Moines, IA, United States

Completion date: 2020

Artwork budget: $170,000

Project Team

Artist

Gail Folwell

Folwell Studios

Client

Jessica Rowe

Des Moines Public Art Foundation

Fabrication & Installation

Kyle Lord

Amaral Custom Fabrications

Overview

RAGBRAI: River to River. Bronze, Aluminum & LEDs. Public Art Commission, Des Moines, IA. 7’ x 40’ x 10’

River to River, RAGBRAI (Registers Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) commemorates founders John Karras and Donald Kaul who started this epic ride, soon in its 50th anniversary. The founders gaze from the Missouri River start to the Mississippi finish, where riders dip a wheel on each end.

Goals

Bike path installations are spectacular. They reach everyone; a town is engaged and the healthy outdoor lifestyle of the users feel celebrated. This work was designed both to engage an active, bike-friendly public and pay homage to the founders of this iconic bike race. The illumination of the rings welcome nighttime riders in their light pool while providing an added measure of evening safety.

Process

I make non-traditional, figurative art about people engaged. Not portraits or heroes, but art about energy - the adrenaline, courage, pain, passion, fear in us all - knowing that art can inspire, teach and heal. I have raced mountain bikes, so my experience as an athlete perfectly informed my ability to capture the race founders in a dynamic way.