World-renowned artist, Alice Aycock’s LIFTOFF arrives at Des Moines International on December 6

December 6, 2021

Des Moines, Iowa (December 6, 2021):  The Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation (PAF) commissioned Alice Aycock to design and craft a signature piece of work to be installed at the Des Moines International Airport through the support of generous art foundation donors.  The 20-foot-tall and 22-foot-wide piece, titled LIFTOFF requires two semis to transport it from Fort Lauderdale, FL where it was fabricated.  The complex installation process will take place over three days and be completed when LIFTOFF is erected and secured on the pedestal located where the airport entrance and exit meet.  The artist and a team of professional art handlers will work together with the Des Moines Airport Authority team to complete the installation before peak holiday travel begins.   


“This has been a long time coming,” art foundation director, Jessica Rowe stated. “Our first Aycock proposal was for a sculpture along the Sixth Avenue Corridor, back in 2012. We persisted in keeping her work in our public art wish list because we truly wanted to find it a prominent home in Des Moines. Partnering with the airport presented a great opportunity.” 


The sculpture was created from more than 200 pieces of white gloss powder coated aluminum hosting galvanized structural stainless-steel interiors. According to Aycock, the dazzling white outer core strongly contrasts with shadows as well as strongly defines the curvature of the work. It will be lit at night to continue defining the sculpture’s loops and spirals. Aycock, a pioneering American artist, is internationally known for public art installations including work at the Philadelphia International Airport, Dulles International Airport and the Kansas City International Airport.  LIFTOFF honors the late Johnny Danos, a community leader in Greater Des Moines.   


The artwork is on permanent loan to the Des Moines Airport Authority from the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation.  The Airport Authority is responsible for maintaining and cleaning the artwork.  


“This artwork will become synonymous with the Des Moines International Airport as it will be the first thing travelers see when entering the airport and the last thing when leaving,” said Kevin Foley, Des Moines Airport Authority executive director.  “We are excited to have LIFTOFF installed here, proud to maintain it and certainly join the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation in thanking all the generous donors who made this opportunity a reality.”  




The Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation, established in 2004, recognizes that art belongs not just in galleries and museums, but also in streetscapes, parks, buildings and infrastructures of a thriving community. Dedicated to envisioning, developing, advancing and promoting public art projects, the Public Art Foundation collaborates with local entities and artists to engage, inspire and enrich the lives of residents and visitors to the community. In June 2019, a major public art project commissioned by the Public Art Foundation, “A Monumental Journey” by celebrated artist Kerry James Marshall, was recognized as one of the 50 Best Public Art Projects in North America by The Americans for the Arts. For more information visit:, or socialize with us on Facebook at:, Twitter and Instagram at @DSMPublicArt. #DSMPublicArt  



Alice Aycock has lived in New York City since 1968. She received a B.A. from Douglass College and an M.A. from Hunter College. She was represented by the John Weber Gallery in New York City from 1976 through 2001 and has exhibited in major museums and galleries nationally as well as in Europe and Japan. Currently she is represented by Marlborough Gallery, New York and Galerie Thomas Schulte, Berlin. She had her first solo exhibition of new sculptures with Marlborough in the fall of 2017. Her works can be found in numerous collections including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the LA County Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the Sheldon, Storm King Art Center, the Louis Vuitton Foundation, and the Sprengel Museum in Hannover, Germany. She exhibited at the Venice Biennale, Documenta VI and VIII and the Whitney Biennial.  



About the Des Moines Airport Authority  

The Des Moines Airport Authority is an independent entity that oversees the operations and maintenance of the Des Moines International Airport. The Airport Authority works to improve the quality of air service and make air travel to and from Des Moines more convenient and pleasurable. For more information, visit and follow @dsmairport on Twitter and DSM International Airport on Facebook.