Extension News

Extension focuses on youth at festival


AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University Extension will play a key role in the 2005 Des Moines Arts Festival, providing activities for Iowa families and promoting ISU Extension's services.


The award-winning festival is scheduled for June 24 to 26 along the riverfront of downtown Des Moines.  Locust Street, Walnut Street and Court Avenue bridges, as well as First Street and East First Street will feature the work of 150 of the most talented artists in the United States.


Locust Street Bridge will be devoted to ISU Extension with the theme "Create.  Connect.  Imagine."


"There will be several tents and a large stage," Martha McCormick, 4-H field specialist, said.  "Each tent has a theme corresponding to something Extension specializes in."


Children of all ages will have the opportunity to participate in a 10 to 20 minute art activity in each tent. Featured tents include: Create a Garden, Imagine Your Future, Connect with Science and Technology, Connect with the Great Outdoors, Mind-Body Connection, Imagine Art and Imagine the Power of Youth.  In addition WOI Radio will be part of the ISU exhibit.  Visitors can watch performances by the Iowa State Dance Troupe and 4-H members in a Share the Fun talent show on the Center Stage.


ISU Extension hopes to raise awareness among urban residents about their services, Iowa State University and 4-H through their participation in the Des Moines Arts Festival, according to Elaine Edwards, communications manager at ISU Extension.


"I've worked with urban audiences for almost 30 years and we struggle with the image of 4-H being for farm kids, but there are programs for urban youth as well," McCormick said.  "Being at the arts festival gives us a chance to show off ISU Extension, ISU and 4-H."


Participating in the Des Moines Arts Festival allows Iowa State University to make a positive contribution to the community.


"This is an opportunity to share the wonderful things we do and the programs we offer," Chuck Morris, head of 4-H youth development, said.  "We're giving back to Iowa and helping enrich and improve the life of Iowans."


The Des Moines Arts Festival began in 1998 in an attempt to revitalize Art in the Park, a 40-year-old festival. The festival offers the Des Moines area a cultural event that is appropriate for families and free of charge.  ISU Extension began participating in the festival in 2004.


"Extension was looking for a nontraditional opportunity to let the public learn of the programs and facilities Extension offers," Mo Dana, of the Des Moines Arts Festival, said.


Last year, 230,000 visitors attended the event and most of them walked across the Locust Street Bridge.  An increase in visitors is expected at the 2005 Des Moines Arts Festival, Dana said.


Volunteers are needed to assist with the various activities sponsored by ISU Extension on Locust Street Bridge.  ISU faculty, staff and students are encouraged to sign up as a volunteer. Volunteers should be enthusiastic, enjoy working with children and able to work four hour shifts.  All volunteers will receive a free T-shirt.  For more information, or to volunteer at the ISU Extension exhibit, go to www.extension.iastate.edu and select the Des Moines Arts Festival link.



Contacts :

Elaine Edwards, Continuing Education and Communication Services, (515) 294-5168, eedwards@iastate.edu

Martha McCormick, Cooperative Extension Field Program, (515) 261-4216, mmcormick@iastate.edu 

Chuck Morris, Youth and 4-H, (515) 294-1018, cmorris@iastate.edu

Mo Dana, (515) 286-4932, mdana@downtowneventsgroup.org