Story of ‘The American Dream’ Behind New Public Artwork in Clive

CLIVE, Iowa -- An 8,000 pound,  18- foot tall steel sculpture named “Radiance” now greets those who pass the intersection of Northwest 128th Street and Woodlands Parkway in Clive.

Peter Marasco, the creative mind behind the design is modest about his work

“I feel so honored and so humbled, there are almost tears coming out of my eyes,” he says.

A former art teacher in the Des Moines Public School District for 32 years, Marasco is a well-known artist in central Iowa, designing several sculptures in the downtown and metro area.

For the last 60-some years, Marasco has called Iowa home. The Italian immigrant moved to Clive back when the town was known as “Campbell.” He and his wife, Anna, literally lived across the street from where the sculpture now stands.

“We feel very fortunate as we immigrants from Italy and from Latvia have been able to have such a wonderful life here and leave something of ourselves here. It`s truly a blessing,” she says.

Clive assistant city manager, Matt McQuillen says the artwork is critical to preserving the city’s history, “It was important for us to both recognized their historical home for them and the other history of the area. So this is symbol for both of those things.”

However the creative works of Marasco is slowing down. In 2009, the 84–year–old was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Marasco’s wife of 50 years says, “Pete no longer feels a strong desire to get out there and do another sculpture or another creation.” Despite his declining inspiration, Marasco says he felt humbled and honored the city asked him for a signature piece and couldn’t turn the request down.

The sculpture was dedicated at a public ceremony last week. The project took nearly three years to complete and was primarily funded by private donors, art organizations and both city and county entities.