2012 in Review: Culture
Friday, December 28, 2012 7:00 AM
Planning begins on redeveloped Walnut Street
Planning begins on redeveloped Walnut Street Although Walnut Street has a long way to go before it’s transformed from a transit mall to a 24-hour entertainment district, city leaders took some crucial first steps in 2012.
In February, New York architect Mario Gandelsonas drew up plans of what he’d like to see become of the street, filling it with outdoor cafes, restaurants and retail establishments.
And in October, retail consultant Robert Gibbs began his research to see what types of stores could be viable in downtown Des Moines. Gibbs will be back in January to talk with developers and planners about the best way to move forward with the area.
Downtown Community Alliance President and CEO Glenn Lyons said a concept design will be drawn up by January 2013 and hopes a final plan will be approved by April. If all goes according to plan, construction most likely will begin around Kaleidoscope at the Hub in 2014, he said. Read full story
Report finds women’s voices lacking in Iowa
The results of the 2012 Nexus Index, a survey that identifies and measures gender equality indicators in Iowa, showed that not much has changed for Iowa women in the eight years since the first index was completed.
Since the Nexus Executive Women’s Alliance first conducted the survey in 2004, the percentage of female legislators has hovered between 20 and 23 percent. In 2012, the state ranked 33rd among the 50 states, with 21.3 percent of Iowa legislators being women.
Since 1838, only two women have been appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court. Iowa is also one of two states to have never elected a female to Congress or as governor -- the other state being Mississippi.
Women’s voices are underrepresented in boardrooms as well as government. A look at Iowa’s 11 largest Iowa companies shows that in 2010, 16 percent of members on the various boards of directors were women. Read full story
This year, Des Moines saw some favorite spots close their doors and welcomed others to the neighborhood. Here’s a quick reminder at what happened on the restaurant scene:
East Village favorite Baby Boomers Cafe ceased operations at the end of April. Owner Rodney Maxfield closed up shop after eight years of running the restaurant to move to Colorado. Farm-to-table eatery HoQ Restaurant then moved into its space this fall.
Late-night Ames burrito joint the Fighting Burrito opened a Des Moines location this August in the Western Gateway. Store owner Matthew Goodman said it offers a healthier lunch choice made with fresh ingredients and sauces.
Flour Pizza, also located in the Western Gateway, closed earlier this year. Owner Carley Groben shuttered the restaurant in February.
Groben also owned the Mediterranean lunch spot Proof until she sold it to chef Sean Wilson and Des Moines Social Club President Zachary Mannheimer in March.
Farm-fresh lunch spot Host opened in Flour’s old space in late spring.
Des Moines festivals expand and grow
This year, some signature Des Moines festivals grew and more were added. Here’s a look at some new things the city had to offer:
In October, the new Wonder of Words Festival debuted. The festival, co-hosted by the Downtown Community Alliance and the Des Moines Public Library, celebrated books and reading in various downtown locations. The festival featured 80 Iowa authors as well as best-selling author Dennis Lehane. Read full story
Toasting to 10 years, Winefest Des Moines uncorked new events and activities for Greater Des Moines, expanding from three days to eight days. The event offered more education opportunities and more opportunities to highlight local wine and beer. Read full story
The 80/35 music festival turned 5 this year. The Greater Des Moines Music Coalition festival attracts around 30,000 people and has an economic impact of about $1 million. And the Des Moines Arts Festival entered its 15th year this June. (Pictured are Justin Schoen and Allison Fleming) Read full story
Mary Sellers named president of United Way
Mary Sellers took over as president of United Way of Central Iowa in late March.
Sellers, a University of Florida graduate, was the president and CEO of the Children’s Museum of the Upstate in Greenville, S.C., the CEO of the South Florida Science Museum and former president and CEO of the Science Center of Iowa.
Sellers took over for Shannon Cofield, who announced last December that she would leave the organization after eight years in Des Moines, and 22 years with United Way. Cofield is now senior counsel to the president for strategic partnerships at Drake University. Read full story
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