Central Art Gallery

Current Exhibition:
The Art of Charles Bickel

June 21st through July 28th

Charles Bickel artwork

Chuck has a long and diverse art background. At age 13 he started studying painting under the tutelage of Dimitar Krustev, who both taught and painted in the style of the Dutch Masters. In the late 80’s Chuck studied graphic design at Des Moines Area Community College. After receiving an Associate’s degree from DMACC he studied fine art and Spanish at Drake University. Chuck has had studios and galleries in both Des Moines, Iowa and Santa Ana, California. In the 90’s he was one of the original members of the Santa Ana Artist Village with a live/work space in the Advertising Art Building. He had galleries in both the Santora Building and the Empire Building in Santa Ana, where he was on committees that helped cultivate the now flourishing and revitalized old downtown Santa Ana area. Chuck currently resides in Des Moines, Iowa where he produces paintings, drawings, illustrations and woodwork. Chuck has both private and corporate collectors where his work can be seen at locations including SACMI international, Moxie Gallery and restaurants such as Akebono.

Charles Bickel


Art Gallery History

In 1916, the Des Moines Public Library, working in partnership with the newly-formed Des Moines Association of Fine Arts, made a gallery space available in order to “purchase and hold title to paintings acquired for the benefit of the public, and to bring exhibitions to the city.” Several exhibitions were shown each year, and works of art were periodically purchased for the association’s permanent collection. After a period of inactivity in the 1930s due to the Depression, the DMAF in 1938 moved their collection to a building on Walnut Street, and, with funding from the Works Progress Administration in the 1940s, provided galleries and studio space. The Des Moines Association of Fine Arts voluntarily dissolved in 1945 and their assets were turned over to the [James] Edmundson Art Foundation. That entity funded construction of the new Des Moines Art Center, which opened at its present location on Grand Avenue in 1948.

old art gallery

The Art Gallery at the Central Library, which opened in May, 2016, is located on the second floor and offers an accessible and welcoming environment for encouraging and celebrating Iowa artists. Exhibitions of original art work will engage, enrich, and be enjoyed by our patrons and enhance our community as a whole. These exhibitions expand the library’s role and bolster creative and expressive energy in the Des Moines community.

We are excited to continue the rich tradition of art at the Des Moines Public Library into a second century. Thank you for your support, and we hope to see you at the gallery!