The goal of the Des Moines Art Center’s community outreach program is to use art education to inspire students and at-risk youth to acknowledge their unique identities and use artistic expression to overcome adversity and establish a sense of worth.
District Wide Classroom / Children and Families of Iowa
Fifteen to 20 youths who reside in Children and Families of Iowa (CFI) group homes and attend District Wide Classroom spend two and half hours a week during the school year participating in art classes at the Art Center. This program serves students in grades six through 12 who need intensive behavioral and academic support and is a partnership between Des Moines Public Schools and Children and Families of Iowa. The studio art curriculum is an interdisciplinary approach integrating studio art, academic subjects, and museum visits; the students also receive school credit toward graduation.
Youth Emergency Services and Shelter
The Art Center provides art activities for pre-adolescent youths and teens throughout the year at Youth Emergency Services and Shelter (YESS). YESS provides emergency shelter, respite, and counseling for children aged birth through 17.
Brody and Merrill Artists
During the fall and spring semesters 12 students from middle schools in the community participate in an eight-week after school program designed to keep them engaged and promote their creativity. Curriculum is developed by the Outreach Coordinator and the school's art teacher to provide studio projects unavailable at school; each project is inspired by a visit to the museum.
Casady Alternative Center / Girls Program
Twelve students from Casady Alternative Center’s Girls Program (CAC) visit the Art Center twice a month during the academic year. Each visit consists of a trip to the museum and a corresponding studio project. CAC provides sixth- through 12th-grade young women with intensive academic and behavioral instruction; the students participate in intensive gender-specific problem solving and pro-social skills.
Oakridge Neighborhood Services
During the summer the Art Center provides literacy and art classes to students kindergarten through seventh-grade attending the EDUcamp at the Oakridge Varsity Center. The goal of Oakridge Neighborhood Services is to provide a wide range of social services to help young children and to ultimately enable them succeed in the Des Moines Public School system. Each art activity the students participate in has a literacy component and is based on age appropriate children’s books.
These programs are supported by the generosity of the following organizations:
Meier Bernstein Foundation
Lois L. and H. Dale Bright Foundation
Variety Club of Iowa – The Children’s Charity
Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield
Casey’s General Stores, Inc.
Bank of American Foundation