History shows that an abundance of the arts builds thriving communities that prosper on many levels.

Metro Arts Alliance will be known as a leader in bringing the arts to all areas of greater Des Moines.


To advance creativity and strengthen our community, we educate and enrich the development of children and adults through schools, organizations, senior centers, and collaborating with other community partners.

We create opportunities that provide lifelong access and engagement in the arts for all.

it begins with our values….

we create

  • We create opportunities for everyone to participate in the arts.
  • We create a positive buzz – a high level of awareness and excitement about the arts.

we collaborate

  • We collaborate with cultural organizations, artists, businesses, educators, governments, and a variety of other groups to connect people to the arts.
  • We collaborate with the community, business and cultural leaders regularly seek our perspective to ensure that the arts agenda is represented throughout community planning and decision-making.

we educate

  • We educate and enrich the development of children through schools and parks programs.
  • We educate our community to encourage lifelong learning through the arts.

over 40 years of history….

Metro Arts Alliance began in 1969 after city leaders recommended forming a community council to review human service needs and resources.

That group reviewed existing programs and recommended changes to eliminate gaps, duplications and shortcomings. This assessment led to the study and formation in 1975 of the Arts and Recreation Council of Greater Des Moines with 35 board members.

A staff person was hired and an office was established through Chamber of Commerce and Hawley Foundation grants.

The Arts and Recreation Council changed its name to Metro Arts Alliance of Greater Des Moines in 1992.

The initial mission to serve as an umbrella agency for arts, humanities, recreational and educational organizations has evolved into an organization that connects people to the arts through programming, communication and support of artists and arts organizations.

Metro Arts Alliance is dedicated to strengthening the central Iowa community through art, theater, music, and dance.

A rich diversity of arts programs, educational opportunities, and cultural events make our city a more vital and interesting place to live while attracting new businesses and residents.

Our on-going mission is to enrich the quality of life in Greater Des Moines by making the arts accessible to all.