Dec 22, 2021 - News

Iconic glass mural by Des Moines Riverwalk cracked by vandals

A photo of a glass mural in Des Moines.
"Expansion" has been a Des Moines Riverwalk attraction for nearly a decade. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

Vandalism during last year's civil unrest caused more than $100,000 of damage to a glass mural at the Des Moines Riverwalk, the director of the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation told Axios.

Driving the news: "Expansion" was removed last week from its spot along Court Avenue and the Des Moines River to be shipped to Germany for repair.

Context: Some of the panels on the mural by artist Jun Kaneko were smashed with baseball-sized rocks last year, M. Jessica Rowe, the foundation's director, told Axios.

  • Security footage captured the vandalism but the quality of the video was poor and nobody was identified or arrested, Rowe said.

Details: The 15-foot-high by 21-foot-wide mural, which was installed at the site in 2013, is difficult to replicate.

  • The glass is hand blown in 45 different colors by artisans in Germany.
  • It's illuminated by more than 39,000 LED lights.

What's ahead: Insurance will cover much of the repair costs, but restoration could take up to a year to complete.

  • Improved protection measures are being reviewed to prevent future damage.
A photo of damage to a glass mural.
Photo courtesy of the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation
The view last week soon after the mural was removed. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios
The view last week soon after the mural was removed. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios
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