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Community Outreach Program

Presented by:

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The award-winning Community Outreach Program presented by the MidAmerican Energy Foundation allows local nonprofit organizations to participate in the Des Moines Arts Festival free of charge to share their mission through free interactive arts activities. Visit these organizations during the Festival on 15th Street in the Creative Zone.

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8th & College Connections 

8th & College Connections provides English Language Learners with accessible and affordable education while connecting participants to community resources and networking opportunities to build meaningful relationships.

Activity: 8th & College Connections invites English Language Learners to visit their booth and paint their handprint and country of origin in their native language onto a large canvas. All guests are encouraged to check out their booth to see the many handprints. Following the Festival, the canvas will be displayed at their organization.

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Blank Park Zoo

Blank Park Zoos’ mission is to inspire an appreciation of the natural world through conservation, education, research, and recreation.

Activity: Join the Blank Park Zoo as they assemble seed balls.  Participants will shape the clay, add soil and seeds, then roll the clay into a ball.  They place the ball where they want the seeds to grow.


Creative Habitat

Creative Habitat provides the community with family-friendly coworking and community art programming. They aim to restore work/life balance and offer community support for entrepreneurs seeking business development and childrearing support as they are growing their businesses and families.  

Activity: Turn an old CD into a beautiful suncatcher! Guests will take one of Creative Habitat’s donated CD’s, which has been stripped from its original silver coating, and will decorate it with colorful markers.   

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Des Moines Choral Society

The Des Moines Choral Society is an auditioned volunteer group of singers brought together by a unified passion for excellence in choral music. The choir consists of approximately 70 gifted and accomplished adult singers from throughout central Iowa and has been recognized by the Iowa Arts Council for its exceptional concert performance. 

Activity: You know what your voice sounds like, but did you know you can see what it looks like? Using the Chrome Music Lab Spectrogram, you can sing, hum, or talk to see what your voice looks like. Seeing the different harmonics of your voice explains why you sound the way you sound! You can even compare your voice to the voices of famous singers.


Dorthy's House

Dorothy’s House is a safe place for the practice of life for those whose lives have been interrupted by human trafficking, exploitation and prostitution.

Activity: Come to Dorothy’s Houses tent to make an elf hat and enter to win tickets to this year's Holiday Hullabaloo!



Ellipsis is Iowa’s “no wrong door” care provider for kids and families. They’re an agency that welcomes and works with people however they come or are referred to them, reducing barriers to programming and services that keep families connected and thriving.

Activity: Make pause bracelets with Ellipsis! Children will create bracelets, using three green beads to represent an ellipsis, as a reminder to pause and center yourself. 

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Horizon Science Academy


Iowa Artists

The mission of Iowa Artists is to promote and educate artists throughout the state. From painting groups to art shows and workshops, there is an opportunity for you to expand and enhance your art. All artists 18 and over who are Iowa residents are invited to join and share in their experiences in the Iowa art world of 2- and 3-dimensional mediums. Each of us has a unique creative spirit, and by networking together, our work will continue to grow and flourish - as all things do in the Iowa heartland. 

Activity: Create a sketchbook by customizing a cover and binding its pages. Once it's personalized, complete with Iowa-related art prompts, keep the inspiration flowing at home, after enjoying the Des Moines Arts Festival. 


Iowa Bird Rehabilitation

Iowa Bird Rehabilitation’s purpose is to recover, rehabilitate and release wild birds in Iowa. A wildlife rehabilitation center located in Des Moines, where they provide care for songbirds, waterfowl, gamebirds, shorebirds, and small raptors. Currently, there is no other organization in central Iowa that provides the same unique benefits they offer to both the community and nature. IBR has taken in over 11,000 birds to date, with an average yearly increase of 25%, admitting almost 2000 birds in 2023 alone. Their mission is two-fold, first to address the immediate needs of sick, injured, or orphaned wild birds with the goal to return them to the wild and second, the long-term goal to help educate and bringing awareness about benefits and needs of wild birds in Iowa. 

Activity: WHOO is all in with Iowa Bird Rehabilitation? Come create your own paper tube owl and learn more about owls and other birds at the Iowa Bird Rehabilitation helps in Iowa. 

