Words and Music at the Carnegie

Des Moines Metro Opera has grown and flourished over the past four decades, expanding its performances, creating statewide educational opportunities for thousands of students and reaching out to underserved populations that otherwise would have no possibility of experiencing an opera.

For the past 30 years the Carnegie Library has served as the administrative home to Des Moines Metro Opera. The time has come, however, to address pressing and significant building needs and to transform the library into a functional, accessible OPERA CENTER to support the program, education and outreach components of DMMO.

To achieve this vision for the future, DMMO is embarking on a $3.5 million Capital Campaign which will:

Create new space for educational outreach and community engagement

  • 400 additional square feet (1,200 square feet total) to enhance year-round educational programming and off-season rehearsals, expand DMMO’s statewide reach and allow overall growth of the organization.
  • New 2-level, 1,800 square foot atrium to foster engagement with a variety of audiences—educational offerings, outreach activities and community meetings, none of which is currently possible.

Improve accessibility, functionality and safety to meet current standards

  • ADA-compliant environment so that persons of all ages and capabilities can easily access the building and participate in DMMO activities
  • Efficiencies to improve work flow and productivity
  • Upgraded heating, cooling, energy efficiency, electrical systems and plumbing

Preserve the historical stature of the building within the community

  • A 110-year-old community icon whose historical significance is maintained and sustained for generations to come

“With the planned expansion, Des Moines Metro Opera will be able to increase its service to the community and educational programming while improving its capacity to produce opera of the highest quality for today’s most talented rising artists. The Company is fortunate to have leaders willing to strengthen its infrastructure for the benefit of future generations.” – Marc A. Scorca, President/CEO, Opera America

“To have a first class opera, we must invest in its infrastructure, not just on stage but off-stage as well. The DMMO offices and building have not been updated in more than 40 years. Improvements to work flow, ingress/egress and handicap accessibility must be brought up to date. We need practice rooms and a gathering place for in-house functions, and teh new atrium will help restore some of the grandeur of the building. While it might be cheaper to demolish the building and create a new one, we want to preserve the Carnegie Library for its beauty and timeless architecture.” – Sara Hill, Charlotte and Fred Hubbell, Honorary Chairs