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A Seat At The Table

A Conversation About Cultural Equity In The Arts

In an intentional effort to elevate cultural equity, diversity, and inclusion in our arts and culture community, the Des Moines Arts Festival hosts a quarterly conversation on how you can find your “Seat at the Table." Each conversation will include a panel of community partners sharing how they've been working towards cultural equity and how we, as a community, can collaborate to elevate the arts.

A Seat at the Table is facilitated by Kate Hightshoe.

Recordings from previous sessions are available in the recordings section below.

Questions? Please reach out to Daphne at ddickens@desmoinesartsfestival.org

2022 Schedule and Registration

All sessions will be held over Zoom and are open to the public. Registration is required.

August 9, 2022
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Rehabilitation through Art
Learn how art plays an important role in rehabilitating incarcerated people and individuals with mental illness.
Panelists: Wendy Jason, The Justice Arts Coalition and more to be announced.


November 3, 2022
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
How the Arts Communicate the Native American Experience, Part 2
Creatives will share how music, dance, and regalia play a critical role in telling the Native American Story. To review Part 1, visit our recordings section below.


(click on the date to view)

May 3, 2022 conversation
Latino Heritage and the Influence on American Art and Culture
Prepare for Cinco de Mayo with an exploration of how naming and identity impact art and culture.
Panelists: Sesó Marentes (multi-disciplinary artist) and Michael Nuñez (musician)

February 3, 2022 conversation
BLM Today and Tomorrow: Pain and Healing through Art
A look back (and forward) on how the arts give way to communication and healing. The expression of remembrance through visual art, dance, music, and words. Panelists include Cadex Herrera, Emmett Phillips, and Jill Wells.

November 11, 2021 conversation
Kate Hightshoe and Kelly Montijo Fink led an open dialogue from the American Indian perspective about cultural equity regarding American Indian art, and the influence of American Indian culture on American art.

May 26, 2021 conversation
In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, our May conversation included topics of positive/negative stereotypes, the "model minority" and breaking the "bamboo ceiling." Panelists includes Clarence Padilla (educator and Des Moines Symphony Member), Christine Her (Executive Director of Art Force Iowa), and Pragnya Yogesh (owner of Indian Dance Academy and CultureAll ambassador)– facilitated by Kate Hightshoe.

February 11, 2021 conversation
Thanks to those who joined us on for a conversation in celebration of Black History Month: Transforming Barriers into Opportunities. Expert panel included local community creative and educator Emmett Phillips , artist H.C. Porter, and Des Moines Symphony member, Jason Wells. This conversation will be facilitated by Kate Hightshoe.

December 17, 2020 conversation
Expert panel included Executive Director of the Des Moines Art Festival, Stephen King, Executive Director of BRAVO Greater Des Moines, Sally Dix, and Des Moines Artist INC facilitator Beau Kenyon and Dr. A'ndrea Wilson; facilitated by Kate Hightshoe.

Meet the Facilitator

Kate Hightshoe has a proven track record in implementing cultural change management strategies at all organization levels – organizational compliance and enterprise risk management and mitigation - and community building, development, and engagement. Her areas of expertise include the strategic building of highly functioning teams and partnerships designed to support business objectives and sustainability - convening conversations and opportunities for innovation and creative business - and tying equity, inclusion, diversity and accessibility values and initiatives to corporate strategy that can further assist the organization in achieving key objectives. Kate has her BA in Oboe Performance and minor in Music Composition from the University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Interdisciplinary Masters: American Culture, American History, American Music. Kate is the immediate past Chair of the Inclusion Council for the Greater Des Moines Partnership, serves on The Des Moines Symphony EDI Committee, the Board of Directors for the Des Moines Art Center, and the Executive Board of Directors for BRAVO Des Moines.
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