Iowa Creative Incubator Announces Pilot Program Fellows

Iowa Creative Incubator Announces Pilot Program Fellows Mainframe Studios | 11/02/2020

The new Mainframe Studios initiative guides new connections between artists and businesses to build a more dynamic and equitable creative economy.

November 2, 2020 (Des Moines, IA)  –  Mainframe Studios has launched a new pilot program called Iowa Creative Incubator with a mission to forge new pathways between artists and businesses to build more collaborative, more vibrant, and more connected communities. The initiative includes a personalized 4-month fellowship program that helps artists navigate the process of broadening their career possibilities by partnering with organizations and industries on projects that prioritize social engagement. 

As the largest nonprofit creative workspace in the nation, Mainframe Studios sees the potential artists have in impacting Central Iowa’s economic resilience and inclusion. The organization designed the incubator with consultant and composer Beau Kenyon to build confidence in artists to pursue larger projects, encourage businesses to engage with creative professionals to achieve company objectives, and unify the community by fostering partnerships that build a more equitable future.

“Art is a powerful connector and it is in everyone’s best interest to make space for artists to thrive,” Mainframe’s executive director Siobhan Spain explains.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion play a key role in the incubator mission and jury selection process.

The 2020 Iowa Creative Incubator Fellows are:

  • Cameron Gray  –  A recent graduate of Iowa State University where he earned a Masters of Fine Art. Cameron combines his distinctive art practice with inclusive interactions, services and dialogues to impact meaningful community connections. He is seeking to advance his career that uses art to lift up marginalized members of society. | @cam_gogh |
  • Chrissy Jensen  –  Owner of Domestica, an independent artist-design shop that has supported the launch of numerous small creative businesses. Chrissy is developing a community print shop that uses the re-emerging Risograph machine method to connect civic initiatives and workforce development. | |
  • DeAn Michael Kelly  –  Describes himself as a “creative activist seeking truth, justice, peace and harmony.” DeAn is looking to further his work with Beyond Walls, his self-improvement organization that uses Hip Hop, nature and body alignment to make positive changes in the community. | |
  • Amenda Tate  –  An established local artist recognized for employing technology to produce community-driven kinetic paintings using her “Manibus” machine. Amenda is exploring ways to amplify her performances that prioritize accessibility, participation and the act of witnessing to bridge societal divides, break down barriers and build empathy. | |
  • Jill Wells  –  Jill’s paintings depict dynamic and colorful narratives informed by her work as an alcohol and drug counselor. Jill’s project goals include working with Orchard Place and Polk County Juvenile Detention Center, aligning her creative process and counseling experience to address issues such as incarceration rates, mental health and substance abuse. | |

With support from Iowa Arts Council, Mainframe Studios offers participating fellows co-working space, up to 30 hours of customized professional development with consultant and composer Beau Kenyon, access to a team of advisors, and assistance in developing partnerships with businesses and organizations. 

The pilot program is in the process of applying for grants and sponsorships to support artist stipends that cover their time and project development resources. The program is also developing a best practices guide for businesses looking to increase their engagement in the arts. Organizations curious about the Iowa Creative Incubator are encouraged to contact Mainframe Studios to learn more about how to get involved. 

About Mainframe Studios

Mainframe Studios is a new nonprofit model for providing permanent affordable workspace to artists of all disciplines. The organization is transforming Central Iowa’s art scene by creating a financially self-sustaining economic and cultural driver that stands the test of time. Opened in 2017 with 75 non-residential units, event space and commercial kitchen, Mainframe Studios is the largest nonprofit studio building in the nation. Its 160,000 square foot facility is currently under construction to finish renovations to add another 100 units. The wait list for space has surpassed 125 artists. Mainframe Studios is an arts organization that fully supports anti-racist activism. They vow to purposefully identify, discuss, and challenge issues of race and the impact(s) they have on the organization, its systems, and the artists who work there. Learn more at

 About Beau Kenyon

Beau Kenyon is a composer and consultant who is based in Des Moines, IA and works throughout the country. His nationally exhibited music typically operates in the public sphere and is rooted in principles of collaboration and empathy. Kenyon has worked in national and International residencies and has installed work at notable arts institutions, such as the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and SITE Santa Fe. His 2019 work, “River Constellation” a multimedia sculpture in Des Moines Water Works Park, was created with Brooklyn-based sculptor and long-time collaborator, Natalia Zubko. 

Kenyon’s consulting practice intersects with arts organizations and educational institutions, leading strategic initiatives for private and public entities throughout the country. His curiosity-led process leverages creativity and collaboration to produce plans, such as system-wide strategies for Social Emotional Learning in public libraries, integrated curriculum development for elementary-aged students, and professional development for artists. Kenyon is currently on faculty at Northeastern University College of Arts, Media + Design, where he teaches graduate level courses in arts advocacy, audience engagement, and strategic planning.