Community Access makes a difference. We partner with a variety of non-profits, human health organizations, schools, and other community groups to provide engaging programming and art education.

Des Moines Art Center’s Community Access Program (CAP) encompasses multiple elements of creative engagement with our local community. Our first partnership was with Mentor Iowa in the year 2000, and since then our impact has grown to include 40 local partner organizations.

We contract a diverse group of teaching artists working in various mediums to facilitate classes in the community and at the Des Moines Art Center, as well as organize free youth workshops to take place with artists whose works are currently on view in the museum. CAP teaching artists use a student-centered method, creating a safe, respectful environment where everyone’s art is valued as an outlet for self-expression.

For more information about the Art Center’s Community Access Program, use the button below.


Lutheran Services of Iowa’s (LSI) older refugee and immigrant clients face language barriers and isolation. Art has proven a powerful tool in our program because it fosters self-expression and a strong sense of community.” – LuAnn Brandsen, ELL Project Specialist with Lutheran Services of Iowa

Our Programs

Community Resiliency

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Identity Affirming

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Educational Enrichment

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Adaptive Arts

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We discover creative ways of making artworks and art-making accessible to those in our community that otherwise lack this access due to cultural, economic, environmental, and social barriers.

Thank you to our community access programming supporters: Charlotte and Fred Hubbell, Corteva Argiscience, Hyvee, Iowa State Bank, Mid-America Arts Alliance, National Endowment for the Arts, the Meier Bernstein Foundation, Nationwide Foundation, Prairie Meadows, Principal® Foundation

Upcoming Events and Programs

All Community Access programs are free to attend.
Call 515.277.4405 for cancellations due to weather.

Art Spectrums
Sunday, April 14 l 5 – 12-year-olds: 1 – 2:30 pm, 13 – 18-year-olds: 3 – 4:30 pm
Sunday, May 12 l 5 – 12-year-olds: 1 – 2:30 pm, 13 – 18-year-olds: 3 – 4:30 pm

Autism Community Art Gatherings (18+)
Friday, April 19 l 5 – 7 pm

Blind and Low Vision Community Art Gatherings *Held at Mainframe Studios (Studio #109)
Wednesday, April 17 l 6 – 8 pm
Wednesday, May 1 l 6 – 8 pm
Wednesday, May 15 l 6 – 8 pm

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community Art Gatherings
Friday, April 12 | 5 – 7 pm
Friday, April 19 | 5 – 7 pm
Friday, April 26 | 5 – 7 pm

Safe Space Prom
Saturday, May 4 l 7 – 10 pm

LGBTQIA+ Community Art Gatherings (18+)
Monday, April 8 l 6 – 8 pm
Monday, May 13 l 6 – 8 pm

LGBTQIA+ Teen Art Gatherings*Held at Mainframe Studios (Studio #109)
Sunday, April 14 l 1 – 4 pm
Sunday, May 12 l 1 – 4 pm

Veteran Only Art Club
Thursday, May 9 l 4 – 6 pm
Thursday, May 23 l 4 – 6 pm

Veteran and Companion Art Club
Thursday, May 2 l 4:15 – 6 pm
Thursday, May 16 l 4:15 – 6 pm


Community Access presents two exhibitions each year to display work by its participants. Artworks below were on view in the Herbert Galleries in the Education Wing of the Art Center during spring 2024.