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Iowa Donor Net­work (IDN) is a non-prof­it organization that oper­ates as the primary contact for organ, tissue and eye dona­tion services for the state of Iowa. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have certified IDN to function as the single organ procurement agency in the state. IDN also serves as the tissue recovery agency for the state. 

Activity: The Iowa Donor Network invites guests of all ages to participate in a community project and share what is important to them on an interactive sticky note wall. Guests may also decorate a handheld fan to help them stay cool.   

Iowa Donor Network



IRIS volunteers read newspapers aloud over a statewide radio network for the blind. They also provide live and recorded Audio Description for theaters, exhibits and community events. IRIS delivers equal access to the arts, the printed word and the community!

Activity: Guests will create their name in Braille using tactile bumps and puffy paint as well as also experiencing simple tactile shapes. 

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Postpartum Support International - Iowa Chapter

Postpartum Support International's Iowa Chapter works with parents and healthcare providers to increase awareness, education, prevention, and treatment of perinatal mental health issues, the number one complication of pregnancy and childbirth. 

Activity: Come over to construct and decorate a homemade journal. Guests can take home their journal to write down their feelings, because mental health for all family members matters! 

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Prevent Child Abuse Iowa

Prevent Child Abuse Iowa is a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 1975. They build meaningful connections, share resources, and expand knowledge to create a stronger prevention network in Iowa. PCA Iowa is dedicated to strengthening the efforts of prevention professionals and fostering a resilient environment for children and families throughout Iowa. Their commitment extends beyond immediate intervention, emphasizing the importance of community engagement and collaboration to build a sustainable foundation for the well-being of Iowa’s children and families. Prevent Child Abuse Iowa believes all Iowans working together can ensure children are raised in safe, nurturing environments. Prevention Means Before. Child Abuse is Preventable.  

Activity: Stop by and create one of the characters from their book, What About You? Guests will transform coffee filters and pipe cleaners into beautiful butterflies or turn popsicles sticks and paper petals into a cheery flower! 

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Pulse 101.7FM

Pulse 101.7FM is a carefully curated selection of Positive Pop & Hip Hop with a message of hope that aims to uplift and inspire you, your family, and the community around you, no matter your background. Pulse strives to bring you meaningful experiences and opportunities for personal growth through fun music, engaging DJs and impactful events. They’re not just another radio station. Pulse is access to positive music relevant to today’s listener via radio in the Des Moines area and around the world via online streaming and the free app.

Activity: Use a stamp print to turn your thumbprint into art! Pulse 101.7FM will have examples of how to use markers to turn a thumbprint into a design like a flower, animal, or other work of art. Baby wipes will be provided to clean participants’ hands. 

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Raising Readers in the Heartland

Raising Readers in the Heartland’s mission is to inspire a life-long love of reading by providing new, high-quality books for ALL children from birth to age five who live in Polk County.  

Activity: Children can create a heart-shaped bookmark using recycled books and beads, and while supplies last, children will be able to select a free book.   


Science Center of Iowa

The Science Center of Iowa engages and inspires Iowans along their journey of lifelong science learning. Their goal is to be a quality community resource for informal science learning where children, families, school groups and individuals come to explore science and technology.  

Activity: There is art in science and science in art! Join the Science Center of Iowa for exploring the properties of light by making a solar print. You’ll also be able to observe the sun through a solar telescope! 

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Spina Bifida Association of Iowa

Building a better and brighter future for all those impacted by Spina Bifida. They provide financial assistance programs, connection programs, educational programs and more. They serve the entire state of Iowa and are excited to celebrate our 50th anniversary this fall.  

Activity: Guests visiting Spina Bifida can create a unique design on craft sticks that they will be assembled into a framed collage. Once completed, the collage will be donated to the new Spina Bifida Clinic opening at the University of Iowa Health Care. Guests may also color on a fun banner around the words "Fabulous Beyond 50." The banner will be displayed at their 50th anniversary Gala this November.

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St. Vincent de Paul of Des Moines

Since being established in Des Moines in 1924, the main focus of St. Vincent de Paul’s work is to assist those living in poverty in becoming self-sufficient by helping to remove roadblocks as they walk with them on their journey out of poverty. They operate three thrift stores, two pantries, an education center, and two community programs here in Des Moines. 

