Gwenni Cupp

Written by Gwenni Cupp

Modified & Updated: 02 Jun 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


The Des Moines Arts Festival is an annual event that showcases the vibrant arts and cultural scene in Des Moines, Iowa. This three-day festival brings together artists, musicians, performers, and art enthusiasts from across the region to celebrate creativity and expression. With its rich history and a wide array of artistic events and exhibits, the Des Moines Arts Festival has become a highlight of the city’s calendar. In this article, we will explore 17 fascinating facts about the Des Moines Arts Festival, from its beginnings to the diverse range of art forms featured. Whether you’re a seasoned attendee or planning to experience this event for the first time, these facts will give you a deeper appreciation for the impact and significance of the Des Moines Arts Festival.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Des Moines Arts Festival is a vibrant celebration of art, culture, and community, showcasing diverse talent and providing a platform for emerging artists to shine.
  • With live performances, interactive exhibits, and a commitment to sustainability, the festival offers a family-friendly, immersive experience that celebrates creativity and cultural diversity.
Table of Contents

A Supporting Community

The Des Moines Arts Festival is made possible through the collaboration of numerous local artists, organizations, and volunteers who come together to create a truly memorable experience.

A Rich History

First established in 1958, the Des Moines Arts Festival has a longstanding tradition of promoting artistic expression and fostering a love for the arts within the community.

Nationally Recognized

The festival has gained national recognition and has been ranked as one of the top arts festivals in the country by various publications and organizations.

A Diverse Showcase

Visitors to the festival can expect to see a wide range of artistic mediums, including paintings, sculptures, photography, ceramics, jewelry, and much more.

Emerging Artists

The Des Moines Arts Festival provides a platform for emerging artists to showcase their talent and gain exposure to a large and diverse audience.

Interactive Exhibits

One of the highlights of the festival is the opportunity for visitors to engage with interactive exhibits, allowing them to become a part of the artwork.

Live Performances

The festival features a lineup of live performances, including music, dance, theater, and spoken word, creating a dynamic and immersive experience for attendees.

Culinary Delights

In addition to art, the festival also celebrates the culinary arts, offering a wide variety of gourmet food and beverage options from local vendors.

Family-Friendly Fun

The Des Moines Arts Festival is a family-friendly event, with activities and entertainment specifically tailored for children of all ages.

Education and Workshops

As part of its commitment to fostering artistic growth, the festival offers educational workshops and demonstrations led by professional artists.

Outdoor Gallery

The streets of Des Moines transform into a captivating open-air gallery, allowing visitors to admire and purchase artwork directly from the artists themselves.

Awards and Recognition

The festival presents various awards to participating artists, recognizing their exceptional talent and contribution to the artistic community.

Sustainability Efforts

The Des Moines Arts Festival is committed to promoting sustainable practices, including recycling and minimizing waste throughout the event.

Supportive Community Partners

Local businesses and organizations play a vital role in supporting the festival, serving as sponsors and providing resources to ensure its success.

Cultural Exchange

The festival celebrates cultural diversity by featuring artists from different backgrounds and showcasing a wide range of artistic influences.

Year-Round Programs

The Des Moines Arts Festival extends beyond its annual event, offering year-round programs and initiatives that support and promote the arts in the community.

A Celebration of Creativity

Above all, the Des Moines Arts Festival is a joyous celebration of creativity, inspiring individuals of all ages to embrace their artistic side and appreciate the beauty of the arts.


In conclusion, the Des Moines Arts Festival is an incredible event that showcases the vibrant arts scene in Des Moines, Iowa. With its rich history, diverse range of artists, and engaging activities, it is no wonder why the festival attracts visitors from near and far. Whether you are a fan of visual arts, live performances, or delicious food, there is something for everyone to enjoy at this annual event. So mark your calendars and make plans to attend the Des Moines Arts Festival, where you can immerse yourself in creativity, culture, and community.


1. When is the Des Moines Arts Festival held?

The Des Moines Arts Festival takes place annually in the last weekend of June.

2. Where is the festival located?

The festival is held at the Western Gateway Park, located in the heart of downtown Des Moines.

3. Are there any admission fees?

No, the Des Moines Arts Festival is free to attend. However, there may be charges for certain activities or food vendors.

4. Can I bring my pet to the festival?

Unfortunately, pets are not allowed at the festival, except for registered service animals.

5. Are there activities for children?

Yes, the festival offers a variety of children’s activities and interactive art experiences, ensuring that kids of all ages have a great time.

6. Can I purchase artwork at the festival?

Absolutely! The festival features an Art Market where you can browse and buy artwork directly from the artists.

7. Is parking available?

Yes, there are several parking options available near the festival venue. Visitors can choose from street parking and public parking garages.

8. Can I volunteer at the festival?

Yes, the Des Moines Arts Festival offers volunteer opportunities. You can check their official website for more information on how to get involved.

9. Is the festival wheelchair accessible?

Yes, the festival is fully wheelchair accessible. There are ramps and designated accessible areas throughout the venue.

10. What COVID-19 safety measures are in place?

The Des Moines Arts Festival is committed to following the recommended health and safety guidelines. They may implement measures such as social distancing, mask requirements, and sanitization stations. Be sure to check their website for the latest updates.

Immerse yourself in captivating art experiences beyond Des Moines Arts Festival. Discover Venice Biennale's renowned ArtExhibitions, showcasing global talent. Explore vibrant StreetArt at International Street Art Festival, transforming public spaces. Uncover Akron, Ohio's thriving LocalArtists scene, where creativity knows no bounds. Each event offers unique opportunities to engage with art, expand your horizons, and celebrate the power of artistic expression. Don't miss out on these incredible journeys that await you!

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