Public Art

Art can be a powerful community builder in addition to adding interest and beauty to enjoy. When you hear the term ‘public art’, murals and statues might be the first things you think of, but public art includes a wide variety of things, including sound, lighting, performances and more! 

Why is it important for the City to have a plan for public art?

Artists can help highlight the different perspectives on culture and community character. Developing public art will harness that power to make the best parts of our community shine and help Waukee stand out. In addition to adding visual interest to a community, public art can be a part of creative solutions to challenges, such as colorful lighting that improves safety in a fun way. Public art has economic impact, from adding highly recognizable elements that draw visitors to showcasing community character that draws businesses to locate in a city.

About the Public Art Advisory Commission

Public art enhances the feel of a city and enriches the lives of residents. It offers entertainment and enjoyment for residents and visitors, which in turn can help attract businesses and enhance the reputation of Waukee. With this in mind, the City of Waukee established the Waukee Public Art Advisory Commission to help develop and implement a unified public art strategy for the Waukee community. As the master plan is put into place, the commission advises the Mayor and City Council on proposals, guidelines and matters related to public art.

Public Art Master Plan

The Waukee City Council adopted the first Public Art Master Plan for the City of Waukee in November 2023. The plan will serve as a guidebook to foster a distinctive identity for Waukee through arts and culture. Cultural plans like this guide investment to maximize impact, reduce risk and align cultural production with bigger civic objectives. The plan will be used as a road map for city commissions, city departments, organizational stakeholders and individual constituents to maximize public art in support of community goals. As the plan is implemented, residents and visitors will have opportunities to enjoy diverse artworks while they shop, work and play.

The plan includes guiding principles and a vision for art and culture initiatives in Waukee, recommendations for specific initiatives and policies to advance community goals as well as a framework to define a public art program. The master plan and ongoing public art program can inspire other organizations and businesses around Waukee to join the City in leveraging art to enrich our community.

Guiding principles:

  1. Create novel destinations with a clear sense of Waukee identity
  2. Add arts and culture to valuable community assets
  3. Build strong relationships and a sense of place amid rapid growth

The plan highlighted a few ways Waukee could incorporate public art, such as:

  • Create interactive and unique experiences on Waukee Trails
  • Add color and interest to Waukee’s major corridors—Hickman Road, University Avenue, Alice’s Road/Grand Prairie Parkway or Douglas Parkway
  • Bring art to stormwater facilities, such as detention ponds
  • Engage teens in art and create welcoming hangout spaces
  • Develop and celebrate distinct identities for Waukee neighborhoods

Examples of Public Art in Waukee

  • Railroad Pergola: In the Shadow of the Rails on the Raccoon River Valley Trail
  • Harp in Triangle Park
  • Roundabout on Warrior Lane
  • City of Waukee logo signs + banners on the light poles and in medians
  • City of Waukee logo wraps on utility boxes
  • Veterans memorial near the Community Center
  • American Gothic sculpture at the Library
  • Engraved rock outside the Public Safety building

Art in City Spaces

Aerial view of the roundabout in shape of Waukee city logo on Warrior Lane
Left image is little girl hugging a Scooby Doo sculpture; right is a wooden fox sculpture
Little girl playing metal harp in Triangle Park
Four black pillars of the Veterans Memorial outside the Waukee Community Center
American Gothic sculpture through the grass outside the Public Library
City logo sculptures in median on Grand Prairie Parkway