When Kristin told us about her & fellow business owners plan to host summer exhibits to support artists during the lacking festival season, we thought: “what could we do to support this and other COVID-19 responsible art projects?” Well, help get out the word & map them all. Don’t forget to tip the artists and shop online at the host businesses. Visit our Art Map Ames to see all Ames art that can be enjoyed outdoors.

Ames Collaborative Art

“Art Vacancy” is a 3-month long exhibition running from July 15th – October 15th, 2020 along Main Street in Ames, IA. The project supports 12 local artists and consists of art installations in the windows of local businesses. Come see the art (and the other art projects happening downtown – Art Map Ames) responsibly, socially distanced, and get your creative batteries charged.

Support provided by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Locations & Artists

111 Main Street: Morning Bell Coffee Roasters

Morning Bell Coffee Roasters is a specialty coffee roasted/retailer located on Main Street in Ames, IA.  Long-time supporters of the arts in Ames, check out the mural from ASPHATE on their building!  Named 2020 Best Independent Coffee Shop in Iowa by 24/7 Wall St.

Caroline Freese

I am an emerging multimedia artist from Iowa, focusing in acrylic painting and ceramics. My art is all connected through my animal designs, which form the base of my brand. I create unique, folk-style animal paintings on wood, which I use to decorate my hand-thrown porcelain pottery using black iron oxide printed decals. My forms and pastel glazes are unique to my brand and fired in an electric kiln to cone 6. I perform every step in my process by hand. My ceramic forms are a canvas to display and spread my animal creations.


136 Main Street: Little Woods Herbal

Mia Buch

Mia Buch believes that art is gift giving, and that the artist must care about those who receive their work, like with teaching, people are trusting you to put something new inside of them. An experience, a comparison, a perspective, a New way of understanding -themselves, the world or others. As an artist Mia honors this responsibility and strives, through her work; to gift joy, foster empathy, deepen connections, and respect her viewers enough to challenge them to grow.


212 Main Street: London Underground

The London Underground is an unpretentious British pub in downtown Ames, Iowa. We opened in 2006 with a very modest goal: to create a comfortable space for good drinks and great conversation. Temporarily closed due to covid-19.


Rami Mannan’s work explores the benefit of meditative practices through repetition and ritualism. Currently, he is interested in drawing as a meditative and spiritual tool to explore the ephemeral (things that are in transitory and that only exist briefly). He explores the ephemeral through illusion, time, color, light, depth, and form.

He is of Sudanese nationality, was born and brought up in Qatar. He came to the United States to pursue Architecture at Iowa State University. He graduated with his BArch in 2019 from Iowa State University and is currently pursuing his Master of Science in Architecture at Iowa State University.


219 Main Street: Z.W. Mercantile

ZW Mercantile is a locally-owned and operated, eco-conscious business striving to help beginners and experts alike transition to and maintain as close to a zero waste lifestyle as possible. We strive to understand the products we buy and their lifecycle.

Kristin M Roach

Kristin uses scientific data and cast-off materials to create drawings, paintings, and immersive installations about her backyard ecology. She’s most known for the Junk Mail Migration series of bird paintings, her business Little Woods, and her book Mend it Better.

She completed her BFA in Oil Painting at Northern Illinois University with a minor in art history in 2008. She is currently living and working in Ames, Iowa.


305 Main Street: We the Dreamerz

We the Dreamerz goal is to educate people on the value of shopping with more awareness, and help make it easy for you to embrace conscious consumerism by providing a shop where everything we carry upholds these standards.

ARD Corujo

Hi! My name is Anahy Corujo; I am the artist behind ARD. I was born and raised in the coastal town of Isabela, Puerto Rico. I moved to Iowa two years ago after winning a scholarship at Iowa State University where I am currently a junior majoring in Apparel Merchandising and Design.

