Des Moines Performing Arts Announces Free Summer Programming


Six opportunities offered for families to enjoy the performing arts outdoors


DES MOINES, Iowa – Des Moines Performing Arts (DMPA) announced six new opportunities for the community to enjoy this summer.  The programs are designed to engage new audiences and performing arts enthusiasts. To accomplish this, DMPA is collaborating with city departments across the metro and community organizations to host events in city parks and non-traditional spaces. Additionally, the family-friendly programming is being offered free of charge to remove financial barriers.


The programming includes:



Yoga on the Commons

Every Sunday at 9 am June – August

Cowles Commons

Enjoy yoga in one of downtown Des Moines’ most exhilarating and inspiring outdoor spaces, Cowles Commons. In partnership with Janet Casson Yoga, each week will feature different guest professional instructors that will lead participants through an exhilarating and inspiring practice suitable for all levels.


WATERBOMBS Pop-Up Performance

June 25-27 Multiple performances at a variety of community parks


Visit for times and park locations

Audiences are invited to experience an epic water balloon fight between two of the world’s best mimes! Direct from New York City, this hysterical battle is filled with 100+ flying water balloons and ridiculous comedy.


Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience and The Princess and the Frog screening

July 16 – Jamie Hurd Amphitheater (West Des Moines) at 7 pm

July 17 – Prairie Meadows Riviera Amphitheater at Riverview Park (Des Moines) at 7 pm

Audiences are invited to enjoy a concert and movie night. Join two-time Grammy award-winning artist, Terrance Simien, and his Zydeco Experience bandmates as they explore what Zydeco roots music is – and is not.  Simien collaborated with the legendary Randy Newman for the song “Gonna Take You There” featured in the Disney classic, The Princess and The Frog which will be screened following each performance at dusk.


ANTS Pop-Up Experience


August 5-8 Multiple performances at a variety of community parks

Visit for times and park locations

Ants is an interactive roving performance that has giant Ants bringing children together in a gentle and intriguing landscaping project. By moving “crumbs” around the park together, Ants is an enchanting investigation into the nature of work and children’s relationship with their environment.


Squonk Hand To Hand Spectacle Concert Experience

September 4-5 Multiple performances on Cowles Commons

Visit for times

Audience members can experience a concert like none other, propelled by two giant puppet hands, each the size of a house and rigged like a sailing ship, with music that blows the roof off. Band members, dwarfed by the hands, climb a multi-tiered stage in this interactive performance while audience members are invited to manipulate the giant hands. 


Somos Amigos Concert: Sonia De Los Santos & The Okee Dokee Brothers

September 23 – Ankeny Bandshell at Wagner Park at 6 pm

September 24 – Lauridsen Amphitheater at Water Works Park (Des Moines) at 6 pm

Grammy award winners The Okee Dokee Brothers join forces with Sonia De Los Santos for this bilingual concert including both old and new songs. Explore the musical traditions of North America as they illustrate the collective power of singing together. With an adventurous spirit and a common vision of peace and understanding, the concert encourages young and old to explore, dance, song, and laughter together.


“These performances are a significant way for DMPA to collaborate with a vast array of artists, venues and communities,” said DMPA spokesperson, Jonathan Brendemuehl. “Our priority is to present vibrant live performances and we are delighted to bring these performances into neighborhoods across the metro.”


Community partners include the Parks & Recreation departments of Ankeny, Des Moines, Johnston, Urbandale and West Des Moines, Water Works Park Foundation, Parks Area Foundation, Latino Heritage Festival and Janet Casson Yoga.


More information about each of the engagements can be found at


About Des Moines Performing Arts

Des Moines Performing Arts is a private not-for-profit organization celebrating over 40 seasons of presenting the performing arts to Iowa and the surrounding states on four stages in Des Moines – the Civic Center, the Stoner Theater, the Temple Theater and the outdoor space, Cowles Commons. Des Moines Performing Arts is a presenter of major Broadway and educational touring companies, performers and groups, and is home to many local and regional groups, including the Des Moines Symphony. All performances of the Broadway Series are supported by Willis Auto Campus. All performances at the Temple Theater are supported by Prairie Meadows. All performances of the Family Series are supported by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield. For more information, visit

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