River Constellation

River Constellation is a love poem to Water Works Park. We wanted our sculpture to reflect the importance of public spaces and the role of donors as guardians of the park.  – Beau Kenyon

Photos by Water Works Park Foundation Board Member, Dylan Huey of Huey Photography

Leave a Legacy

A defining element of Water Works Park is the River Constellation, a site-responsive sculpture located near the amphitheater. 

This sculpture simultaneously elicits wonder and curiosity while faithfully responding to the unique beauty of the park and honoring generous donors — those who are helping us conserve Water Works Park’s wild spaces, improve community access and create cleaner water for Central Iowans.

Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation commissioned Boston and Des Moines-based composer Beau Kenyon and Brooklyn-based sculptor Natalia Zubko to create this piece. It is presented by the Kyle and Sharon Krause Family Foundation.  

Light, Sound, & Wildlife

Each pole has illuminated, semi-opaque orbs with light. You will experience both light and sound as you interact with this sculpture. The soundscapes are composed sound collages of wildlife in the park and performers and musicians from the Des Moines Opera and Des Moines Symphony.

Purchase Your Ring Along the River Constellation Today

The curves of the sculptural path are made by 45 10-foot tall,  vertical steel poles illuminated with 12-inch globes in concrete footings. Each pole has 4 – 8 illuminated semi-opaque orbs with lights. Individual metal rings installed on the poles recognize donors.

  • A $500 donation entitles you to a ring until all spaces have been sold.
  • Sponsors may include up to 35 characters – most are naming a company, friend or loved one.
  • An additional line at the top of the ring reading — In Memory of — may be added upon request.

Meaning Behind the Design

River Constellation flows horizontally, mimicking the circuitous path of the Raccoon River, and is vertically outlined with poles of glowing orbs of light and sound featuring rings bearing the names of donors and/or “in memory of.” 

Comprised of 45 10-foot tall poles illuminated with 12-inch globes, River Constellation emits a gentle ebb and flow of original music and light, encouraging visitors to wander through the sculpture immersed in light and sound. The site-responsive piece responds to the circuitous ribbons of Des Moines’ rivers and creates an intimate experience in the expansive landscape of the 1,500-acre park.