FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
JACK MARREN (he/him)
"I create bright-colored abstract art inspired by the 3 words I live by... Dream, Dare, Do. I am a local artist living with autism, but that doesn’t make me a broken person. I have a giant passion for art. I’m always daring myself to dream. I create art because it lets me go beyond my wildest imagination. It is rare that I will use blacks, whites, and grays because I’m happy with most of my life."
ZOE NISWANDER (she/her)
Zoe would love to sell her artwork, primarily so she can afford more materials- her work is all about the process of creating- almost more than the end result. She would love to host gallery openings and work with other artists to learn more and develop her skills. All her work is inspired by current events or dreams.
NATHAN WILLIAMSON (he/him)
"I was born with spina bifida and have been using a wheelchair my entire life. My Aunt Gloria has taught me to work with stained glass. I create unique art rich with colors and meaning. Being able to create works of art with my hands has brought me so much joy."
SARAH SADIE LOGEMANN (she/her)
"I am an artist who creates with glitter, bubbly, and bold colors. I love to be in the center of the crowd because that’s where the brightest color pops out. I have struggled with depression and feeling out of the loop. Art guides my spirit to find connection that creates emotional regulation. I love looking at art in general as therapy. I am a believer in love, and art is a gift to me. I like to let others keep my creations to carry-on grounded connections."
Collage + abstract painter
VERA WEBSTER (she/her)
Vera mixes her own paint colors and creates collages with ripped paper, glue, and paints. Her artworks serve as one of her main means of communication and connection. Vera would love opportunities to make wonderful, colorful messes and have lots of free expression space and materials to work with.
Born and raised in Ames, Iowa, Leo Bird is a visual story teller based out of Des Moines. His stories show how he overcame challenges he faced fitting in growing up. His work can be seen in art shows and comedy shows around central Iowa.
"I am a motivational speaker of the series, The Words He Cannot Say. I use drawings as a visual aid. How this works is that I create the drawings ahead of time, and when I speak, I point to the drawings with a laser pointer when I refer to them when I talk. People who have watched me perform say that I pause when I talk. I have classified my standup as "clean", which is PG to PG – 13 content with no swearing."
'Although I currently perform with comedians, and my stories are humorous, I consider myself more of an activist than a comedian. I write stories to support a cause, not because I am a fan of any specific actor or book. For example, if someone told me I was patient, I would list traits that make someone patient, and times that I was patient. Or I will write an answer to a question that I am curious about, like “What made you choose this profession?” I also write to analyze how a situation could have handled differently."
Painter + artwear artist
KEVIN THOR (he/him)
Kevin is a Viking artist and was born and raised in Asgard. Kevin is a painter, metal worker, scholar, and sword fighter. Kevin creates at Mainframe Studios and is an Iowa-based artist. Kevin creates his history of his Nortic God self into human life. He physically occupies his creations in his home space, outside of the gallery and has plans to exhibit his work in future public art space.
Danielle is an Iowa-based artist, whose anime works focus on relationship dynamics and the past. Danielle would like to collaborate with gamers in bringing her anime works into accessible gaming. "I have been creating for 11 years. I am living with blindness, but I can do anything anyone else can. What inspires me to create depends on my mood. Anime artists are my favorite artists."
RYAN ALLEN MUELLER (he/him)
Ryan Mueller is a geometric abstraction artist, who lives and works in Ankeny, Iowa. He creates his work using a systematic process. Drawing lined grids across sheets of paper, using rulers and working from the edges into the middle, Ryan explores the relationship between lines, angles and surface. When choosing the colors, he works organically. "I creates as a way to enjoy time with myself, in my own space." Ryan has an interest and goals to exhibit his works to the public and connect with the community through his art.
FOE documenting artist
EMMANUEL GARCIA (he/him)
Emmanuel is an Iowa-based artist and the lead photographer and videographer documenting the FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION PROJECT. Eman applies photography, videography, production, and post-production in the creation of engaging media and digital documentary. "The goal for this project is to bring to light disability awareness in the arts with the hope that this mini-documentary will help galvanize people to demand change."
Support for the FOE Project provided by
The Greater Des Moines Public Arts Foundation, Mosaic in Central Iowa, Polk County Heritage Gallery,
The Harkin Institute, Mainframe Studios, AXA Mentorship Program, and Iowa Department for the Blind