Community Outreach Program presented by
MidAmerican Energy Company
The Des Moines Arts Festival and premier sponsor, MidAmerican Energy Company, team up to present the Community Outreach Program. This award-winning program offers nonprofit organizations the opportunity to participate on-site and share their mission and programming with thousands of guests free of charge. In exchange for the free booth space, each organization provides an interactive arts-related activity for guests. Learn more about the participating organizations below.
8th & College Connections' goals are to provide classes and support for immigrants to improve their English skills; a flourishing community garden for immigrants, refugees, and neighbors; and community workshops where people get to know their neighbors through connective experiences.
Activity: Children can select from eco-friendly paint colors and seed paper to create their own plantable masterpieces featuring pollinator flowers or herbs, while families capture memorable festival moments with our interactive selfie frame. With options like seed paper confetti and custom shapes, kids will discover how to nurture their artwork at home or contribute to the flourishing pollinator area in our community garden.
The Blank Park Zoo is Iowa's only AZA-accredited zoo. Home to over 2,000 animals, they strive to protect endangered animals at home and abroad and educate the community on the importance of wildlife preservation. Their mission is to inspire an appreciation of the natural world through conservation, education, research, and recreation.
Activity: The Blank Park Zoo will be creating seed balls as part of their Plant.Grow.Fly conservation initiative. These balls are made of organic clay and contain native Iowa prairie seeds that can be planted to create more habitat for Iowa pollinators.
The mission of Boys2Men Youth Programs is to help equip minority youth and families with the tools necessary to successfully complete elementary school, transition into middle school, and assist families in addressing delinquent behaviors that might lead the youth into the juvenile justice system.
Activity: Rock painting that inspires through positive messaging! Leave your creation in a park or on your dresser for daily motivation.
Building Brick Foundations works to design and implement LEGO activities for kids and adults. The goal is to inspire kids and adults through the use of LEGO, while providing education on building techniques and having lots of fun along the way.
Activity: Building Brick Foundations will work with youth to create a city skyline out of LEGOS ! Children will use LEGO bricks to build their own building, which will be added to the skyline once completed.
A safe place for the practice of life for those whose lives have been interrupted by human trafficking, exploitation and prostitution.
Activity: Join Dorothy's House to celebrate Christmas in June!
The DMGMC plans a three-concert subscription series along with many other performances each year. The DMGMC and its small ensemble group HarMENy highlight the gifts and skills of LGBTQ+ people to declare the dignity and worth of all persons while making music that matters.
Activity: The DMGMC needs your help creating a new virtual chorus piece! Stop by their booth and record a selfie video of you singing part of the song (don't worry they will teach it to you). After this event, all files will be compiled into a digitally released virtual chorus that you will be able to share with family and friends!
Ellipsis is central Iowa’s critical safety net for kids and families in need. By providing the care, encouragement and skills development needed for a lifetime of success, their breaking down barriers, rewriting stories and empowering families to thrive together. Their goal is to build a community where people no longer have to exist because everyone has access to the care they deserve.
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.
Since its inception in 1972, Gateway Dance Theatre (GDT) a non-profit organization has been moving to the rhythms of the world, fusing African-American, Caribbean and Pan-Asian movements and music into a culturally diverse experience. GDT has created a multi-faceted, multi-generational, global urban arts program. GDT’s classes in dance, music, drama targeted diverse neighborhoods and schools, and over the years, included other arts education, such as workshops/camps for all ages. It provides a cultural space for people of all ages from underrepresented and marginalized communities.
Activity: Get a quick mini dance lesson or create your own dancing puppet!
Since 2013, Girls Rock! Des Moines has been empowering cis-girls & women, non-binary, and trans youth & adults through self-expression, creative agency, and mentoring in music, arts-based education, collaboration, performance, and production.