Activity: At St Vincent de Paul’s booth, kids can create a butterfly or a hot air balloon using simple materials like paper plates, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, glue and markers.  

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Urban Dreams

Urban Dreams advocates for all members of the community, breaking down barriers to success and collaborating with key stakeholders to overcome obstacles and uplift underserved and underrepresented people.

Activity: Help Urban Dreams help others by participating in their Sticky Note Mural Wall.  Guests will write ideas on sticky notes to assist Urban Dreams in expanding their footprint in the community. 

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YSS (Youth Opportunity Center)

IHYC works to eliminate homelessness among children, youth, and young families in Central Iowa. They believe that with the right support and assistance, homeless individuals and families can attain self-sufficiency and break the cycle of poverty. IHYC specifically serves transition-age youth, ages 18-24 who are at-risk of or currently experiencing homelessness. This includes individual youth, as well as young parents and their children.

Activity: Visit YSS to create your own individual piece of origami or add your personal touch on a community art piece that will be hung in their Youth Opportunity Center.  

2024 Community Outreach Program Information Guide

The Community Outreach Program presented by MidAmerican Energy Foundation offers twenty non-profit organizations the opportunity to participate on-site at the Des Moines Arts Festival to share their mission to thousands of guests, free-of-charge. MidAmerican Energy Foundation will also be providing $250.00 to each of the selected non-profit organizations for Festival art supplies and staffing. To participate, non-profit organizations provide an on-site interactive arts-related activity and manage their booth during the open hours of the Creative Zone. The non-profit organization is encouraged to display approved signage and distribute organization information within the area.  


2024 Timeline: 
April 2: Applications Open

April 17: COP 101 - register at the bottom of the page 
May 10: Applications Close 
May 17: Selected organizations notified 
May 31: Paperwork due from organizations

June 28-30: Des Moines Arts Festival 

The Festival Will Provide: 

  • One 10’ x 10’ tented space in the festival’s Creative Zone 

  • A banner displaying your non-profit organization’s name and logo 

  • Two 8’ skirted tables and two chairs 

  • Shared on-site storage unit (with padlock) 

  • $250.00 to be used for the purchase of Festival related art supplies or staffing 


Non-Profit Organizations Will Provide: 

  • An interactive arts-related activity (approved by Festival – we’re happy to brainstorm with you!) 

  • Staff/Volunteers to manage and run the booth for the duration of Creative Zone hours. 

  • Any costs above the $250.00 associated with the activity and staffing. We encourage you to utilize your volunteers and Board members to host your booth! 

Exhibiting Regulations: 

  • All interactive activities and performances must be pre-approved by the Festival. 

  • Non-profit organizations are encouraged to solicit memberships and hand out promotional literature and educational materials.   

  • Raffling or distributing merchandise requires written approval. Please include this information in your application (we’re open to ideas!). 

  • No merchandise, novelties, food, or drink sales are permitted. 

  • No tipping is permitted. 

  • Non-profit organizations are responsible for maintaining a clean and orderly tent during all Festival hours.  Any damage done to the tent, table, or chairs will be the responsibility of your non-profit organization. 

  • Organizations must leave their space the way they found it at the conclusion of the Festival. (Trash and recycling to be disposed in proper bins provided by DMAF in your area) 

  • Non-profit organizations are entered into a contract with the Festival and must provide a valid Certificate of Insurance listing Des Moines Arts Festival as additionally insured. 

  • Non-profit organizations and their employees/volunteers must abide by the general rules and policies of the Festival.  

  • Booths are required to be open and attended to at all times during the following hours, rain or shine. Failure to do so will result in denial of future participation.  

    • Friday, June 28 & Saturday, June 29: 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.​

    • Sunday, June 30: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Acceptance notifications will be sent out by or on Friday, May 17, 2024. A program representative will be in touch should we have questions about your activities. 


Participating organizations will be required to attend a conference call on Wednesday, June 19, 2024 to review load in, set up, engagement during the festival, and tear down. If you have questions, please reach out to:
Colby Schwantes

Program Intern

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