Karess Carter

The Des Moines Arts Festival in a nutshell
The Des Moines Arts Festival in a nutshell

I have made it a point to buy something at every Des Moines Arts Festival. It all started many years ago when I fell in love with these black and white photos of Ireland. I’ve always wanted to go there, but haven’t been there yet. These photos captured the most amazing ‘feel’ of Irealnd. So I picked up two prints. I framed them, and hung them on my living room wall so I could look at them every day.

The next year the artist returned, and I bought 2 more prints. I think he missed a year, but I caught him again and I now have 5 stunning black and white photos of Ireland on my living room wall. I paid under $60 for each print, that makes me smile every day.

The next thing I ended up buying was a multimedia piece. It is about a 8×11 size and it is a drawing of a tv. The screen has actual foreign currency used to create the picture. This also sits on a living room wall.

And then a few years ago I discovered someone in the Iowa Emerging Artists section. A gal by the name of Amanda Barr that has very cool pottery pieces. I have a couple of those in the form of little bowls that keep my rings and earrings.

Last year I found so many stunning pieces that were very large, with a music theme to them. My husband and I have all music themed items in our basement, and I so badly wanted one of these pieces. But I have no wall space left in the basement!

I just took a walk around this year and again, I am stunned with the variety of booths. I want to share a few of my faves, and really show how you can find something for everyone…despite how big or small your wallet is.

First let’s start with a booth I’ve seen several times. For a music lover like me, this is one of my favorite booths to check out. You can get a print for around $55, but what I really want is this beautiful framed John Lennon piece with Imagine written in tiles. It is only $195 and I’m seriously thinking about it for my Beatle loving cousin’s upcoming birthday. The booth is LS6.

This is @STAR_Karess' favorite piece at @DMArtsFestival #arts #imagine #dmaf2013

Next I found Fobots! (Found Object Robots) that are so unique they had my head spinning! I was talking to the artist and not only is each piece completely different, they all have a ‘heart’ inside just like the tin man. She said some of the pieces you can’t open, but you can hear the heart rattling around. The pieces I looked at were around the $400-$450 range. Check them out at booth 15W2.<

.@STAR_Karess loves these FOBOTS = Found Object Robots, and each robot has a "heart" @DMArtsFestival #dmaf2013

Now usually I am not into jewelry. So when it catches my eye, I'm pretty quick to pull the trigger. And my eye was drawn to these adorable green star earrings with a matching necklace. My goal was to find one piece to purchase under $100. The earrings that I loved, were $44, and the necklace was $40. I bought the earrings almost without hesitation. The color was so unusual! And then I kept looking and found another pair that I may have to go back for that were black with dark purple circled centers. The booth is G55 and run by Michael Doogan and Anita Miles from Utah.

.@STAR_Karess inquires about earrings by Michael Doogan & Anita Miles @DMArtsFestival

If you have never ventured into the Emerging Iowa Artists area, you are missing out! This is where I've found some great work, and usually really underpriced. Today I met Paige Stanton, who will be a freshman at Iowa State. She had some incredible photos up, some prints and some as canvas. She told me she already sold her big pieces and was going to really try to get more done before tomorrow. But the prices on these photos were beyond reasonable. She has an incredible eye for detail, that really shows in the pictures. Don't be surprised if the walls in her booth start to really look empty as I think she will do very well this weekend!

.STAR_Karess checks out a print by Emerging Iowa Artist Paige Stanton @DMArtsFestival

These are just a few of the treasures I found. When I go back tomorrow I'll be sure to find more. I'll be in the STAR studio watching the crowds for a while, hoping someone brings me a corn dog or the amazing noodle dishes everyone is talking about! Live it up my friends…the Des Moines Arts Festival is only here once a year!