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Artist Connect connects the education community to working artists. Artists demonstrate their work and showcase their skills and working studios to students, ages 5 - 18, and their teachers.

During the pandemic, a local art teacher reached out to Des Moines Arts Festival for leads on virtual studio tours and contacts of those who might be willing to Zoom with students to talk about their practice. After months of teaching behind a screen during the pandemic, this link provided teachers and students increased engagement and inspiration.


Our commitment to young artists and the creative economy led us to formalize this exchange into Artist Connect. Polk County Board of Supervisors made it a reality with a Community Betterment Grant.



We need YOU! We are building the Artist Connect database with a portfolio of working creatives in the Central Iowa region - within a 30 mile radius of Des Moines. The portfolio will be shared with teachers. Teachers will select artists based on their curriculum to connect students with real-life models. If you’re interested in sharing 30-45 minutes of your time to explain your process, running a business, giving a virtual studio tour, and talking with students ages 5-18, please complete the Artist Connect form HERE. All presenting artists will receive an honorarium of $200 for their time.

ARTSwork staff will manage scheduling between artists and schools, as well as set up/tear down of equipment, and operation of the virtual tours.

We look forward to connecting artists with students! If you have any questions about the program or process, don’t hesitate to reach out.

A special thanks to our participating artists and schools.
2024 sessions are available January 22 - May 10.


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