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New Public Art Brings Music, Water Quality Awareness to West Des Moines

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa  --  A a new piece of playable public art is on display in West Des Moines.

A water xylophone was installed on Friday on the Jordan Creek Trail near EP True and 50th. It's not just there for the music, though--each length of pipe represents a different quarterly reading of E. coli and chloride levels in the Jordan Creek. The pipes create a musical bar graph that also shows the danger in Iowa waterways.

The xylophone was created by Iowa State professor Alex Braidwood, who says he hopes it brings awareness of water quality but also opens some minds to the world of art.

"What I think is really important of about the creation of public art is that it meets people where they are and gives them a different kind of access point," Braidwood said. "And so that's what I was hoping with this. Everybody can pick up a thing, everybody can clang on a pipe, and you're starting to experience art in a very different way."