2013 Juice YP of the Year winner, finalists

About the Juice YP of the Year Award

November, we asked Juice readers to nominate their friends, co-workers, employees, bosses, spouses and themselves for our fifth annual Juice Young Professional of the Year award. The award honors central Iowans younger than 35 who have made an impact in their communities through social, volunteer, charitable, cultural and other efforts.

Stories by Josh Hafner and photos by Zach Boyden-Holmes

An independent panel of judges from the community reviewed every nomination, then chose our five finalists, and a winner. See 50 photos from the YP of the Year. Catch up with past winners. Take a look at all of the past finalists and winners.

Liz Lidgett

Age: 28

Lives in: Des Moines

Hometown: Des Moines

Education: University of Missouri (2007), University of Southern California (2009)

Community contributions in 2013: Co-founder, 100 Chicks for Charity; president, Art Noir; participant, Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute; board director, Junior League of Des Moines; board member, Kappa Alpha Theta National Young Alumnae; advisory board member, Ballet Des Moines; committee member, Department of Cultural Affairs Gala; mentee, Community Connect

Liz Lidgett: Creating a more vibrant community
2013 Juice Young Professional of the Year Liz Lidgett is a business owner and leader in Des Moines’ arts and culture communities.

It’s been a good year for Liz Lidgett. A couple good years, actually: 2013 marked her second year in a row as a Juice YP of the Year finalist. This year, she won the top recognition.

Many know the 28-year-old Lidgett in central Iowa’s corporate, cultural and philanthropic scenes as an advocate for the arts, a former art manager for Kum & Go who staked out on her own in late 2012 to form Liz Lidgett Fine Art, a one-woman art advisory firm.”

I was just starting out at the end of 2012. Now I’ve been a year into this job and have my own business,” she said. “It’s an incredible intersection of where my passions lie and being constantly able to do new things and work with amazing people. I have no complaints.”

Her business’ clients last year varied from small startups needing a single painting to vast private collections.

She’s particularly excited about an assignment she took on to place artwork in Malo, Orchestrate Hospitality’s new restaurant at the Des Moines Social Club. Lidgett kept volunteer involvements in 2013 with several organizations and events, including Art Noir, Ballet Des Moines, the Department of Cultural Affairs Gala and 100 Chicks for Charity.

The Des Moines native returned in 2009 after earning her master’s degree in public art at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Sure, L.A. has more museums and deeper pockets in need of art expertise, but Lidgett knew she could make a bigger impact sooner in Des Moines. She was probably right.

“She’s got the undefinable ‘IT.’ You know that immediately,” said Des Moines Art Center Director Jeff Fleming, who noted that the center’s Art Noir group doubled in membership during Lidgett’s presidency in 2012 and 2013.

As with Art Noir, most of Lidgett’s involvements have a cultural bent. That’s intentional, she said.

“I am who I am because I attended art classes at age 5 at the Art Center. I am who I am because of the University of Missouri and so I help with their alumni organization,” Lidgett said. “I want to help organizations take the next step and give what I can so the next five-year-old girl can fall in love with art at the Art Center.”

Picking the right involvements and saying “no” to the rest proved key for Lidgett last year as she learned the ins and outs of running a full-time business on her own. Lidgett knew she was passionate about art and art history and wanted to work with corporate collections. What she didn’t know was how to handle a business’ books, acquire health insurance and other administrative work. Building the right team around her — including a good accountant and the right lawyer — proved key, she said.

Lidgett was Juice’s youngest finalist this year, but she’s already thinking about the lasting impact she wants to leave on Des Moines. Part of that is thanks to her involvement in the current class of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute, a twice-per-month meeting of up-and-comers from all different backgrounds in Des Moines. As a project co-chair for her class, Lidgett is leading a group of leaders to acquire a high-tech play center for the nonprofit Courage League Sports, an area athletics facility for challenged youth.

One of the institute’s sessions asked attendees to think about their legacy, Lidgett said. What did they want to be known for at the end of their time in Des Moines?

“It’s forced me to think about things that maybe I didn’t have to as a 28-year-old,” Lidgett said. “I want to be someone who can change and grow the arts and culture scene in Des Moines. That’s why it’s important for me to focus.”

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