15 2 / 2012

So many of us move about Iowa and the rest of the world talking about Des Moines and it’s many shortcomings (I’m guilty of it. I’ll own up to that) But when I think about it, I treat my fair city an awful lot like I treat my three sisters: I can point out their faults, but as soon as you, whomever you are, start trash talking, I’ll want to throw spoons at you.

It’s time, in 2012, to start touting my city’s gems and own it.

My stoop is in the most amazing neighborhood where the streets are lined with big-porched-attic-having homes that are lovingly renovated. My art center holds parties coated in glitter, and Hopper and Warhol and Rothko. My stationary shop sits at the base of my state’s gilded capital, always has sweet treats and a welcoming blue chair. My happy hour serves cheeses and my hometown prosciutto and a perfect ginger mojito.

Speak with pride about OUR city and don’t simply be “involved:” take ownership of the things you love about our Des Moines. Invest yourself in one or two projects, organizations, people or places and get to know them, but more than that, become part of them.


Laura Palmer is Major gift officer at Drake University and has been an active member of Art Noir. Follow: @ljpalmer.

14 2 / 2012

For the last year we have been plagued with reports about the Iowa Film Scandal.  But there is some good news about Iowa film that many have overlooked: the independent filmmakers.

While the big studios and stars may not be making cinema here, thousands of Iowans are, and that means some much needed dollars for the local economies of several Iowa towns. Crews need places to stay, food to eat and gas to get them around. No matter what the budget is, dollars will be spent to make the transformation from script to screen.

Last year more independent productions occurred than in any other year in Iowa history. Right now, in the the state of Iowa, it is estimated that over 250 independent film projects of varying sizes are in some stage of production.  Almost half of those are located here in Des Moines. I have been fortunate enough to be involved with a few, and I can tell you there is some great work going on in this city.

You can help support independent films in a number of ways: Chip in a on a Kickstarter campaign, let filmmakers use your home or business for a shoot, participate in a film contest or simply attend a screening of a locally made film. The bottom line is that almost every dollar you spend supporting Iowa filmmakers stays in Iowa. It also continues a tradition of supporting the arts and culture in our state and local community. 

Des Moines has the talented people and tools to become a content provider to the world. We have the chance to build a new sustainable industry and showcase our city  as one of the best in the world.


Sam Tuomi is the 48 Hour Film Project Des Moines event producer and manager of Put It On Video. Follow: @48HFPDesMoines 

09 2 / 2012

Des Moines is a great place to live; it’s not so big that you get lost in the shuffle and it’s not so small you know everyone mentioned in the Des Moines Register. This presents an ideal setting in which to serve and make a noticed impact on our community. And by focusing on an area you’re passionate about, you’ll find rewards to be great than expected. You’ll also find that when we get involved, relationships will quickly be built and neighborhoods strengthened. 

As the co-founder of a young non-profit organization, I learned quickly that there are a lot of people doing good around here. If you have a passion about something…anything, you can find a non-profit, a small group of people or network you can link up with. And, if you can’t find an opportunity you are interested in, you can start your own. 

Serving isn’t just about doing something good so you can check it off your list. It’s about lending your resources and talent to the very community in which you live, work and play. Service is a great way to form relationships and gather up community pride.

Make serving contagious - a way of life. When you see or hear of good around us, celebrate it. This year, encourage yourself to take the leap and get involved in something to better society right here in Des Moines. We will all thank you for it!

The next move is yours.


Nick Mahlstadt is co-founder of The Move Project, created to do social good in Des Moines and beyond.  Follow @Nickmahlstadt and @themoveproject 

31 1 / 2012

It’s easy to fall into the daily routine of life. We often find ourselves going to the same places, with the same people, and attending events produced by the same organizations. Familiarity is comfortable. And, let’s face it, your warm couch feels very cozy on a winter night too! 

When we get in these ruts, Des Moines can start to seem like a small town with nothing new to explore. This simply isn’t true. In any city, you have to make an effort to find things to do. 

I encourage all of you to, at least once a month, do something in Des Moines you’ve never done before. Get out of your comfort zone. Try a unique activity, volunteer for a new non-profit, go to an event that you’d normally skip… the biggest thing is to do something that’s a new experience.

I’m one of those overly organized types, so I love making lists. If you are having trouble coming up with new things to do, spend an afternoon brainstorming ideas and write them down. Then you’ll always have a bunch of options right at your fingertips. 

Here are some resources I use to find things to do in Des Moines.
Lists of Things to See and Do in Des Moines 
Weekly Planner E-Newsletter
Des Moines Metromix
Travel Iowa
Volunteer Opportunities 

So, get out there! Explore Des Moines in a new way and break your routine. Not only will you be more fulfilled, you’ll also be supporting all the fantastic organizations and businesses that provide “Des Moinesians” culture, entertainment, and fun.


Jill Haverkamp is an Owner and Music & Entertainment Marketer for On Pitch, a music, entertainment and lifestyle marketing company. Follow: @jillh