John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park

Created in 2009, the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park covers 4.4 acres in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. Don’t be confused by the name, the Pappajohn’s have nothing to do with pizza. John Pappajohn is actually a successful venture capitalist who started in the insurance industry. I don’t know if it would be proper to call him Iowa’s version of Warren Buffett, but that’s what came to mind when I read his bio. Many of the sculptures in the park once adorned the Pappajohn’s estate and are valued at around $40 million dollars. While I’m certainly no art aficionado, I recognize some of the artists’ work from other sculpture exhibits like the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and Denver’s “the Art” Hotel. Specifically, I’ve seen works by Deborah Butterfield, Scott Burton, Barry Flanagan, Gary Hume, Judith Shea and Mark di Suervo before. As I looked back at my pictures and researched the artists, the list kept getting longer and longer. In any event, if you are interested in art and sculpture, the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park is a must visit.


Nomade by Jaume Plensa.


Moonrise by Ugo Rondinone.

“air gets into everything even nothing”

"air gets into everything even nothing" by Ugo Rondinone.

Thinker on a Rock

Thinker on a Rock by Barry Flanagan. 

Ancient Forest

Ancient Forest by Deborah Butterfield.

Back of Snowman

This is an extreme closeup of the Back of Snowman sculpture by Gary Hume. I thought the reflection looked cool.


Pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama.

White Ghost

White Ghost by Yoshitomo Nara.

What do you think?

7 points

Written by Chris B.

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