DSM Speaks

DSM Speaks is a program that offers opportunities for multiple interpretations of artwork and reinforces the idea that there is no wrong way to experience art. Community members write and record brief audio reflections on artwork in the permanent collections that inspired them. Visitors can access these recordings in the museum by the QR code found on selected artwork labels. Recordings can also be found through the DSM Speaks playlist.

If you are interested in creating your own DSM Speaks audio response, please contact Museum Educator Mia Buch at mbuch@desmoinesartcenter.org

Art & Activism

The Art Centers holds multiple Art & Activism workshops each year in correlation with major exhibitions and featured artists. These multi-day free workshops for teens allow students to explore and experience ways of artmaking in the studios while also learning from practicing artists and their peers.

Keep an eye on the events calendar to stay up-to-date on Art & Activism workshops.

Open Session

Open Session is the Art Center’s ongoing, experimental, and experiential series designed in collaboration with our creative community. This program invites individuals and groups wishing to plan, produce, and activate public programming in collaboration with the Art CenterFrom dance to theater, spoken word to interactive tours – Open Session offers audiences and area creatives space to experience and build contemporary performance together. 

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Teen Academy

Join us in the studio for a nine-month program designed to assist motivated high school students in the development of a college art portfolio. The Teen Academy curriculum includes instructor-led classes, independent work days, class critiques, museum discussions, and guest artist sessions.

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Deaf Community Art Gatherings

Presented by the Art Center’s Community Access Program, we invite members of the deaf community to join us for weekly gatherings to embrace art and art-making together. Taught by artists Julia Phillips and Sarah Young Bear-Brown, Deaf community art gatherings are held every Friday at the Art Center from 5 – 7 pm through December 1, 2023. The program is free to attend!

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Art Spectrums

Art Spectrums is a free program for children and teens on the autism spectrum. Art Spectrums provides an opportunity for participants to exercise their creativity and build their self-esteem through sensory experiences that aid in the development of cognition, communication, and motor skills.

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LGBTQIA+ Teen Art Gatherings

In partnership with the Des Moines Queer Youth Resource Center,  the Art Center hosts free drop-in art gatherings on the second and fourth Monday of every month from 4:30 – 6 pm. For local teens ages 13-18, this is an opportunity to learn about art, tour the museum, tap into your creative side, and build community.

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Member Groups

Join an Art Center member group to experience even more the Art Center has to offer and beyond! Connect with community and fellow art lovers. Participate in workshops and opportunities like public art bike tours, a flashlight tour of the museum, and more.

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Art Center Docents

Become a volunteer docent for the Art Center! As knowledgeable guides, docents lead tours of the museum and sculpture park, sharing their love of art with visitors. No prior art experience is required, and the Art Center provides all training. This rewarding opportunity is open to all education levels and backgrounds. Benefits include free membership, access to special resources, opportunities to meet artists, field trip possibilities, and more.

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My Museum Monday

Art Center members have the opportunity to spend time alone in the museum when it is otherwise closed to the public. Have you always wanted to play your guitar inside the Art Center? Recite poetry to your favorite work of art? Read a book or enjoy peace and quiet in your favorite building? Now you can!

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