Community Outreach Program

Des Moines Arts Festival® Community Outreach Program is presented by Prairie
Meadows and is a Winner of the Gold Pinnacle Award for Best Community Outreach
Program from the International Festivals & Events Association.


The mission of the Des Moines Arts Festival® is to add vibrancy to Central Iowa by creating opportunities for people of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds to celebrate the arts. By continuing to expand the children’s programming, and encouraging all on-site participants to offer even more creative and interactive arts activities, the Festival fulfills this mission.

The Prairie Meadows Community Outreach Program offers non-profit organizations the opportunity to participate on-site at the Festival and to share their mission to thousands of guests free of charge. In exchange for their free promotional space, each organization either offers an interactive arts activity for guests or provides volunteers for the Festival. Up to 22 organizations are featured in the Program.

Applications to be a part of the 2014 Prairie Meadows Community Outreach Program are now available!

Click here for 2014 Rules and Regulations

Click here for 2014 Application

All applications must be completed and returned no later than end of day on Friday, April 18th. Questions? Contact Maggie.

These amazing non-profit organizations participated in the 2013 Prairie Meadows Community Outreach Program. Be sure to click on their names to learn more about each organization and their contributions to our community!

AARP Iowa     Des Moines, IA
AARP is dedicated to enhancing quality of life for all as we age.  We lead positive social change and deliver value to members through advocacy, service, and information.

Arts Activity: Create paper bag puppets that reflect intergenerational relationships at play (pets, children, parents, grandparents, etc.)

Animal Lifeline of Iowa     Carlisle, IA
Animal Lifeline of Iowa, Inc. is a special needs, no-kill animal shelter that accepts un-owned dogs and cats who are handicapped, injured, have a serious medical condition, pregnant or nursing, and orphans that need to be bottle fed.
Arts Activity: Show off your inner Picasso and create a masterpiece on canvas using many different drawing tools and art techniques. 

Animal Rescue League of Iowa, Inc.     Des Moines, IA
Our mission is to promote animal welfare, the human animal bond, and prevent the overpopulation of pets.
Arts Activity: We will have a poster to play “Pin the ID” on the cat or dog, and use this to start a discussion on why pets should have a collar and ID tags. We will also be using paper cups to make pets.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Iowa     Clive, IA
The Big Brothers Big Sisters Mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.
Arts Activity: Decorate wearable art (t-shirts, headbands, etc.).

Blank Park Zoo     Des Moines. IA
The mission of the Blank Park Zoo is to inspire an appreciation of the natural world through conservation, education and recreation.

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

Central Iowa Shelter & Services     Des Moines, IA

The mission of Central Iowa Shelter & Services is to provide free shelter and meals to homeless adults regardless of physical or emotional conditions, and to facilitate their move toward self-sufficiency.
Arts Activity: Help decorate a kid-sized cardboard house while learning about homelessness in Iowa and across the country.

Conmigo Early Education Center     Des Moines, IA
We are a premier Latino learning academy specializing in bi-lingual, culturally affirming educational programming and experiences for children and their families. We position children to thrive in school, community and life.

Arts Activity:
Make a "magic" mask by scraping and revealing colors that lie underneath.

GiGi’s Playhouse Des Moines     Urbandale, IA
Gigi's Playhouse's mission is to increase positive awareness of Down syndrome through national campaigns, educational programs, and by empowering individuals with Down syndrome, their families and the community.

Arts Activity:
Join us at the GiGi's Playhouse Des Moines tent for fun with magic marble painting and Down syndrome awareness.

Greater Des Moines Music Coalition     Des Moines, IA
The mission of the DMMC is to aggressively advocate, sponsor and develop an independent and progressive live music economy in Central Iowa for the purposes of urban revitalization, regional economic development, and securing the future of our region by attracting and retaining young adults to this region.

Arts Activity:
Make Your Own 80/35 Wristband! If you've ever been to our summer music festival, 80/35, then you're familiar with the wristbands that allow you to get into the concert grounds. If you've ever wished those were a bit more fashionable, then be sure to stop by the Des Moines Music Coalition's booth to make and decorate your own wristband!