Activity: Rock out with Girls Rock DSM in their “micro camp” experience:
Make your own instrument in our “Make & Shake” activity refashioning recyclable materials into fun, playable noise makers. Then compose your own “mad lib” style song lyrics and hop into their booth to jam with fellow rockers to debut your new hit single!
Hoyt Sherman Place creates outstanding experiences for the cultural, historic and educational benefit of Iowa’s residents and communities. Hoyt Sherman Place will be a premier historic cultural center in Iowa, working with national and local partners to present outstanding performances, celebrate Iowa’s history and grow arts and culture in the region.
Activity: Anime creations. Add your favorites accessories to a anime figure!
Victorian Bookmark. Use Victorian images (advertisements, letters, flowers, etc.) to create a vintage bookmark.
Founded in 1989 as a statewide 501(c)(3), the Iowa Architectural Foundation exists to promote appreciation of architecture and design in everyone.
Activity: Immerse yourself in the architecture of Iowa’s capital city! Booth visitors of all ages are invited to collaborate on a colorful rendering of the Iowa State Capitol. Participants will get creative and see the city of Des Moines from a new perspective as they color in their piece of a mosaic mural.
Iowa Bird Rehabilitation (IBR) is a central Iowa wildlife rehabilitation center that provides 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. They serve the Des Moines Metro area and beyond, providing wild bird education and rescue assistance to residents across the state. Since its founding in 2012, IBR has taken in over 9,000 birds, admitting over 1,800 birds in 2022 alone.
Activity: Guests will fold origami birds using various colored and patterned paper. The birds will be hung from a canopy of tree branches to create a unique room full of birds.
Iowa Dance Theatre is a non-profit organization formed in 1983. They are a unique blend of dancers, teachers, choreographers and art enthusiasts who combine talents to produce high-quality, artistic dance productions. Their mission is to raise awareness, develop appreciation, increase opportunities and support dance as a performing art within the community.
Activity: Get groovy with the Iowa Dance Theatre! Children will move through a fabric design structure and become warriors for the Earth.
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: Guests of all ages will participate in a “What is your WHY” interactive sticky note art wall. Children will also be able to make a memory box from a small cardboard box, to save notes or small items.
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: Tissue paper and children's books are recycled to create beautiful blossoms that will take your breath away! Pipe cleaner crafts will also be available for the little crafter in all of us.
At the Science Center of Iowa, the goal is to be a quality community resource for informal science learning where children, families, school groups and individuals of all ages come to explore science and technology.
Activity: Join the Science Center of Iowa to explore the properties of shapes. Investigate angles, sides and dimensions to understand how a triangle compares to a pyramid. Use various materials to create shapes and then dip them into bubble solution to see if you can make a square bubble.
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. Attendees will write ideas on sticky notes to assist Urban Dreams in expanding their footprint in the community.
Founded in 2001, Wildwood Hills Ranch exists to break cycles, build leaders and transform communities. They are a research-based, outcomes-oriented leadership development organization that serves vulnerable youth and veterans. All programs are offered at no cost to the individual or their family members. They provide services through a 100% donation-funded system and serve over 1,000 vulnerable youth and veterans, each year. They also provided 9,500 meals to children that would have gone without food. Their kids need help escaping the cycles of poverty, abuse, and neglect that they face.
Activity: Color, paint, and embellish a wooden horseshoe, horse, star, and more!
The Des Moines Choral Society seeks to enrich Iowa’s cultural landscape by offering inspiring choral music programs to the public. Their hallmarks will be vocal excellence, diverse and innovative programs that explore both musical and cultural themes, and engaging collaborations with arts and community organizations. The Des Moines Choral Society aspires to be recognized as one of Iowa’s artistic treasures.
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!
Project IOWA is a workforce development organization. Their mission is to facilitate individual transformation that connects people to their purpose and provides career guidance to obtain meaningful and stable employment.
Activity: Children will be creating vision boards using magazines and assorted die cuts. Younger ages will be given a worksheet with the prompt "I want to be ___ when I grow up" to help them get started.