Railroad Art Crosswalks

The railroad themed crosswalks are located near the heart of the original town square, Bayliss Park, which plays host to many local festivals and community events including the Celebrate Mile Zero event this weekend on July 13th. The Celebrate at Mile Zero event honors Council Bluffs’ role in the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad.

Iowa West Foundation collaborated with PACE to makeover the crosswalks surrounding the park in honor of the event. Together they hope the crosswalks connect history and art as well as advance the development of the downtown with colorful designs created by local artists. PACE is an Iowa West Foundation Initiative.

“Placemaking is about creating world class public spaces and activating them by creating opportunities for the community to engage with those spaces,” said Matthew Henkes, Vice President of Grants and Initiatives with the Iowa West Foundation. “Iowa West partnered with the City of Council Bluffs to create a public art master plan that identified a series of goals including integrating art throughout the community. We believe that engaging local artists to help celebrate Council Bluffs’ unique role in our country’s history is an exciting way to enhance the downtown.”

The Mile Zero Committee, composed of five community organizations, chose four vibrant designs from local artists Mary Sneed, Jonathan Riggle, Annie Brugenhemke, and Emily Globe. PACE received a total of 24 original submissions from 13 artists. The colorful and historic crosswalk designs are installed at the corners of Pearl Street, Willow Avenue, 6th Street and 1st Avenue.

“Art crosswalks encourage interaction with public art in an accessible way, while also spotlighting premier artists in our community. This project serves as a gateway to the arts, increasing walkability while beautifying the neighborhood,” said Danna Kehm, PACE CEO.

The crosswalks were installed in partnership with Revolution Wraps of Omaha and the City of Council Bluffs.

“Council Bluffs is ahead of a lot of cities right now, venturing out with public art and thinking outside the box,” said Don Dolan, Revolution Wraps Sales Associate.

“A lot of these art projects are not being done here in the Midwest. You see this on the coast, you see this in the South all the time. We like to see investment in our neighborhoods, and we were excited to be involved in this project. It’s fun and it’s unique for us to work with people that think the impossible fits and really is possible,” commented Scott Stara, President and CEO of Revolution Wraps.



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River's Edge Pavilion | Council Bluffs, IA

Tom Friedman’s sculpture, Looking Up (2015), towers thirty-three feet high and is among the largest and most spectacular of Friedman’s works. The American Conceptual Artist transforms mundane materials into improbable and extraordinary works of art. Looking Up makes use of crushed aluminum foil, roasting pans, and baking tins to create a figure, which, through a process of molding and lost wax casting, retains the imprint of the original materials. A charming yet magnificent piece, the polished stainless steel quasi-human figure gazes up to the heavens, inviting others to stand at its base and do the same. 

This is the second Looking Up sculpture in the edition of three, and was most recently installed on Chicago’s lakefront, following a six-month installation in New York City on Park Avenue. The sculpture dedication is scheduled for May 21st and will be on display at Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park through May 2020, located along the scenic Missouri River. The one-year exhibition will add to Council Bluffs’ diverse and expansive collection of art pieces throughout the city.

PACE, an Iowa West Foundation initiative, worked closely with the anonymous donor and the City of Council Bluffs to get the sculpture placed at River’s Edge Park. “Public art not only serves to beautify our green spaces, but it also provides visitors and residents with even more access to cultural opportunities in our parks." said Mayor Matt Walsh. “This is just another example of how Council Bluffs is ‘Unlike anywhere else. On purpose.’”

 “Tom Friedman’s work evokes a sense of wonder and challenges the imagination, especially with the transformation of everyday ordinary objects into modernist sculpture. Looking Up is both sophisticated and accessible,” said Danna Kehm, PACE CEO. “However, the meaning, as well as beauty, will always be in the eye of the beholder. We hope the community appreciates the opportunity to experience such a significant piece of modern art created by a world-renowned artist.”

The National Center for Arts Research recently ranked the Council Bluffs metro at No. 6 on the list of most vibrant art communities in the country for medium-sized cities. Things are “looking up” for the arts in the region as construction continues on the Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center, a project being led by PACE. The facility is set to open in February 2020 and will include a 280-seat theater, rehearsal space, exhibit space, classrooms, and more. 



Council Bluffs, IA

The UNsculpture Project, led by PACE in partnership with the city of Council Bluffs and funded by Ted & Polly Hoff and the Iowa West Foundation, includes 10 UNsculptures throughout Council Bluffs to illustrate how Council Bluffs is "UNlike anywhere else. On purpose."

The UNsculptures live throughout the community marking "points of interest" in Council Bluffs. 

In 2020, a special event will take place at the new Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center to auction off the sculptures, raising funds for youth scholarships for art camps and classes.

UNsculpture Exhibits

UNlike Anywhere Else. On Purpose.



Harvester Artspace Lofts | Council Bluffs, IA

September 21 | 10:00AM - 5:00PM

September 22 | 12:00PM - 4:00PM

The Southwest Iowa Art Tour is entering its sixth year connecting southwest Iowa communities through art! The 2019 Southwest Iowa Art Tour will feature over 80 artists at 16 Gathering Places and studios in Red Oak, Malvern, Macedonia, Oakland, Avoca, Shenandoah, Sidney, Neola, Tabor, Harlan, Glenwood, and Council Bluffs! We encourage participants and attendees to chart their own course and visit some of the great businesses, eateries and wineries along the way, while discovering phenomenal art and artists in southwest Iowa!


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