AMES, Iowa — Des Moines artist Larassa Kabel is a recipient of the 2017 Design Achievement Award presented by the Iowa State University College of Design.

The award recognizes outstanding creative and professional achievements of alumni in all of the college’s disciplines, which include architecture, art and design, community and regional planning, graphic design, industrial design, integrated studio arts, integrated visual arts, interdisciplinary design, interior design, landscape architecture, sustainable environments and urban design.

Kabel received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in craft design (now part of the integrated studio arts program) from Iowa State in 1992. She will be honored during Homecoming at the ISU Alumni Association’s 86th Honors and Awards Ceremony, beginning at 1:15 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, in Benton Auditorium, Scheman Building, Iowa State Center. A dessert reception will follow. The public is invited to attend.

Kabel is a visual artist who often uses photorealistic drawings, paintings and prints to address issues of loss, fear, compassion, gender and feminism. She wants her work to start conversations about the “sad, hard parts” of human experience and help people “support one another in a difficult world,” she said.

Her work — which also includes mixed media, sculpture and collaborative projects with other artists — has been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout Iowa and the US, including Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, Kansas City, Miami, New York City, and other cities in Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana and New York.

In 2015 Kabel co-founded Chicken Tractor, a nonprofit organization that creates professional development, exhibition, networking and micro-funding opportunities for emerging and mid-career Iowa artists. In 2016, she received the first Dave Hurd Innovator of the Year Award from the Des Moines Arts Festival. The new award recognizes an individual or organization that demonstrates the pursuit of innovation in the arts.

Kabel was an Iowa Arts Council Artist Fellow in 2015 and one of the Des Moines Art Center’s Iowa Artists 2010. Her painting of the Obamas’ dog, Bo, was selected for the White House Christmas card in 2012, and her colored-pencil portrait titled “Don’t Stop Believing” was acquired by the Des Moines Art Center for its permanent collection in 2014.

Kabel and her husband, Christopher Snethen, have two children.


Larassa Kabel, Artist, (515) 528-4050, larassak@gmail.com
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289, hsauer@iastate.edu