PRESS RELEASE | Mainframe Studios’ First Friday Celebrates Center Street’s History

PRESS RELEASE | Mainframe Studios’ First Friday Celebrates Center Street’s History Mainframe Studios | 01/27/2023

Des Moines, IA (January 2023) – On Friday, February 3, 2023, 5 – 9 pm, Mainframe Studios, located at 900 Keo Way in Des Moines, will celebrate First Friday—a monthly open studio event where visitors can explore some of its 180 affordable workspaces, meet local creatives and enjoy special exhibitions, music, refreshments, hands-on activities and more.
Additionally, in honor of Black History Month, Mainframe will be celebrating the history of Center Street. Once a hub for Black culture and commerce, Center Street’s legacy in downtown Des Moines was cut short by the construction of I-235. The displacement of Black neighborhoods was common practice across the U.S. when planning new highways in the 1960s. The event is FREE and open to the public.

Mainframe will present an exciting line up of exhibits, performances and appearances by talented Black creatives including Ballet Des Moines showcasing a community-driven installation with artist/poet Akwi Nji; a performance by comedian Bernard Bell; debut of new work by contemporary artist and ISU Alum Cameron Gray; and an Iowa Wolves unveiling of a new jersey by artist Jill Wells. Author Abena Imhotep is the evening’s emcee. Ruby B’s Kitchen will serve their favorite wing recipes, and the evening will close with a musical set by Des Moines native, singer/songwriter Sharane Calister.

“We thought what better way to honor the area’s history than sharing the breadth of talent working today to make our city special every day,” said Mainframe’s Executive Director Siobhan Spain. “Our hope is that this event raises awareness of Center Street’s past and sparks dialogue about its future.”

For an updated list of events, visit

Mainframe Studios

Mainframe Studios is a financially self-sustaining 501(c)3 nonprofit providing affordable workspaces to advance equity and opportunities in the arts. We are the largest nonprofit art studio building in the nation with 180 non-residential workspaces and we have the largest concentration of small businesses in Iowa. Our themed First Friday open studio events attract over 1,000 visitors each month. At Mainframe, we envision a dynamic arts ecosystem in Iowa that elevates artists and cultivates leading-edge creative production.

Learn more at or follow us @mainframearts on social media.

SAVE THE DATE | February 24, 2023

  • Sepia Club Revival at Mainframe Studios featuring artist talk at 5PM with Cameron Gray and peformances by MFKS and Billy Weathers starting at 7PM.