Escaramuza Zacatecana Mural by Third Space DSM adorns E Grand Street in Des Moines

Juan and Martha Piña with their daughter Alejandra who was the inspiration for the new mural by Third Space DSM Photo by Tar Macias

One does not always need to go to museums to enjoy great works of art. Art is all around us and many times the empty walls of buildings in the cities are the best canvas for street artists. The Des Moines area has some great murals. And some of them were done through Third Space DSM. And last week they unveiled their latest mural, a portrait of a Escaramuza Zacatecana at 1944 E Grand Ave. 

“Third Space is a public art and mural initiative,” Brian Bonanno, a creator of this initiative, explains.

He added that Third Space Des Moines was first created in 2017. At that time Mr. Bonanno was managing the initiative while working as Community Development Director for a non-profit organization that is called Community Housing Initiatives. Unfortunately the position was eliminated in 2019.

“I [also] had a commercial storefront on East Grand Ave, where I organized workshops, classes and art events for the community,” Mr. Bonanno shared. “This was the original Third Space, and the murals were part of this work. Since being laid-off I no longer have a storefront, but I have been working to continue the mural initiative on my own as best as possible.”

Brian Bonanno of Third Space DSM the artist of the Mural.
Photo by Tar Macias

Mr. Bonanno added that he has been coordinating and assisting artists with the painting of many murals over the past 8 years. But the mural on E Grand Ave in Des Moines was done by Mr. Bonanno himself. He explained that Mr. Juan Piña invited him last summer to tell him about his business,Grand Furniture and Mattress, that sells furniture and Charro regalia, and to show him the wall where the new mural would be. Mr. Piña wanted the mural to reflect his involvement in the Charro culture and Mr. Bonanno got inspired by what he heard.

“The clothes and dress are all beautiful and colorful and really iconic,” Bonanno explained his inspiration. “I knew they would make for a real interesting mural.”


He also added that in his previous job he would have coordinated with an artist who would come and paint the mural, but since he does not have the resources he had before, he felt he could do it himself.

“I decided that this was something I felt like I could do,” Mr. Bonanno stated. “It ended up being a great opportunity for me to actually pursue my own artistic ability rather than facilitating for someone else.”

He also added that more images will be coming. Mr. Bonanno said that he plans to open the rest of the wall to other graffiti artists sometime this June. He wants the wall to be a showcase and in the future to have rotating artists use this particular space throughout the year.

During difficult times all of us can use a splash of color in our lives. Many cities have murals painted on their buildings and they are amazing works of art. They can inspire and help us get through these difficult times.

“I think murals, in general, I am motivated by the power they have to reflect people, culture, history, and experiences, while also making people feel proud of and welcome in their communities,” Mr. Bonanno explained why he believes murals can be such amazing works of art. “I think we have a lot of room for more of this in Des Moines.”


If you wish to help artists like Bonanno the best way to help is reach out if you can offer a wall on your building to be painted on. He works on commissioned murals. Right now Mr. Bonanno is searching for walls where they can display rotating artists. For more information follow Third Space DSM on Instagram and Facebook. Instagram account is @Third_Space_DSM

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