The Ankeny Friends of the Arts started as an arts program for the Ankeny community and the northern Des Moines metro area in 1981.
Throughout the building of this facility we have been able to offer more opportunities for the community and now we average over 8,000 visitors each year. The center has two galleries which exhibit Iowa artists only and present K-12 Art Exhibits for local school districts.
All exhibits are free and open to the public.
In 2002 we were presented with a great opportunity to expand and the Ankeny Art Center was established.
In addition to exhibiting local artists, the Ankeny Art Center also offers classes in pottery, painting, and drawing for both children and adults. On average, 40% of the students in our classes are underprivileged by federal standards and we strive to give these children the opportunity to attend through our reasonable class tuition. In the summer we offer four art camps for children; each of them lasting for one week. Over 350 children attend our summer art camp and they come from a 30 mile radius.
Funding for our operating costs comes from one main fundraiser, Santa’s North Pole Village Craft Sale. This is one of the largest craft fairs in the Midwest. It is held every November and is spread between three local schools and accommodates over 300 craft booths with vendors participating from five Midwestern states. This one-day event attracts more than 6,000 shoppers. The funds raised from the booth applications and admission fees allow the art center to employ our teachers and staff as well as funding the building costs.