HCI Care Services & Visiting Nurses Services of Iowa     West Des Moines, IA
Our mission is promoting dignity, independence and quality of life for all through education, compassion and effective community-based care.

Arts Activity:
Complete and decorate pre-assembled foam memory books. 

Iowa Environmental Council     Des Moines, IA
The mission of the Iowa Environmental Council is to create a safe, healthy environment and sustainable future for Iowa.

Arts Activity:
The Iowa Environmental Council will be making Japanese-style fish prints of Iowa native fish and talking with kids and families about how we can all help to improve water quality in Iowa’s lakes and rivers.

Iowa Homeless Youth Centers     Des Moines, IA
Iowa Homeless Youth Centers works to eliminate homelessness among children, youth and young families in Polk County.  We believe with support and assistance, homeless individuals and youth can live independently and attain self-sufficiency.

Arts Activity:
‘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. 

Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary     Des Moines, IA
The Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary is dedicated to the expansion of human/ape communication through nonverbal behavior, language, music and art.  We seek to blend the sciences with the arts and the humanities into a new paradigm as we strive to answer fundamental questions about the structure of mind, emergence of intelligence, moral action, language, aggression and free-will.  Our studies of our closet living relatives, bonobos and chimpanzees, always occur in a non-invasive and collaborative manner, in accordance with our belief that we are a true sanctuary of renewal for the hearts and minds of all primates.

Arts Activity:
We will be creating Lexigram book markers. Lexigrams are the symbols that the apes use to communicate to humans on their keyboards.

Living History Farms      Urbandale, IA
Living History Farms is an interactive outdoor history museum which educates, entertains and connects people of all ages to Midwestern rural life experiences.

Arts Activity:
Color a picture of a farm animal and have it made into a button to wear.

Mentor Iowa     Des Moines, IA
The mission of Mentor Iowa is to provide trained volunteer mentors to abused, neglected and delinquent children who are under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court.  We will do this by working in partnership with the children, their families and the community.

Arts Activity:
Participants 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. 

Salsa Des Moines     Des Moines, IA
We provide high quality dance education experiences for all ages and levels in order to expand the dancer community through technique and knowledge. We coordinate with local organizations, institutions, and venues to provide social dancing opportunities for the community and the students.
Arts Activity:
Take mini classes of salsa, bachata, merengue, and cha cha to learn about the different styles of Latin dance.

Science Center of Iowa     Des Moines, IA
The Science Center of Iowa engages and inspires Iowans along their journey of lifelong science learning. Our goal is to be a quality community resource for informal science learning where children, families, school groups and individuals come to explore science and technology.

Arts Activity:
Come design a monarch butterfly with the Science Center of Iowa, and learn about its epic annual journey – the longest-known insect migration on Earth.

Tree Des Moines, Inc.     Des Moines, IA
To protect, restore, and sustain an urban tree canopy in the Des Moines metropolitan area.  In partnership with individuals, private foundations and government entities, Tree Des Moines will strive to make the metro area environment more viable and livable for its citizens.

Arts Activity:
Woodturners will use a lathe--machine used to spin wood for shaping with hand tools--to demonstrate the turning of spinning tops and other assorted, small wooden objects from recycled wood.  Woodcarver demonstrators will create critters and creatures to engage visitors, answer questions, and give visitors an active appreciation of how to pursue this lifelong hobby to create items for decorative and utility purposes.

VSA Iowa     Des Moines, IA
VSA Iowa’s mission is to create a society where people with disabilities can learn through, participate in, and enjoy the arts.

Arts Activity:
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.

Walnut Creek Church     Des Moines, IA
Walnut Creek Church’s mission is to bless the city, its people and to glorify God.

Arts Activity:
Create a mosaic using tissue paper and light glue.

Westside Early Education     Des Moines, IA
Westside Early Education seeks to provide a quality preschool program for students ages 1-4 and strives to provide a loving environment where children develop their ability to listen, communicate, share, care, and learn.

Arts Activity:
Create your own sunshine using paper plates, pipe cleaners, beads, and more!

The World Food Prize     Des Moines, IA
Recognizing and inspiring breakthrough achievements in the fight to end hunger.

Arts Activity:
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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