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Planning the Creative Youth Art & Music Festival in DSM

The Creative Youth Art & Music Festival

May 16, 2019

Erica BensonGeorge HoltzAs a student at Lincoln High School, I started the Creative Youth Collective alongside my friend, George Holtz, a student at Roosevelt High School. The Collective was born out of an idea to produce an arts and music festival focusing on young local artists. Our mission when creating this festival has been to give young visual and performing artists the platform to gain recognition in our community, as well as the opportunity to profit from their creative endeavors. We believe that art and music are an important piece of bringing joy to our communities, as well as highlight diverse perspectives and experiences that will subsequently inspire conversations and change. By giving a platform to young people, we hope to highlight the importance of creative outlets for our community’s youth, and we also hope to inspire more people to make art and music.

Planning a New Youth Art & Music Festival in DSM

All aspects of planning the festival have been fun and fulfilling. Although our idea came about around the end of December 2018[JS1] , we started officially planning The Creative Youth Festival in February 2019. We moved quickly, first securing a venue to ensure we had the space to hold the event. When we reached out to the Des Moines Social Club, they were excited about our ideas and worked with us to make the Festival a reality. DSM is lucky to have a venue like the Des Moines Social Club in our city. Their support of not only local artists, but specifically local youth, has ensured our voices are heard.

After securing our venue, the next step was to build our lineup and start fundraising. In March, we held a fundraising concert with Glitter Density, a local band who will be performing at the Festival. The concert was held at Mars Café, a local coffeehouse near Drake University. This fundraiser allowed us to raise enough money to reach The Festival’s budget goals. Once again, we witnessed the ready support of local businesses and community members.

The Creative Youth Festival will take place on Sunday, May 19 from 5-9 p.m. at The Basement of The Des Moines Social Club. The festival will include 11 visual artists, 8 performing artists, a guest speaker and a mini fashion show. The visuals artists will have booths set up where they will be selling or showcasing their work. Meanwhile, on the stage, festival attendees will experience live music, poetry, a drag performance and a guest speaker.

Jo Allen will headline as The Festival’s guest speaker. Jo is a DSM photographer and current student at the University of Northern Iowa. She will share information about the incredible opportunities she has created for herself as a young artist in DSM.

Visual Artist Lineup

  • Quinn Johnson – Ceramics

Instagram – @qjohnsonceramics

  • shopxobi – Clothing and Graphic Designer

Instagram - @shopxobi

  • Goobt – Graphic Designer

Instagram - @goobt.jpg

  • Crystal Vela – Jeweler

Instagram - @bonisuci

  • Jo Allen – Photographer

Instagram - @jovisiuals

  • Samm Yu – Photographer

Instagram - @strawberriesamm

  • Tevka Lackmann – Artist

Instagram - @drawinchick

  • Zovee’s Jewelry – Jewelers

Instagram – @zoveesjewelry

  • Birdcurse – Clothing Brand

Instagram - @bird.curse

  • Kevin Ha – Graphic Designer

Instagram - @kevkneezy

Performing Artist Lineup

  • Andréa Pérez – Poet
  • Comandante – Rapper
  • Frieda Nasty – Drag Queen
  • Jazzy Johnson – Poet
  • Glitter Density – Band
  • Yabsira Tekle – Poet
  • Teri Underhill – Singer/Songwriter
  • Rated G – Rapper

Named as the #1 Metro with the Most Community Pride by Gallup, Greater Des Moines (DSM) is the fastest growing metro in the Midwest. Learn more about what it’s like to live here.

Erica Benson

Erica Benson is the co-creator of the Creative Youth Collective. She is 18 years old and has lived in Greater Des Moines (DSM) since 2008. Erica is a senior at Lincoln High School and plans on attending college to study Arts Management.