SCAVO Open Arts Group completes community artwork

CONTACT: Sara Crouse, 515-661-5557,

Take a look around the Historic Sherman Hill Neighborhood and you’ll see a colorful new addition to a once drab building. The SCAVO Alternative High School students recently installed a set of seven panels illustrating the goals of the Green & Main Pilot Project located at 800 19th Street in Des Moines. The panels vibrantly display buying local products, practicing sustainable habits, and best practices in storm water management. The panels were created as part of the SCAVO Community Revitalization Classes offered to students in the Open Arts Group.

The SCAVO Open Arts group has created permanent public art for the last 10 years. A few examples of the group’s work can be seen in the Federal Courthouse, Federal Building, and the United Way Offices. SCAVO Alternative High School instructors Suzet Nelson and Ellen Robinson were both personally interested in sustainable initiatives prior to working with the Green & Main project.

Instructors Nelson, Robinson, and Chaden Halfhill of Indigo Dawn, LLC agreed the community art panels should illustrate the building’s historical use as a local grocery store in the Historic Sherman Hill Neighborhood. The students also designed the panels to represent the current neighborhood and the building’s goals to promote energy efficiency. Many of the SCAVO Open Arts students are currently in secondary education programs to pursue their passion for art and community contributions.

Both Nelson and Robinson continue to be involved in sustainable projects like Green & Main. Nelson is a board member of Urban Ambassadors, a local 501(c)3 not-for-profit that seeks to move city residents towards sustainable lifestyle choices, creating programs that other organizations may utilize to create change. Robinson has been focused on sustainability throughout her 36 year teaching career. She currently is involved with local community gardening efforts.

Pictures of the SCAVO Open Arts Group’s work on the Green & Main project can be viewed online at For questions regarding the SCAVO Open Arts Group please contact Suzet Nelson or Ellen Robinson at 515-242-7589. For questions about the Green & Main Pilot Project please contact Sara Crouse at 515-890-9420