Gustav Art

Slated to become the largest nonprofit art studio building in the nation, Mainframe Studios is providing permanent affordable workspace for artists of all disciplines in downtown Des Moines.

We are transforming Central Iowa’s art scene by creating a financially self-sustaining economic and cultural driver, serving as a new model for affordable artist workspace that will stand the test of time. Mainframe Studios purchased a 160,000 square foot former CenturyLink facility to repurpose as a hub for creative culture featuring 180 artist studios, arts-related nonprofit offices, commercial kitchen and event rental space.


  • “The Big Room” – a 4650 square foot modern event rental venue
  • Tangerine Food Company is renting our commercial kitchen as exclusive caterer
  • Over 17,000 intro video views
  • Public open studio events with nearly 15,000 combined total attendees
  • 100+ person waitlist and growing
  • Two more floors remaining to build out

We could not have come this far without our truly phenomenal contributors. It is pleasure to develop a unique project that fosters the rich talent of our artists and honors the generosity of our community. It has been said Mainframe Studios is exceeding expectations. Let’s not stop.

Two Floors & $5 Million More // Why Give

A simple “artists priced out” Google search results in a growing list of headlines from across our nation explaining how artists are forced to move out of neighborhoods because their studios have suddenly become more valuable as apartments, hotels and restaurants.

Mainframe Studios is changing this storyline by creating a new nonprofit model for artist studio buildings. Our financially self-sustaining business model empowers Central Iowa to harness the impact creative professions have on attracting a skilled workforce, contributing to a vibrant economy, sparking innovation, engaging tourists and cultivating social wellbeing.

One and done – Our self-sustaining business eliminates the need for annual fundraising. Initial fundraising is essential for establishing our vision by supporting building acquisition and renovation costs. Then, our below-market rents are priced to cover operating expenses and a reserve fund, with remaining rental income contributing to an endowment. A recent lead gift of $1M from Lauridsen Family Endowment is helping ensure that artists have a place in the heart of our community for generations to come.

We are working diligently to demonstrate the vision of Mainframe Studios and accomplishing Phase 1 renovations made an impact. Now, help us finish the job and unleash the full potential of this new community asset. Contributions at any level make a difference.

Download our pledge form here or contribute online through the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines.

Thank you!