Interactive Arts

Interactive arts activities are one of the four main pillars of the arts featured each year at the Des Moines Arts Festival®. Throughout the Festival, guests of all ages have the opportunity to get creative and hands-on with art, music, dance and more! These activities can be found throughout the Festival at sponsor booths, the Creative Kid’s Zone and even electronically though texts.

Paint the Skywalk Mural Project

Paint the Skywalk combines the innovation of Emerging Iowa Artists with the efforts of the Principal Financial Group to beautify the downtown skywalk system. The Principal Financial Group is a co-sponsor of the Des Moines Arts Festival and presenter of the Emerging Iowa Artists Program.

Guests at the 2013 Des Moines Arts Festival® were invited to help create a GIANT mural inspired by the work of Abigail Cooper, one of the 2013 Emerging Iowa Artists. The original image, seen to the right, measures 2'x8.5'. 

When finished the mural has 980 6"x6" panels and measure 7'x35' and is now permantly installed in the Skywalk.

If you would like to help create the new mural, visit The Principal Financial Group booth on Locust between 12th and 13th street.



Chobani, America's #1 selling yogurt brand, is proud to stop by the Des Moines Art Festival this summer. Stop by to enjoy a deliciously creamy cup of authentic strained Greek yogurt in your favorite flavor!" (or …to enjoy Chobani's newest products: Chobani Bite and Chobani Flip.") 

2013 Community Outreach Activities 

Balloons   Stop by the WHO-HD Des Moines booth on the Meredith Corporation Lawn to meet on-air personalities and get a balloon.

Spin Art   Children will have a great time at the Prairie Meadows booth spinning their own art creation.

Reusable Bags   Join Hy-Vee associates to design and decorate your own reusable bag. 

Paper Bag Puppets   Create paper bag puppets that reflect intergenerational relationships at play.

Canvas Painting    Show off your inner Picasso and create a masterpiece on canvas using many different drawing tools and art techniques. 

Paper Cup Pets & “Pin the ID”   Play “Pin the ID” on the cat or dog, and learn about why pets should have a collar and ID tags. Guests can also create pets using paper cup.

Customizable Wearable Art   Join Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa to decorate a t-shirt and headband.

African Rain Stick   Celebrate the newest expansion to the Blank Park Zoo, the Jaama Kwa 'Connection to Africa exhibits, by making an African rain stick!

Help Decorate a Kid-Sized Cardboard House   Central Iowa Shelter & Services will help you decorate a kid-sized cardboard house while learning about homelessness in Iowa and across the country.

“Magic” Masks   Make a “magic” mask by scraping and revealing colors that lie underneath your mask.

Concert Wristband   Stop by the Des Moines Music Coalition's booth to make and decorate your own 80/35 wristband!

Marble Painting   Join GiGi's Playhouse Des Moines for fun with magic marble painting.

Memory Books   Create your own memory book with HCI Care Services and decorate it with favorite memories. Then, take your memory book home with you to continue to add to with more and more memories!

Gyotaku   Iowa Environmental Council invites you to participate in the ancient Japanese art of Gyotaku-style fish printing, of a native Iowa fish.

Bead Jewelry   ‘Bead a Bracelet’ to help end youth homelessness in Iowa.  Show your support of Iowa Homeless Youth Centers and learn how you can help make a difference in a life of a youth. 

Lexigram Bookmark   Create Lexigram book markers with Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary. Lexigrams are the symbols that the apes use to communicate to humans on their keyboards.

Farm Animal Art   Color a picture of a farm animal and have it made into a button to wear with Living History Farms.

Blow-Ink   Guests will receive a straw and a paper plate which will have 2 drops of food coloring on it.  They will blow air through the straw and watch the food coloring magically create unique forms of art.

Get Your Dance On!   Festival–goers of all ages will have the opportunity to watch and learn Latin dances that include: Salsa, merengue, cha cha, bachata, and more with Salsa Des Moines.

Coffee Filter Butterfly   Create a beautiful monarch butterfly out of coffee filters.

Toy Decorating   Woodturners will use a lathe--machine used to work and shape wood--to demonstrate the turning of spinning tops and other assorted, small wooden objects from recycled wood products. 

Shaving Cream Art   Guests will enjoy engaging in musical activities with shakers, guitars and harps with professional VSA Iowa teaching artists. Shaving cream art will also be available! Guests will use food coloring to create a beautiful tie-dye effect on cardstock.

Mosaic   Create a colorful mosaic using tissue paper and light glue.

Create Your Own Sunshine!   Decorate a sun using paper plates, beads and pipe cleaners to take home and hang in your window as a reminder of the fun you had at the Des Moines Arts Festival.

Celery & Lettuce Stamps   Explore original artwork from the beautiful World Food Prize Hall of Laureates. Children can use fruits and vegetables to create stamp designs with paint, and can color and decorate black and white versions of agricultural artwork. 


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