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Artist named for Shoreline Signals art on ICON Water Trails


A digital rendering of the Shoreline Signals public art project that will be integrated on ICON Water Trails. Image submitted by Bravo Greater Des Moines

ICON Water Trails has chosen artist Matthew Mazzotta to launch a public art project that will integrate public art with the former Central Iowa Water Trails initiative.

The group picked Mazzotta and his “Heads Up” design to activate the $125,000 National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” grant that was awarded to Polk County and Bravo Greater Des Moines.

Mazzotta was one of dozens of applicants and three finalists for the Shoreline Signals project. According to a news release announcing his selection, Mazzotta has won numerous international art and architecture awards.

His concept for Shoreline Signals is a giant duck that will float heads or tails up depending on the water level of the Des Moines River. Organizers say it will guide users as they consider entering the water.

The project will be installed at one site along the ICON Water Trails initially, but more installations at other locations may be added.

Sally Dix, executive director of Bravo Greater Des Moines, said the project is an example of how art can act as a problem solver.

“We are delighted that public art is being incorporated into ICON Water Trails and are confident this installation will be a catalyst for future projects in our region,” she said in the release.

Maggie McClelland, ICON Water Trails director, touted Mazzotta’s work and experience.

“We’re thrilled to have an artist of Matthew’s caliber contributing to Shoreline Signals,” she said. “Including public art within this complex system will only strengthen user experience and provide additional touchpoints for the community to engage with our waters.”

Mazzotta is scheduled to be in Des Moines this weekend to inspect the site and will host opportunities for community engagement.

ICON Water Trails encompasses more than 80 planned improvements on 150 miles of waterways throughout Central Iowa. Its mission is to improve access and recreational opportunities on the region’s rivers and streams, improve safety and conservation and provide educational opportunities.

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