4.5
11 votes

Alphabet Heads

1330 Grand Ave, Pappajohn Sculpture Park, Des Moines, Iowa 50316-3800 USA

  • Independent
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“At the Pappajohn Sculpture Park”

If it isn't already, Plensa's three-story Nomade may soon become a symbol of Des Moines the same way Oldenburg and van Bruggen's shuttlecocks represent Kansas City and their spoon and cherry represent Minneapolis.The figure's sheer size dominates the park's landscape, and its human form made from scrambled steel letters seems to suit the city's vision of itself in the Information Age. The artist envisioned the letters as building blocks for words and ideas in the same way human cells for tissues, organs and bodies. They're painted with white enamel that appears dark against the sunlit sky and glows at night, thanks to dramatic spotlights at the sculpture's base. The effect is surprisingly ethereal for something that weighs about 4 tons.

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Reviewed by
A. Crews

  • 55 Reviews
  • 94 Helpful
March 30, 2014

Not really a head but a giant figure clutching his knees, cool though. Be sure to check out the whole park it's got a prism to the right of this guy and several other statues. If you walk about three blocks up from him there is a giant trowel. It's worth it to stop and look around.

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
kippster19

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
March 31, 2017
Rated 5.0

The heads is the largest piece, but this is an art park with some really awesome pieces. The directions from the Roadtrippers app take you to 9th and locust but it's actually between 13-15th street. There are also some nice restaurants and coffee shops right in the park so it's worth the stop off of the highway to stretch your legs and grab a bite.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Susanhudd

  • 3 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
September 08, 2014

Stopped here to walk around a bit after a wonderful lunch at Zombie Burger. Fun sculptures, nicely spaced, just the right size for us. We recomend stopping here for some interesting art!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Jennyc123

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
April 23, 2014

Perfect stopping point on our trip from Chicago to Breckenridge, Co for three boys to stretch out, run around, roll down some hills all while appreciating some amazing works of art. Well worth the stop.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
brandimathis

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
January 11, 2014

Had friends who took wedding photo's here. She is an English teacher. turned out beautiful!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
clairehall2

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
August 10, 2020

Followed the navigation and there was no sculpture in sight... not sure how we could miss it. Perhaps if we had more time we could have driven around to try to find it.

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Reviewed by
briannebilyeu

  • 16 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
July 14, 2020
Rated 5.0

Such a great and unexpected discovery. Alphabet Heads is located in a huge (two city block), free, open air sculpture garden in the middle of the city.

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Reviewed by
jbeyers

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
July 14, 2017

This sculpture is part of the Papajohn Sculpture Park if you are trying to find it using GPS. It's a great place to walk around or relax. The surrounding areas also have a red trowel sculpture and some great murals! I really enjoyed stopping here to stretch while passing through on another trip.

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Reviewed by
SiouxzieQueue

  • 5 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
March 07, 2017
Rated 5.0

What a great park! Worth the 15-20 minutes to walk the whole block. Highly recommended. Easy to get to, on street parking also easily located.

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Reviewed by
Jessie Higgins

  • 6 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
May 26, 2016
Rated 5.0

This is an awesome sculpture in the middle of an awesome sculpture park.

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Alphabet Heads

1330 Grand Ave
Pappajohn Sculpture Park
Des Moines, Iowa
50316-3800 USA

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  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
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