June 28 - 30, 2019 Western Gateway Park Friday & Saturday 11AM - 10PM
Sunday 11AM - 5PM

Community Outreach Program

Best Community Outreach Program




The Des Moines Arts Festival and premier sponsor Prairie Meadows team up to present the Prairie Meadows Community Outreach Program. This award-winning program offers nonprofit 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.

Please note the deadline to apply was April 20, 2018. Applications are closed for 2018.

Participating Organizations & the Interactive Activites

Animal Lifeline
Animal Lifeline of Iowa is Central Iowa’s only special needs focused, no-kill animal shelter, celebrating over 30 years of serving the Des Moines area and all of Iowa.
Activity: Come and create dog and cat toys for your favorite pup and kitty or for ours to play with!
Animal Rescue League of Iowa
The Animal Rescue League (ARL) works towards the promotion of animal welfare, strengthening the human-animal bond, and preventing the overpopulation of pets.
Activity: Make a fleece cat toy for your favorite furry friend and make one for the cats at the shelter!
Bergman Academy
Bergman Academy is a secular private school located in the heart of Greenwood Park.
Activity: Make a beautiful leaf out of different colors of tissue paper and coffee filters!
Blank Park Zoo
Blank Park Zoo’s mission is to inspire an appreciation of the natural world through conservation, education, research, and recreation. As Iowa’s only zoo, it provides a unique experience unlike that of any other cultural institution in the state.
Activity: Come make a seed ball! Ingredients include clay, native Iowa prairie seeds, organic soil, and tissue paper!
Class Act Productions Inc (CAP Theatre)
Class Act Productions (CAP Theatre) is a children's community theatre that has performed over 40 musicals in the past 12 years in Altoona.
Activity: Take photos and videos of you and your friends reciting plays and musicals in a photo/video booth with costumes, props, and various backdrops!
Community Support Advocates
Community Support Advocates is a local nonprofit that partners for growth and resiliency by supporting individuals and families impacted by disabilities.
Activity: Design something special using markers, paints, and everyday household items to create a unique piece of art, then turn it into a bookmark!
Des Moines Area Religious Council
The Des Moines Area Religious Council is an interfaith organization with a core membership of over 125 congregations from multiple faith traditions, providing a common means of responding to basic human needs and a context for interfaith dialogue.
Activity: Design your own food mobile and include all your favorite foods!
Des Moines Downtown Chamber
The Downtown Chamber of Commerce is a community of businesses and non-profits focused on Downtown vitality. Their mission is to be providers of knowledge sharing, foster an environment of civility, and educate on economic issues.
Activity: Cut a ribbon to celebrate the opening of your new business! You can also create a picture frame out of popsicle sticks and other materials to put your picture in!
Des Moines European Heritage Association
The Des Moines European Heritage Association connects Iowans with European traditions, language education, and cultural experiences. They also provide resources and tools to other cultural heritage organizations.
Activity: Decorate a Lebkuchen Herzen to wear around the festival!
Des Moines Public Library
Founded in 1866, the Des Moines Public Library is the public library system for the City of Des Moines. With six branches and a collection of more than 550,000 items, the Des Moines Public Library is the largest public library system in the state of Iowa.
Activity: Make your very own button to wear throughout the festival!
Des Moines Skatepark
The Des Moines Regional Skatepark committee's primary goal is to construct a world-class skatepark in downtown Des Moines.
Activity: Come and draw your own piece of artwork on our benches for our new skatepark!
Des Moines Social Club
The Des Moines Social Club is an innovative arts and entertainment venue and home for local artists that offers unique programming spanning all arts disciplines and brings people of every age and background together under one roof — all for the purpose of using the arts as a catalyst to create unprecedented community engagement.
Activity: Create multi-media buttons and magnets out of recycled materials such as comic books, old Des Moines Social Club posters, fabrics straps and more!
Diocese of Des Moines Catholic Schools
From Blue Ribbon Schools to 100% graduation rate, Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Des Moines have been helping students achieve academic success for more than 150 years.
