Teaching Artist for Art Access Programs

The Des Moines Art Center is a world-class museum in the heart of the Midwest. With a focus on contemporary art, it has amassed an important collection exhibited in three major buildings, on the grounds, and downtown in the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park. In addition, the Art Center presents thought-provoking exhibitions, educational programs and hands-on studio art classes.


The Teaching Artist for Art Access Programs develops and teaches classes at the Art Center and in the community for at-risk youth and marginalized populations by creating a safe space for artmaking, confidence building, and self-expression. This position provides access to the museum and art education by building positive relationships with the students through teaching a wide variety of art techniques that inspire creativity, experimentation, and encouraging a sense of worth among students.  

Essential Functions

  • Ability to build relationships and work effectively with a diverse community; high integrity, judgement, and discretion.
  • Develops arts curriculum appropriate to the setting, age, and skill level of student groups
  • Works effectively with a diverse community; high integrity, judgment, and discretion
  • Personable and accessible to program participants and staff; sense of humor, compassion, and grace
  • Display high emotional intelligence; able to easily develop strong relationships with and secure the trust and confidence of students and community partners while maintaining appropriate boundaries
  • Researches, plans, and develops class content and related materials
  • Maintains regular correspondence with the Access Program Manager to communicate supply needs, progress updates, and to advocate for student’s interests
  • Provides testimonials and qualitative assessments at the completion of each program along with overall student progress reports
  • Travels to offsite programs and teaches classes as scheduled
  • Strong classroom management skills to ensure a safe environment

Other Responsibilities

  • Prepares workspace before class and ensures a tidy space following class
  • Secures substitutes for planned absences
  • Attends faculty meetings and trainings
  • Acts in ways that reflect favorably on the Art Center and maintains professional standards in the quality of performance and demonstration of concern for the Art Center’s collection, programs, and facilities.  Adheres to Des Moines Art Center Code of Ethics, Employee Handbook and other organizational policies.


  • Strong arts background, artistic practice preferred
  • Ability to create a positive, high quality learning experience for all students
  • A minimum of one year experience teaching diverse audiences, or teaching in a nontraditional setting is required
  • Experience working with youth with behavioral and/or mental health diagnosis, and/or learning disabilities is highly preferred
  • Practicing artist willing to provide portfolio or samples of work
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Must have own vehicle for transportation to and from offsite locations
  • This is a contract position wherein you would sign an Independent Contract Agreement. 

Decision Making

  • Regularly exercises judgement and discretion in matters related to class content, materials, and classroom management. Is able to make quick decisions if/when behaviors escalate to maintain a safe environment for oneself and all students.


  • The Teaching Artist for Art Access Programs reports to the Access Program Manager and directs the work of studio monitors or program staff and volunteers as needed. This position has constant contact with students of all ages and frequently interacts with program partners and education department staff. 

Special Considerations (Work Environment, Schedule, Etc.)

  • Work is performed in a variety of settings throughout the Des Moines metro area
  • Classes are generally held indoors, but may on occasion be outdoors where exposure to hot or cold weather conditions is possible
  • Exposure to environmental conditions such as fumes, water, or noise occurs frequently
  • Classes are scheduled weekdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Very infrequently, classes may be scheduled during the evening hours.

Physical Factors

  • The ability to lift or move 5 – 45 pounds is frequently required to move student artwork, equipment, and supplies
  • The ability to finger and grasp objects is required to demonstrate techniques and assist students
  • Must be able to kneel, crouch, and bend at the waist to assist students and retrieve supplies from storage
  • Must be able to stand and walk for sustained periods of time

Teaching Artist for Art Access Programs is a contract position, working between 5 – 20 hours per week.

Starting wage based on skill and experience.

This position will remain open until filled.

Equal Employment Statement

The Art Center is dedicated to equal employment and advancement opportunities. It is the Art Center’s policy to hire and promote qualified individuals on the basis of their qualifications, interest and aptitude, without regard to race, creed, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information or any other protected group under applicable state, federal or local law.

To be considered for this position, please fill out the application below.

Upload your portfolio below as a PDF using the "Additional Application Materials" button. Please include five student works and five personal works in your portfolio.

All fields marked with * are required.

Personal Information


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Application Materials


Unless otherwise stated, I voluntarily give the Des Moines Art Center the right to make a thorough investigation of my past employment and activities. I agree to cooperate in such investigation, and release from all liability all persons, companies, or corporations supplying such information. If an offer of employment is given, I understand I must successfully complete a pre-employment criminal background check. I am also aware that I will be required to provide proof/identification that I am eligible to work in the United States. I certify that information given in this application is accurate and complete, and understand that inaccurate information may be cause for termination if discovered after employment begins.

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