Engage the Midwest in world-class entertainment, education, and cultural activities.


Be a national leader in the presentation of performing arts by engaging our community through world-class arts, entertainment, education, and cultural activities.


At Des Moines Performing Arts, we use the arts to hold up a mirror to the human experience. We strive to uplift diverse stories, people, and the communities they create. We want our guests, artists, and colleagues to feel safe bringing their full, authentic selves and individual perspectives to this exchange.  


The Des Moines Civic Center is a testament to the power of a dream and determination.  In the 1970s following the closing of Des Moines’ KRNT Theater, a local bond option to build and fund a performing arts hall was proposed and narrowly defeated.  Undeterred, a group of area business leaders joined forces and raised over $9 million in less than 90 days for the cause. 

The rest is history and in June of 1979 the Des Moines Civic Center hosted its first performance.  Along with the black box Stoner Theater and Nollen Plaza (now Cowles Commons) the Des Moines Civic Center became a downtown destination. 

In 2002 the Temple Theater became the 4th venue operated by the organization and in 2013 the organization rebranded itself as Des Moines Performing Arts (DMPA).

Today DMPA continues to serve as one of Iowa’s premier non-profit arts organizations. It is a major economic driver with the Willis Broadway Series alone delivering an estimated $30 million in economic impact annually.  The organization emphasizes performing arts education through a number of initiatives including the Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards and the Applause Series. In 2017 DMPA welcomed its 10 millionth guest and 2018 will bring the organization’s 40th anniversary season. 


Issues of CUE




CUE 2019

CUE 2018

CUE 2017

Des Moines Performing Arts Partnerships: