dining for the arts


Dining for the Arts is a unique gourmet dining experience that celebrates the fusion of fine food, fashion, live entertainment, and the power of Art Within Everything. Supporting the arts never tasted better!



The fourth annual Dining for the Arts will take place on Saturday, April 16th, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm at the FFA Enrichment Center on the DMACC Ankeny campus.  The winners of the Art Within Everything (AWE) Awards will be recognized; a fashion show featuring the designs of local student talent; a dinner that is elevated to an art form; and a silent auction that is sure to delight.  Join Metro Arts Alliance in making the arts accessible to all!



AWE (Art Within Everything) Awards

2016 Artist AWE Award

Dr. Janet Hart Heinicke

The 2016 AWE Artist Award is given to an artist who exemplifies excellence in his or her field and has made a difference in the community through their work. This year’s winner is Dr. Janet Hart Heinicke of Indianola, IA, who has been an artist and educator all of her life. Her artwork has been on display world-wide, and her teaching and administrating skills direct others to their full potential as artists and to become positive contributors to society.


Dr. Heinicke has been an artist and educator all of her life.  Her artwork has been on display world-wide, and her teaching skills direct others to their full potential as artists and to become positive contributors to society. Those who know Dr. Heinicke describe her as an individual who has taught by example how to appreciate the value of every form of artistic expression.

Heinicke holds a Doctor of Education and Master of Science in Art Education from the University of Wisconsin and a Master of Fine Arts from Northern Illinois University. She exhibits her work internationally and has been a visiting artist in Vietnam, China, Tanzania, Malaysia, Philippines, Russia and Africa.

Dr. Heinicke was head of the Art Department at Simpson College from 1982 until 2001 and continued as adjunct faculty through 2003. She is credited with starting a program at Simpson called Chrysalis.  Chrysalis brought high school students to the campus for workshops and interaction with college art students.

She is currently the Fine Art Superintendent for the Iowa State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition. In addition, she is a faculty member and instructor at the Des Moines Art Center’s Education Program.

2016 Champion AWE Award

Dr. Bruce Hughes

The 2016 Champion Award is given to an individual or entity providing financial support to advance artistic excellence for artist(s) or art project(s). This year’s award goes to Dr. Bruce Hughes, a noted neurologist who also recognizes the effects that the arts can have on the brain. He has given his time in leadership roles and financial giving to the Des Moines Art Center and the Des Moines Metro Opera, and his life-long love of Shakespeare led him to found the Iowa Shakespeare Experience.


Dr. Hughes has been the Director of the Ruan Multiple Sclerosis Center at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines for the past 20 years. With over 2,000 MS patients the Ruan Multiple Sclerosis Center is the largest comprehensive MS center in Iowa.

Dr. Hughes is actively involved in MS research having published papers and participated in numerous clinical trials for relapsing remitting and primary progressive multiple sclerosis.  He serves as the Chairman of the Clinical Advisory committee and is a board member for the Upper Midwest Chapter of the NMSS.  He is the recipient of the Lifetime MS Champion Award and has been inducted in the Health Professionals Volunteer Hall of Fame of the NMSS. Dr. Hughes is passionate about raising awareness of MS and philanthropy, and is dedicated to the education of multiple sclerosis giving lectures to patients, medical students, residents and practicing neurologists.

Dr. Hughes is a noted neurologist who also recognizes the effects that the arts can have on the brain. In his own words, “The positive effects of the arts go beyond the brain. The arts in general are really pivotal in nurturing the human soul.” He has given his time and financial support to the Des Moines Metro Opera and the Iowa Shakespeare Experience.

Dr. Hughes has not only supported arts programs, but has actively assisted in guiding new major artistic initiatives on the local level. He was an initial founder of the Iowa Shakespeare Experience. This summer festival, founded in 2008, provides a unique opportunity for our community to experience Shakespeare. Coordinating with Iowa’s First Lady, Chris Branstad, last year the festival was moved to the Great Lawn of Terrace Hill.

Dr. Hughes currently serves on the boards of both the Iowa Shakespeare Experience and the Des Moines Art Center, and is a past President of the Des Moines Metro Opera.

2016 Infusion AWE Award

Turnaround Arts: Des Moines Public Schools

The 2016 AWE Infusion Award is given to a successful individual or entity outside of the arts sector that infuses a creative and innovative approach to their lifestyle or business. This year’s winner is Turnaround Arts: Des Moines Public Schools. Their infusion of the arts into all curricular areas is revolutionary in its goal to promote student growth and engagement as well as parent involvement. Their partnerships and work to integrate the arts into core courses has made DMPS a national model for arts education.


Turnaround Arts has infused the arts into all curricular areas and is revolutionary in its goal to promote student growth and engagement as well as parent involvement. Their partnerships and work to integrate the arts into core courses has made the Des Moines Public Schools and national model for arts education.

Currently the Turnaround Arts program is infusing the arts into classrooms at five schools on the North Side of Des Moines. Because of this program, student test scores, participation in arts events, and community involvement in the schools have all increased. Additionally, the program has created a community synergy resulting in an increase of parents attending conferences, back to school nights and arts events.

2016 Spark AWE Award

Alessandra Leo

This year, Metro Arts has added a fourth award – the Spark Award. It is given to a rising star whose prodigious aptitude and distinguished body of work belie his or her recent entry to the pursuit of an artistic field. The inaugural winner of the 2016 Spark Award is Alessandra Leo. A sophomore at the University of Iowa, she not only draws, paints, and writes poetry, she is dedicated to all forms of art and pushes others to find their true identities and be themselves. She recently has had her artwork displayed in Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi, a Venice, Italy, art gallery.


Alessandra is a sophomore at the University of Iowa.  As an artist she works in multiple mediums including drawing, painting and writing poetry. Recently her artwork was displayed in Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi, an art gallery in Venice.  Her goal in life is to communicate her thoughts of the world through art. She is dedicated to all forms of art and pushes others to find their true identities through art. Those who know Alessandra describe her as a “thoughtful and perceptive young person, serious about her studies but with a kind and open personality that makes her a natural collaborator.”

Alessandra says “her art is made for others, for people to know they are not alone”.




2015 Winners

2015 Artist AWE Award

The Artist award goes to an artist who exemplifies excellence in his/her field and has made a difference in the community through their work.  This year’s winner is Stewart Buck of Ankeny for his influence on art students and for instilling a legacy of art appreciation and engagement in the city of Bondurant, where he worked as a high school art teacher for many years.

“I am thrilled to received such a prestigious honor! That was so kind of Chris Vance to nominate me.”

Stewart Buck

2015 Champion AWE Award

The Champion award is given to an individual or entity providing financial support to advance artistic excellence for artist(s) or art project(s).  This year’s award goes to Chad Cox, General Manager of Hillyard Des Moines.  As board chair for the Des Moines Social Club for the last two years, he saw the successful transition of the former Des Moines firehouse into a venue for the arts at the Des Moines Social Club.

“I am humbled and honored to accept the 2015 AWE Champion Award. It is all the more special coming from Metro Arts Alliance, an organization I have worked with for several years, and I look forward to engaging in the process leading up to the dinner in April.”

Chad Cox

2015 Infusion AWE Award

The Infusion award is given to an individual or entity outside of the arts sector that infuses a creative and innovative approach to their lifestyle or business. The inaugural winner of this award is Business Publications Corporation, Inc.  Led by Connie Wimer and Janette Larkin, the staff at BPC has created the template to recognize and honor the arts, music, and culinary venues.  Their products – weekly, monthly, and specialty items – are sought by the entire population.

“Each and every person at Business Publications is honored and grateful for this recognition from an organization we respect so much. We all take great pride in producing publications and events that are truly reflective of the amazing creativity and beauty and art that is Des Moines and Iowa – and the people who live here.”

Connie Wimer


2016 event photos

Metro Arts Board members and staff
Our wonderful Drake University interns!
The Boesen the Florist crew
BEAUTIFUL floral by Boesen the Florist!
Dr. Janet Hart Heinicke - AWE Artist Award winner
Sarah Dougherty accepting on behalf of Turnaround Arts: DMPS - AWE Infusion Award winner
Alessandra Leo - AWE Spark Award winner
Rick Ballinger, Board President of Metro Arts Alliance
Tom McBride and Kim Poam Logan
Fashion Show by DMPS Central Campus Fashion students.  Models by The Peak Agency
Fashion Show by DMPS Central Campus Fashion students. Models by The Peak Agency
Fashion Show by DMPS Central Campus Fashion students. Models by The Peak Agency
Fashion Show by DMPS Central Campus Fashion students. Models by The Peak Agency
Fashion Show by DMPS Central Campus Fashion students. Models by The Peak Agency

get in touch with us

Metro Arts Alliance of Greater Des Moines
3209 Ingersoll Ave. Suite 208, Des Moines, IA 50312
info@MetroArts.org
515.280.3222

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