Activity: Generate your own Styrofoam square impressions with whatever image you choose! You can also get your picture taken with the “Let your Spirit Soar” banner!
Everly Ball Community Mental Health Services
Eyerly Ball Community Mental Health Services is long-standing, nonprofit community mental health center providing services in Central Iowa counties.
Activity: Come, create and take home different kinds of slime!
Friends of Des Moines Parks
The Friends of Des Moines Parks is a nonprofit organization with a mission to preserve, protect, improve, and promote the use of Des Moines’ parks, greenways, and recreational programs for the benefit of all neighborhoods, residents, and visitors.
Activity: Decorate a walking stick, build your own a birdhouse, or make a monarch bomb with Friends of Des Moines Parks!
Friends of Iowa CASA & ICFCRB
The Court Appointed Special Advocate program recruits, trains, and supports community volunteers to serve as an effective voice in court for abused and neglected children, while helping ensure they live in a safe and permanent home.
Activity: Build your own 3-D house and decorate them with markers, glue, cutouts, and various other materials!
Greater Des Moines Sister Commission
The Greater Des Moines Sister City Commission exists primarily to foster meaningful relationships with our sister cities in Stavropol, Russia; Kofu, Japan; Shizhijjian, China; St. Etienne, France; and Catanzaro, Italy.
Activity: Fold a paper fortune cookie and decorate it with markers, crayons, pens, and more!
HCI Care Services and VNS of Iowa
HCI Hospice Care Services and Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa is a nonprofit, independent healthcare organization that brings comfort and supportive care to individuals and their families.
Activity: Paint your own rock of KINDNESS. Decorate your rock with paint pens and sharpies to show your idea of KINDNESS!
Iowa International Center
As a leader in international understanding and civic diplomacy, it is the mission of the Iowa International Center to enrich lives and build pathways to prosperity.
Activity: Draw a self-portrait of yourself using watercolors, markers, crayons, colored pencils, and more!
Iowa Youth Chorus
The Iowa Youth Chorus is a locally based internationally acclaimed nonprofit organization that has been making beautiful music for 37 years.
Activity: Make your own instrument with the Iowa Youth Chorus. Instruments include an egg shaker, tambourines, harmonicas, and tom-tom drums. You can also take part in solfege tutorials!
Opportunity on Deck
Opportunity on Deck strives to serve Central Iowa communities by providing free-of-charge athletic and arts opportunities for children.
Activity: Come learn a simple, easy, and fun dance while broadcasting yourself on our screen with different props and clothing!
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
The Des Moines Affiliate of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is dedicated to leading the local fight to end pancreatic cancer.
Activity: Create your own bracelets and necklaces out of upcycled t-shirts. You can also make a tote bag and headbands out of these t-shirts as well!
Positive Impact Media- Pulse 101.7 FM
Pulse 101.7 FM has been serving Central Iowa for 24 years, connecting listeners with all-positive lyrics and messages through the popular music styles you already love.
Activity: Form different designs with just your thumb and paint during Positive Impact Media’s thumb painting activity!
Salsa Des Moines
Salsa Des Moines (SDM) is an organization that offers the most comprehensive instructional program in Latin dance in the state of Iowa.
Activity: Put your moves to the test with Salsa of Des Moines as they teach the art of Latin dancing!
Society of St Vincent de Paul
St. Vincent de Paul’s mission is to help those in need become self-sufficient through education, community connectedness, and unconditional support.
Activity: Decorate a paper fish with glitter, crayons, markers, or tinsel and attach it to a “fish line” to make a kite or a makeshift fish line!
Stephens Auditorium
Stephens Auditorium's mission is to engage adults and students in experiences with the performing arts through the presentation of performances by world-class artists.
Activity: Experience what it’s like to be in a Broadway show with visual reality technology, learn several magic tricks, and make an edible balloon to take home!
Walnut Creek Church
Walnut Creek Church is a vibrant multi-site Christian community in the Greater Des Moines area that is passionate about Jesus.
Activity: Select a famous painting and stand in front of a green-screen to become a part of the masterpiece! You can print out the picture and take it with you. Share it on social media with the hashtag #mymasterpiece!

The award-winning Community Outreach Program is proudly supported by