EVENT INformation

September 28 - October 7
Cowles Commons

The Luminarium exhibition is powered by more than 1,200 volunteer hours over the 10-day event – and we invite you to be a part of it now!

Sign Up To Volunteer


We are building a dynamic team of volunteer docents to guide guests as they experience the “Albesila” Luminarium. This opportunity is ideal for those interested in art, architecture, event management, theater, culture and education. Four hour shifts will rotate between various positions in ticket takers, supervision of assigned area, and engagement with guests. Each shift will include a 30 minute break.

The Luminarium exhibition is powered by more than 1,200 volunteer hours over the 10-day event – and we invite you to be a part of it now!

Docent volunteers requirements:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Commit to at least three 4-hour shifts throughout the 10-day event
  • Attend a 45 minute training session on Thursday, 9/27 at 2pm, 5pm, or 6pm
  • Execute all physical demands of various positions
  • Positively engage with guests
  • Provide educational material and speak to small groups


  • Receive one t-shirt special to the Luminarium installation
  • Experience the Luminarium throughout your volunteer shift
  • Engage in the local arts and culture of Des Moines

Please contact for more information and inquiries. 

The British company Architects of Air have taken their soaring structures across the globe and back to Cowles Commons with the ALBESILA - their newest Luminarium. Previously, Architects of Air exhibited ARBORIA in downtown Des Moines’ Cowles Commons in 2016. The inflatable walk-in sculpture is half the size of a football field and is a phenomenon of light, color and sound. Evoking a sense of wonder for people of all ages, the Luminarium offers a dazzling maze of winding paths and cavernous domes where visitors are invited to wander, lie down, or sit and enjoy the ambience. The Luminarium is accessible to wheelchair users and individuals with mobility difficulties. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Founder, designer and artistic director Alan Parkinson first started experimenting with pneumatic sculptures in the I980s and has since developed his own language of form in this plastic medium. Alan Parkinson’s involvement with inflatable structures began on a Nottingham community project in 1981.  He designed and built his first luminarium in 1985, with the aid of Probation Service offenders. In 1990 he created ‘Eggopolis’ which was the first of his luminaria to be shown outside Nottinghamshire. In 1992 the community project closed down and Architects of Air was formed. Alan Parkinson’s intention is to stimulate visitors to a sense of wonder to the beauty of light and color, and create an environment where the visitors’ experience is influenced by their own relation to space. Architects of Air is based in Nottingham UK, in a 4,000sf former textile workshop. 


Des Moines Performing Arts Partnerships: