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The Des Moines Arts Festival and Prairie Meadows team up to present the Community Outreach Program presented by Prairie Meadows. This award-winning program offers non-profit organizations the opportunity to participate onsite and share their mission and programming to thousands of guests free-of-charge. In exchange for the free booth space, each organization provides an interactive arts-related activity for guests in the Creative Zone during the festival on Grand Avenue between 15th & 16th Street.

2021 Community Outreach Program Participants

AHeinz57 Pet Rescue & Transport

AHeinz57 Pet Rescue & Transport, Inc. is a 501(c)3, non-profit, foster-based animal rescue organization, headquartered in De Soto, IA. They are a unique rescue organization in that they exist mainly to bridge the gap between traditional animal shelters and no-kill rescues in 2 different ways: 1) By providing free transportation for dogs from traditional shelters to no-kill rescues all over the Midwest and Canada. They also provide overnight rest stops for furry travelers and temporary housing for those whose time has run out at the shelters, but have to wait for a foster spot to open up in one of the rescues; 2) By pulling dogs out of traditional shelters that are on death row and placing them in foster homes and forever homes through their organization.

Activity: Make a fleece pet toy for your furry friend or one of ours.

B.WELL Foundation

B.Well Foundation is dedicated to supporting students in the Des Moines community. The Foundation supports initiatives that focus on education, mentorship, and families and schools in need of resources. It’s their desire to be positive role models, teach respect and build character.

Activity: Who’s an influential person of color in your life? Share it with the world! Draw this person and have it on display for the entire festival.

Blank Park Zoo

Blank Park Zoo has been an integral part of the central Iowa community since 1966, providing hands on conservation learning as well as creating a connection to nature that is unique and lifelong. Currently, 200 different species call Blank Park Zoo home, and they continue to participate in Species Survival Plans to help curb the population decline of many endangered species.

Activity: 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.

Boys2Men Afterschool Programs

Boys2Men Youth Programs helps equip 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. Their programming also provides opportunities for high school students to volunteer to work with younger youth while avoiding delinquent activities that could be detrimental to their future. Additionally, their programming meets the needs of mainstream students who are enrolled in regular education programs as well as alternative school programs, and provides age and developmentally appropriate opportunities for youth and families to build community while learning basic life skills that are conducive to productive members of their communities.

Activity: Be artistic and paint an uplifting message on a rock with Boy 2 Men Youth Programs.

Community Support Advocates

Community Support Advocates partners with individuals and families who are impacted by mental illness or disability to build growth and resiliency. They support Central Iowans with disabilities by connecting them with services that support day to day living, community integration, and creative expression.

Activity: Turn the everyday into a fashion statement! The young and young at heart can create a jewelry masterpiece from everyday items like washers, tape, clips, ribbon, and buttons. Make it with CSA and wear it home or they will have a take and make option available.

Decoding Dyslexia Iowa

Decoding Dyslexia Iowa is a non-profit organization working to improve the lives of Iowa children with dyslexia. Their mission is to raise dyslexia awareness, empower families to support their children, and influence policymakers and educators on best practices to identify, remediate and support Iowa students with dyslexia. They provide information and resources to Iowans and hold a variety of dyslexia awareness events, including dyslexia simulations, parent trainings, and professional development for educators.

Activity: At Decoding Dyslexia Iowa's booth, using their individualized crayon set, kids will have the opportunity to design a t-shirt that focuses on raising awareness of dyslexia. A winning design will be chosen for recognition and featured in the organization’s online store.

Des Moines European Heritage Association

DMEHA connects Iowans with European traditions, language education and cultural experiences; and supports cultural heritage organizations with resources and tools to maintain and grow their memberships. Their signature event is Christkindlmarket Des Moines, a German-inspired Christmas market whose goal is to educate and entertain the community by exposing them to European-style foods, products and activities.

Activity: DMEHA will have a variety of European cultural crafts from Croatia, England, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, and more. They will also have a photo opportunity!


EveryStep is a non-profit health care and human services organization which annually serves more than 67,000 Iowans. During life’s most challenging moments, EveryStep’s family of community-based health care and support services offer compassion and guidance.

Activity: Create a thank you card to give to someone who has made an impact on you using markers, crayons and stamps.

Gateway Dance Theatre

Gateway Dance Theatre is in its 50th year and is the only performing arts organization in the area with a complete multicultural and multigenerational focus. GDT provides exciting programs for all ages, bridges cultures, and provides an opportunity to explore the world through myriad art forms such as dance, music, visual art, drama, poetry, mind and body, and more, to discover the arts from multiple perspectives and cultures to create a comprehensive learning experience.

Activity: Percussion makers from recycled materials. Learn to craft a musical percussion instrument. Hand dance gestures (mudras) from India, tap dance moves.

Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa

Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. At Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa, it is their mission to show girls that they have the power to have a positive effect on not just their community, but the world. With the support and essential leadership skills that Girl Scouting provides, girls are empowered to truly aim for the stars. Whether it means pursuing her dream of being the first female President, or starting her own animal shelter, if she dreams it, she can do it. And together, we can help her get there.

Activity: Tell us how you make the world a better place! Each participant will decorate a sticker to show how they “Make the World a Better Place”. Once the sticker is complete, they’ll add it to our large canvas to represent how together, we all make the world a better place!

Goodwill of Central Iowa

Goodwill of Central Iowa is a non-profit organization that uses a donated goods retail infrastructure to support programs improving the quality of life for anyone facing a barrier to employment across its 22-county region. The organization is dedicated to changing the lives of Central Iowans with barriers to employment by helping them earn and keep jobs through workforce training in our businesses and your communities.

Activity: Goodwill of Central Iowa's activity will include upcycling donated t-shirts by turning them into braided bracelets and keychains using "strings" of fabric! The fabric will be pre-cut and ready to be braided.

Hip-Hope, Inc.

Hip-Hope, Inc. is focused on underprivileged/over-challenged youth. Their mission is to utilize arts and culture to promote hope where symptoms of hopelessness are prevalent. Their vision is confident and competent youth contributing to the success of Iowa's culture. Their purpose is to equip and empower youth with tools to overpower hopelessness.

Activity: Cloth mask decoration and participation in VISION OF HOPE MURAL that will be displayed at Hip-Hope, Inc. headquarters throughout the next year. Additionally, they will be distributing Ethnic Activity Books focusing on the Floss'n Matters campaign- created FOR kids BY kids.

Iowa Dance Theatre

Iowa Dance Theatre is dedicated to offering dance opportunities with performances in a company like atmosphere. Dancers, choreographers, and designers work together to create original work for the dancers to bring to life on stage.

Activity: Participants will be offered fabric to create a costume to take or a prop to use in their work as a mover for cultivating compassion.

Iowa Environmental Council

The Iowa Environmental Council is the largest and most comprehensive environmental coalition in Iowa. Mission: A safe, healthy environment and sustainable future for Iowa. Through education, advocacy, and coalition-building, the Iowa Environmental Council raises awareness, generates action, and creates large-scale change that makes Iowa a better place to live, work, explore and enjoy. Learn more and join in their work at www.iaenvironment.org.

Activity: Visit IEC's booth to celebrate Iowa's beautiful environment by creating your own earth-friendly confetti, make unique artwork using natural materials, or add your personal touch to a community mural.

Iowa SIDS Foundation

The Iowa SIDS Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by parents to provide emotional support to SIDS and SUID families, to educate Iowa families, healthcare professionals and child care providers on SIDS and safe sleep practices, and to support medical research into unexpected sleep related infant deaths.

Activity: Create a "hug" to mail to a friend or family member! After tracing and cutting out your handprints, attach them using a streamer cut to the size of your "hug." When your friend or family member receives it in the mail, they will be able to wrap it around themselves and get a hug from you, even from afar!

Iowa Stage Theatre Company

Iowa Stage Theatre Company (ISTC) is a new company with a storied history. Formed in 2017 from the merger of Repertory Theatre of Iowa and StageWest Theatre Co., ISTC launched a heralded inaugural season in 2017-2018, and continues to delight audiences with both exciting new work and the greatest stories told onstage. Through live performance, classes and readings, ISTC transforms Iowa, its citizens, and arts community by producing truthful, relevant, and intimate theatre that inspires, enlightens, and entertains.

Activity: Every Shakespeare play has a case of mistaken identity! Create a mask, and become someone else - an evil witch, a beautiful princess, a fire-breathing dragon! Join the Iowa Stage Theatre booth for mask making and a chance to win season tickets.


Joppa helps those experiencing homelessness survive, find housing and rebuild their lives. Each week, trained volunteers visit about 230 families and individuals living under bridges, in tents and in vehicles to provide critical supplies and build relationships. As part of its mission to end homelessness, Joppa is also developing fundamental housing solutions, such as a transitional village of Loft Cottages. To date, Joppa has helped over 460 people off the streets; more than 80% remain in housing today.

Activity: Make your own paper house! This simple, personalized activity involves folding, gluing and decorating a house. Children can take their paper house with them—or donate it as a gift to our homeless friends at Joppa.

Latinas Latinos Al Exito Inc (Al Exito)

Al Éxito is the only statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the educational achievement and transformative leadership capacity of Latinx youth and their families, to succeed in life and participate fully in Iowa. Al Éxito inspires, prepares, supports, and positions Latinx leaders, middle school through college, for postsecondary attainment, career readiness, and civic engagement. Al Éxito integrates culturally specific strategies to ensure Latinx youth have access to resources and opportunities. Al Éxito fosters Latinos’ collective influence to build a better future for our communities and state.

Activity: Join Al Éxito and youth leaders from |drēm|sēd| in creating a traditional Dia de Los Muertos altar honoring the lives of our community loved ones who have passed during the pandemic. You are welcome to create a candle, flower, or calavera on site and add it to the community healing altar or take home a packet to create your own memorial. Stop by and learn about this indigenous tradition from Mexico.

Oakridge Neighborhood Services

For 50 years, Oakridge Neighborhood has created opportunities for thousands of children, adults and families to succeed and become financially independent. It provides a safe neighborhood of supportive housing plus essential programs and services. It is one of the most culturally diverse neighborhoods in Des Moines, with over 66 percent immigrants and refugees from over 23 countries that speak over 29 languages. Of the nearly 1,100 residents who reside on the Oakridge campus, 53 percent are children under the age of 18. Ninety-nine percent of Oakridge Neighborhood residents are low-income. For more information, visit https://oakridgeneighborhood.org/

Activity: Oakridge Neighborhood will host a personalized Mantra Button making station inspired by the motivational “Success Is My Protest” music video produced by participants in their youth program in 2020. Participants can author their own mantra or select a mantra from preprinted templates. The station will include supplies to decorate the buttons, including markers, glitter pens, stickers and paper. Participants’ creative works will be pressed into a Mantra Button they can take home and continue to find inspiration from.

Pulse 101.7FM

Pulse 101.7FM brings you all-positive pop and hip-hop. Music that moves you, and DJs who keep things fun, clean and positive. Pulse exists to build your faith and offer you hope. Listen for 30 days and see how it makes you feel!

Activity: Finger Paint Art! Create animals and designs with your finger prints!

The Supply Hive

The Supply Hive's mission is to provide a space of nourishment through extraordinary times. They promote physical, mental, and spiritual health, while emphasizing sustainability in caring for the earth, ourselves, and within the movement for social justice.

Activity: Come paint pots with The Supply Hive! They will be providing a free pot and paint markers to let your creativity soar. Once you're finished, they'll send you home with soil and seeds so you can start your plant at home.

The award-winning Community Outreach Program is made possible because of the generous support from
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