DES MOINES, Iowa – The Civic Center of Greater Des Moines today announced that after 34 years, the organization and its affiliated venues—the Stoner Theater, Temple Theater and Nollen Plaza—will all operate under a new organizational banner: Des Moines Performing Arts.
The name change affects the group’s non-profit 501(c)(3) governing body, which serves as the umbrella organization for the Civic Center and its three related venues. The name of the Civic Center building itself will remain the same—as will the existing staff, management team and Board of Directors.
“The new image is really a reflection of this organization’s tremendous growth over the years,” said Jeff Chelesvig, president and CEO of Des Moines Performing Arts. “We have been blessed with an incredibly supportive community, which has helped us evolve from a successful local venue to a national leader in the performing arts. We felt it was time to develop a new name and identity that better reflected our position on the national stage.”
Along with the new name comes a new visual brand identity, developed by Des Moines advertising agency ZLR Ignition. Both the new name and brand identity grew from a careful and deliberate two-year research process, including focus groups with community members, Civic Center supporters, national leaders in arts and culture and local business leaders.
The organization has changed significantly from its inception in 1979. The Civic Center of Greater Des Moines was started by a small group of business leaders with the goal of bringing outstanding live, professional performing arts and arts education to central Iowa. It soon became a catalyst for Des Moines’ downtown renaissance, as well as a headliner in Central Iowa’s cultural progression.
Over time, the organization greatly broadened itself in terms of the diversity of programming, additional performance venues and an expanded education program, and it has since grown into a social and cultural hub for the city, state and region. Starting with only the Broadway Series, the organization now offers seven distinctly different series, including The Dance Series, the Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield Family Series, Applause! Education Series and three series under the Prairie Meadows Temple Theater banner: Live at the Temple concert series, Temple Comedy Series and Lunch Unplugged. It is also the home performance space for The Des Moines Symphony, StageWest and Smart Talk Connected Conversations.
The Willis Broadway Series attracts an average of more than 150,000 patrons each season, generating $9 million in ticket sales during the 2011-12 season. According to a formula developed by the Broadway League, the national trade association for the commercial theater industry, the Willis Broadway Series has an estimated annual economic impact of $31 million in the Des Moines community, benefitting hotels, restaurants, retailers and other businesses.
Des Moines Performing Arts now boasts 12,000 season ticket holders for the popular Willis Broadway Series; average annual attendance of 329,000 over the last 10 years for all programming has led to the Civic Center being frequently ranked as a top 30 best-selling venue in the world by Pollstar Magazine.