Jul 20, 2022 - News

Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines to add a new outdoor venue

A photo of Hoyt Sherman Place.
These blue awnings were installed this month prior to a series of Jazz in July concerts at Hoyt Sherman Place. They are part of the permanent outdoor space being planned at the venue. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

Hoyt Sherman Place is launching a new project that will include a staging area for outdoor events, CEO Robert Warren told Axios this week.

Why it matters: Previous renovations have shaped the historic venue and its 1,252-seat auditorium into a popular spot for national tours — upcoming concerts include Melissa Etheridge, Amy Grant, Nick Swardson and the Indigo Girls.

  • The lawn project will further expand its reach and ability to host more community gatherings, Warren said.

Flashback: Hoyt Sherman was one of the early pioneers of Des Moines. His family's home became the first public art museum in DSM following his death in 1904 and remains a gallery.

  • The auditorium was completed in 1923 to host speakers of the Des Moines Women's Club, including Amelia Earhart, Helen Keller and Grant Wood.

Catch up fast: An upgrade in 2003 included air conditioning, which was important to expand the auditorium's usefulness.

  • A three-story expansion completed about two years ago on the facility's north side included new restrooms and a large rentable event space.

What's next: Final landscape designs still need to be approved by the Hoyt Sherman Place Foundation board and by the appropriate historic preservation entities before they are shared publicly, Warren said.

  • $100,000 has been budgeted for lawn enhancements, including trees grafted from President Lincoln's grave site in Springfield, Ill.

Of note: The blue awnings added this month are part of the permanent design plan but will be removed in cooler months.

  • Landscaping will reduce the slope on the facility's south lawn and largely cover the concrete footings that are currently exposed, Warren said.

Check it out: The third and final Jazz in July concert this year at Hoyt Sherman Place is next Tuesday. It's free.

  • 5pm-9pm, 1501 Woodland Ave., DSM
A photo of Jazz in July at Hoyt Sherman Place.
The new awnings were in place just prior to this free jazz concert on July 12. Photo courtesy of Robert Warren
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