Storytelling Project: Northside Community Recreation Center

The City of Des Moines is pleased to announce The Storytelling Project – a dynamic digital initiative in conjunction with the proposed North Side Community Recreation Center. The Storytelling Project aims to capture the culture and spirit of the community through the collection and documentation of voices, stories, artifacts, and history.

The City, in collaboration with Des Moines-based Invictus Media, will generate a series of videos that pair personal interviews with archival images to evoke memories of the North Side Community Recreation Center site. These reflective impressions may span many years – from the original Dowling High School campus, through the “Old Dowling” and Model City Community Centers – to the present-day Grubb YMCA, as well as a look to the future.

The Storytelling Project will officially launch at the public meeting of the North Side Community Recreation Center at 1611 11th Street, Des Moines on Thursday, Feb. 17 at 5:30 p.m.

How can you contribute?

  • Photographs and artifacts: Do you have meaningful photographs or memorabilia that will help tell the story of this place? If so, please bring these items to the Feb. 17 or March 24 planning meeting for the North Side Community Recreation Center, or contact us to arrange collection before April 1. These artifacts will be documented into a digital archive and then safely returned to you.
  • Interviews: Are you interested in sharing your stories? Whether you have a little or a lot to say, your voice is meaningful, and we want to hear from you.

Interviews will be held at the Grubb YMCA, 3rd floor classroom during the following dates and times. No need to register in advance, and you're welcome to drop by anytime during either event. We encourage participants to bring objects, photos, or other memorabilia to incorporate into the project.

  • Thursday, February 24, 4-7 p.m., Grubb YMCA, 3rd floor classroom
  • Saturday, February 26, 10 a.m.-noon, Grubb YMCA, 3rd floor classroom

If you're interested in helping with the project and are unavailable at these times, please reach out to JenniferKathryn King with Invictus Media at (816) 922-0542 or

How will The Storytelling Project videos be used?

The goal of the project is to document the rich and diverse experiences of community members through their own voices, so that these perspectives may be embedded in the project throughout future phases. During the design and construction phases, The Storytelling Project may be used as part of the design process, to integrate the voices of the community into the physical elements of the facility itself.

During subsequent operations and programming, The Storytelling Project may be used within the facility to serve as reminder and inspiration for future generations of users. During the fundraising phase, The Storytelling Project may be used to illustrate the significance and value of the project.

If you are interested in contributing to The Storytelling Project but unable to attend the Feb. 17 public meeting, please contact JenniferKathryn King with Invictus Media at (816) 922-0542 or