Like most residents of Des Moines, I was familiar with the Social Club for a while before I really knew what it was. But the thing was, I didn’t really need to know what it was in order to get it. I could tell from the individuals I saw entering and exiting the building that it was the place to go for the cool kids. But “cool kids” meant something entirely different once inside the doors of the club. It meant the creative, the bartender, the artist, the actress, the inventor… the every man. The Des Moines Social Club was bridging a gap by building a culture in which everyone felt they fit in a place Raygun has so eloquently deemed The Greatest City on Earth.

The Social Club took on an entirely different meaning to me last October. I had sat with Zach a month prior furiously scribbly notes trying to keep up with his usual outpouring of event ideas. When he mentioned wanting to host an exhibit of never before seen artists I stopped scribbling. It took every nerve in my body to lift my head up from my pen and paper to say I wanted to be involved. And I wanted to be one of the artists. For years I’d struggled finding that breakthrough moment when I’d take responsibility for my creative talents and put myself out there.

Out Your Artist was held on a beautiful October day at the Salisbury House last fall. Nearly two hundred attendees passed through the gardens, up the stone staircase and onto the balcony where four of my pieces hung from the walls.


I would be remiss if I didn’t share that I have made more meaningful relationships during this year of my life through the Social Club than I think I may have in other years combined. DMSC has introduced me to the entrepreneurial spirit of Christian Renaud and Chris Draper, visionaries like Zach Mannheimer and Matt McIver, and at LEAST a dozen additional creative members of this community who like I, have been waiting for a place like this to call home.

I have never been more proud to say I live in Des Moines. And never has the lure of needing to move away to a larger city seemed so insignificant. I have the Des Moines Social Club to thank for that. So to the Club, I say thank you. To all of you who have helped make this a reality… thank you. And to those who will continue to: through the support of finding our permanent home in the Firehouse, by contributing your resources or supporting my continued artistic endeavors… thank you.

– DMSC Board Member, Jami Graves