Community Outreach Program

WINNER - Best Community Outreach Program
~ 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 interactive programming, and encouraging all on-site organizations 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.

Participating Organizations

AARP is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all as we age. They champion positive social change and deliver value through advocacy, information and service.

Arts Activity: Create wearable art reminiscent of Milagros style engravings using craft foil and a wooden stylus.

Animal Lifeline of Iowa
Animal Lifeline is a no-kill animal shelter seeking to reduce the number of special needs dogs and cats that are euthanized by providing care, temporary shelter and by promoting positive long-term pet guardianship.

Arts Activity: Enjoy a custom coloring table where you can draw your favorite animal or play “feed the animals" bean bag toss game.

Anawim Housing
Anawim Housing has been providing safe, affordable and permanent housing to underserved families for 27 years. Anawim's goal is to get families into quality homes they can afford, and help them reach stability.

Arts Activity: Learn how to help living things grow and thrive by planting your own flowers in a decorated flower pot.

Animal Rescue League of Iowa 
The mission of Animal Rescue League of Iowa is to promote animal welfare, the human animal bond and prevent the overpopulation of pets.

Arts Activity: Come spin the prize wheel and decorate a coloring sheet!

Blank Park Zoo & Living History Farms  
The mission of the Blank Park Zoo is to inspire an appreciation of the natural world through conservation, education and recreation.  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: Come color a picture of a zoo animal and have it made into a button to wear.

Des Moines Downtown Chamber of Commerce
The Downtown Chamber of Commerce is a community of businesses and nonprofits focused on Downtown vitality.

Arts Activity: Draw a picture of your dream business and get your photo taken using the Downtown Chamber's giant scissors to cut the ribbon for your new business.

HCI Care Services and VNS of Iowa
The mission of HCI Care Services is to promote dignity, independence and quality of life for all through education, compassion and effective community-based care.

Arts Activity: Create and decorate a book of memories to honor a loved one.

Susan G. Komen Iowa
The Iowa Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure raises funds to support Komen's mission to empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Their goal is to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease by advancing research, education, screening and treatment.

Arts Activity: Participate in the Kids for the Cure Art Contest!

Iowa District Optimist
Iowa District Optimists work in communities to help children reach their full potential and empower them to become leaders. Their mission is to bring out the best in kids.

Arts Activity: Join them for spin art with colors of your choice and watch a short internet safety video.

Des Moines Social Club
The Des Moines Social Club provides a home for local artists, 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.

Arts Activity: Join them for a marble painting activity.

AHeinz57 Pet Rescue and Transport
AHeinz57 Pet Rescue is a unique rescue organization that exists to bridge the gap between traditional animal shelters and no-kill rescue centers. They are committed to saving homeless companion animals, assisting other shelters/rescues through rescue transports, offering in-home training to keep dogs in their current homes, and educating the public on the issues of pet over-population, and responsible pet ownership and puppy mills.

Arts Activity: Make a homemade fleece toy for your favorite dog!

Walnut Creek Church
Walnut Creek Church is a vibrant multi-site Christian community that is passionate about Jesus and desires to love people practically and see all grow in a meaningful, rich relationship with God.

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

Teaching Leaves Inc
Teaching Leaves connects and engages with the community in several educational programs. Their main goal is to teach the public what they have not learned or learned incorrectly about the Natives and to continue the tradition of teaching arts and stories.

Arts Activity: Experience Native American culture by looking at animal dies and traditional clothing, as well as an opportunity to hear flute music and play the drums and rattles.

Salsa Des Moines
Salsa Des Moines provides high quality dance education experiences for all ages and levels in order to expand the dancer community through technique and knowledge. They coordinate with local organizations, institutions, and venues to provide social dancing opportunities for the community and the students.

Arts Activity: Join them to take a short dance lesson of salsa, cha cha, bachata, merengue and salsa rueda.

Westside Early Education
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!

Science Center of Iowa
The Science Center of Iowa engages and inspires Iowans along their journey of lifelong science learning. Their 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: Use origami techniques to make an artistic paper airplane.

Altoona Lions Club
The Lions Club's purpose is to promote principles of good government and good citizenship, while taking an active interest in the civic, cultural, social and moral welfare of the community.

Arts Activity: Join the Altoona Lions Club to make a colorful array of spin art!

Iowa Dance Theatre
The Iowa Dance Theatre aims to provide appropriately challenging and artistic dance opportunities to a wide variety of abilities.

Arts Activity: Make colorful braided scarves to move and dance with.

The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army seeks to provide assistance to people in the most need by providing rental and housing assistance, food pantries, mobile canteen feeding program for the homeless, children's day camps, adult rehabilitation centers and thrift shops.

Arts Activity: Make paper tambourines using plates, bells, stickers and more!