Press "Enter" to skip to content

Art Week DSM: Amenda Tate

Amenda Tate is an amazing artist that has and is making an incredible impact on the creative world in Des Moines and Iowa. She perfectly captures the intersection of scientific and artistic creation. During Art Week Des Moines, she will be part of multiple events and will have her own Manibus Project available on June 25th. This is an opportunity for the community to participate in creating a collaborative work of art through painting and dancing.

Tate has worked as an Artist-In Residence at New York Mills Cultural Center, Area 515 Makerspace, and with Ballet DesMoines. Her works have been featured by various media outlets including the Denver Post, the book Art Jewelry Today 2, Des Moines Register, Better Homes & Gardens, dsm Magazine, and Popular Science. Special honors include a permanent collection commission by Arrow Electronics in conjunction with Cherry Arts and the Colorado Ballet, two Editor’s Choice Awards at the New York International Maker Faire, and special recognition award in the 2017 International  Robot Art competition. Tate is a docent at the Des Moines Art Center and focuses on introducing students to visual literacy and meaning-making through critical observation of artworks. She is a single mother of two school-aged children. Read more about Amenda below!

Name: Amenda Tate

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Describe yourself & the work that you do:

I am an interdisciplinary artist and metalsmith. My works relate to ideas about identity, privacy, longevity, and human interaction in the digital era. I embrace scientific and aesthetic discovery to create objects, tools, processes, performative happenings, and collaborative exploratory works of art. 

Studies in Mechanical Engineering led me to realize that my interest in “how things work” would be best satisfied by artistic endeavors. I have a BFA in studio art with an emphasis in Jewelry/Metalsmithing. 

My current focus is the Manibus Project. Manibus (roughly translated means “from the hands” in Latin) is a motion-controlled paint-bot that I created to utilize in translating dance into paintings.  My process yields an observable abstract representation of what has transpired. It is an opportunity to analyze the fleeting moments of dance and social synergy. The works take shape as dynamic linear renderings that embody kinetic verve. The emotion of the dance becomes a painted vestige honoring that instance in time. The lingering traces aremapped connections facilitated by communal interaction, art,engineering, and technology.

At participatory Manibus dance-painting events (Happenings), I facilitate collaborative processes as a director combining the necessary elements, creative energy, and prescribed structure. Viewers become co-creators in meaning-making as living bodies in motion. I allow for spontaneity in the mark, but utilize my own set of constraints to orchestrate order in the process. I determine the scale, brush width, and timing, yet resign myself to accept some aspects of the output as they occur.

Why do you think the artistic community in Iowa is so important?

The artistic community in Iowa is imperative to minimizing the feelings of being an “outsider.” It helps to know that there are peers whose understanding of the world is broader than normative social constructs. Artistic community is invaluable in the collaborative opportunities it provides. We all need honest and educated feedback as well as enduring, supportive friends in order to grow.

Shout out to filmmaker Jack Meggers for his collaboration documenting my works in video – and DEFT for an awesome video of my ISU Happening. Shout out to Rachel Buse (LAZE) for being the local make-it-happen artist!

What do you think is important for our community to do better when it comes to supporting local artists?

Buy their artwork before they are dead – seriously though. Provide opportunities with less red tape and fewer political barriers.  Artists want to enrich their communities – they can’t help it. ASK artists what they need, and ASK for feedback. Don’t assume that you know what they need if you haven’t asked. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

What makes you magical?

As an artist, I empower diverse audiences through the creation of exploratory works of art. I promote critical thinking and visual literacy by modeling social connection within our digital world– cultivating the capacity amongst individuals and communities to interpret the world in which we live through richly meaningful expressions and interactions.

Event Details:

Free Art Friday Drop

June 14th

Somewhere in Des Moines

Watch for clues to be posted on Instagram:

@amendatate and @fafdsm

Finder’s = keeper’s

Manibus Dance-Painting Happening

Tuesday, June 25th 6-9 pm

The Fitch Building – 304 15th St., Des Moines (1st Floor)

Free and open to the public

Music by DJ Rock Paper Scissors

Come dance with us – take a turn to wear the control device on your wrist and dance to instruct Manibus to paint. We will create a large-scale, community-sourced collaborative painting. All abilities and ages welcome!

Facebook Event Page

Mini Golf Event

June 21st – 30th

The Courtyard at the Des Moines Social Club

$5 admission to play 

Amenda Tate is creating one of the mini-golf holes in the course.

Mini Golf Event Website 

Watch for more chances to see Amenda Tate’s art:

Amenda Tate’s Website

Amenda Tate’s Instagram

Amenda Tate’s Facebook

Please enjoy the series of photos below, with Amenda and her amazing lobster hat. Needless to say, this was a very enjoyable photo shoot!

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *