Artist Spotlight: Hilde DeBruyne

One look at Hilde DeBruyne’s sculptures sweeps you into an outdoor oasis. Her work transports you from an art gallery into the natural, beautiful world of a wood or meadow. This is precisely Hilde’s goal:

“I especially love the texture element in nature: the tree bark, weathered surfaces, driftwood, the pattern in leaves and wings…It reflects in my work in the added “texture”, as if leaving my marks and traces, and telling a story, history or memory.”

More than that, the juxtaposition of simplicity and complexity in nature inspires Hilde’s sculptures. She cites the Wabi-Sabi element as another level of inspiration. This is a Japanese aesthetic that places value on imperfection. For example, a weathered structure or decaying tree.

It comes as no surprise Hilde chose art as her life passion. She grew up in a family of artists and joined her father’s sculpture classes during her teen years. She remembers her childhood home encapsulating various art pieces representing cultural diversity, from Buddha figures to remnants from Christian buildings.

Hilde’s broad portfolio of work includes sculptures in private and public collections, including various public pieces around the Des Moines area. Included in this distinguished list is “Heart Beat,” a clay sculpture at Mercy Medical Center; “The Birth Place of Des Moines,” a porcelain tile mural in Principal Park; “Tree of Life”, a permanent public art installation at Sesquicentennial Park in Indianola; and “Circle of Life” a permanent installation at City Hall in West Des Moines.


Hilde, born in Belgium, was sought out by Mary Kline-Misol, one of the Founding Mothers of Artisan Gallery 218. Hilde recognized the unique opportunity to showcase her work along with other regional artists. Moreover, she recognized Valley Junction as a relic of her roots:

“It reminds me of the small European shops with their own unique character, feel and individuality. You enter a shop and are welcomed by a person who really cares about their shop…what makes 218 unique is that visitors can talk to the artists and hear about their creative journey. It adds so much more personality and meaning.”

When asked if she had a favorite piece, Hilde lamented that was like choosing who her favorite child is:

“They are all my favorite, especially while in the process of making them…It takes a while to detach from a sculpture. It can be hard to see it go.”

Stop in Artisan Gallery 218 to see a variety of Hilde’s work. You may also see her portfolio at and on her Facebook page.


5 Spots in Des Moines for Winter Photography

There is no doubt Des Moines is a beautiful city. The architecture, budding sculpture gardens and flowing rivers create stunning photographs or backdrops. However, most of these photos are taken during spring or summer when the sun is out, flowers are blooming and a thick blanket of snow doesn’t cover the grass.

But there is something to be said about the beauty and elegance of wintertime. There is nothing more magical than looking out the window and marveling at the way the snow graces each branch of a tree or how a frozen river completely transforms the look of the landscape that surrounds it.

Instead of curling up with a blanket and lamenting about the dropping temperatures, grab a loved one, bundle up and take a thermos of hot cocoa and your camera. Then, go enjoy the beauty of our top picks to enjoy the Winter Wonderment of Des Moines, Iowa.  Our expert travel photographer, Victoria Herring, has great tips for capturing the perfect snapshot at each location!

World Food Prize Hall of Laureates

Victoria’s Tips:  The exterior is lovely, particularly as it is next to the river.  But the inside has numerous images worth viewing [including a diptych by Mary Kline-Misol].  The staircase is worth a shot, as is the stained glass window on the way up.

WorldFoodprize stainedglasswindow WorldFoodprize Diptyche WorldFoodprize Ceiling

Iowa Capital Grounds

Victoria’s Tips:  The outside is beautiful and grand, but so is the inside.  The rotunda [ceiling] is impressive and if you go up to the 2nd level and visit both the House and Senate chambers, there are plenty of interesting places to see and to use as background.  Most impressive is the State Law Library with its winding staircases.

Iowa Capitol at night copy

Law Library
Law Library
Dome Looking Up
Dome Looking Up

Robert D Ray Asian Temple next to Des Moines River

Victoria’s Tips:  Capture the temple and the river behind it, and don’t forget the stylized lions guarding the Temple.  Focus on the designs and the red color, perhaps at sunset especially.

Dale Maffitt Reservoir

Victoria’s Tips:  This is a hidden gem, wonderful in the fall when the leaves are turning.  Plus you get the added bonus of some interesting farming images.

Des Moines Art Center

Victoria’s tips:  The Visitor’s Guide says:  “Personal photography of the permanent collection is permitted. No equipment, flash, or professional photography of any kind, unless with prior approval by the Art Center’s marketing department. Photography of temporary exhibitions is permitted unless signage states otherwise.”  In spring and fall, go outside and enjoy and photograph the Rose Garden and the front of the building, and in back, the I.M.Pei wing.  The sculpture on the grounds also makes a good subject or background.

Des Moines Art Center for 'Focus Your View'