Living in Puerto Rico as an artist is pretty tough, we have extremely talented people who lack the platform and resources to truly stand out. I get a surge of energy when it comes to nature and vibrant colors. The tropical scenery in Puerto Rico is my inspiration which is my topic for this collection and where I mix my love for art and fashion. In this set, I hand-painted my original designs on my two pieces, and repurposed the corset top which was originally a pair of trousers. My mission is to show the importance of sustainable fashion. I believe in giving clothing a second life, and repurposing items that we’ve lost interest in.

328 Main Street: Threadit

Tailoring, Garment Repair, Wardrobe Restyling and Private Shopping

Jamie Malone

Jamie Malone (they/them) is a 23 year old non-binary creator who graduated from Iowa State University in the summer of 2019 with a BA in Biological/Pre-Medical Illustration.

Their art is heavily inspired by celestial bodies, music, Black creatives, and the natural world. They wish to educate and celebrate with their art, providing pieces for clients to cherish for lifetimes. Their current mediums of choice are wood burning and digital illustration, but they are well versed in many forms of traditional materials as well.

402 Main Street: Thai Spice Restaurant

The Spice offers authentic Thai cuisine in a stylish and sophisticated, yet relaxed environment.

Current Special: 20% off all bottles of wine

Naomi Friend

Naomi Friend is a professional artist in Central Iowa. She explores the prairies of the Midwest through art-making. Her pieces are inspired by the ecosystems, the plants, and the animals that make up the texture of our landscape. She believes that when we investigate the role of humans as caretakers of creation, we discover much about our world and our future.

Art Vacancy Downtown: Previous Exhibits

Thank you to the artists and host locations that participated in the first series of exhibits!

309 Main Street: Nook & Nest

Nook and Nest is the quintessential collection of everything you need to create warm, inviting spaces in your home and office. We partner with designers and suppliers to carefully curate our selections, taking the guess work out of designing your space. Everything coordinates together making it easy for you to select your favorite pieces with confidence. 

Alicia Wilkinson

Alicia is a mother, painter, mixed media artist and Senior Registered Interior Designer with HAILA | Architecture | Structure | Planning in Ames, IA. She creates paintings with thick textures and other mediums while exploring the beauty of color. Alicia’s inspiration comes from her Creator as she processes through the deep pain and incredible joys in her life alongside the desire to bring transformation into other people’s lives. Her work also embodies her heart for injustice in the world and drives her to create work that brings restoration and renewal on the earth. The use of color within her interior design work and paintings push each other to become better in both fields of work.

A portion of this body of work was created throughout the last few months and includes series’ entitled: Setting The Oppressed Free, The Pandemic Series and Healing Landscapes. The Incorporation of techniques and materials that she hasn’t used before helped her push new boundaries in order to help bring light to and restore so much brokenness around us.

313 Main Street: Cook’s Emporium

At Cooks’ Emporium, our mission is to provide inspiration and the tools to enable the at-home or professional chef in their creative passions, equipping chefs of all levels, from a campus town studio apartment to the professional galley at the busiest Michelin Star’d eatery.

Tibi Chelcea

Tibi Chelcea takes elements and processes of traditional art disciplines, such as printmaking, textiles, and drawing, and combines them with parts and operations of digital technologies, thus unveiling unexpected correlations between old and new technologies. His works have been exhibited throughout the United States (New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Iowa, and other states) as well as Mexico, Egypt and Brazil, and has received a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant.

He was born in Romania and came to the United States to pursue a PhD in Computer Science. He has received several awards, fellowships, and patents in the field of electronic and digital design, which continues to be a major source of inspiration for his art.

305 Main Street: We the Dreamerz

We the Dreamerz goal is to educate people on the value of shopping with more awareness, and help make it easy for you to embrace conscious consumerism by providing a shop where everything we carry upholds these standards.

Jazmine Dirks

Local artist and art teacher, Jazmine’s work is a celebration of life. Using line and color she creates joyful illustrations of the beauty in our world. 


136 Main Street: Little Woods Herbal

Carmen Cerra

Copy editor, page designer, freelance artist, board game artist, designer of Little Woods’ woodland tea party greeting cards, and former political cartoonist.


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