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Youth Homelessness Art Project


A collaborative sculpture made by artist Kub Stevens and youth who’ve experienced homelessness seeks to inform Greater Des Moines that young people have the ability to dream of better futures for themselves, but only if they have a safe place to dream. The Dream Cube, an eight-foot cube built with pillows, features an illustrated story highlighting three aspects of the experience of youth homelessness in addition to steps we all can take to ensure children and young people find the comfort and safety to dream.

The Dream Cube was successfully displayed throughout the Des Moines community in late October 2020, but the mission of the project lives on. 


The cube features a story, illustrated by graphic artist Taylor Carlson, highlighting three aspects of the experience of youth homelessness. Through the development of the project, young people were given a platform to not just be seen, but to be heard. The cube engages individuals in how they can lead changes to address the complex challenges homeless youth experience.

“If our youth don’t have a safe home to dream at night, we are failing them as a community,” said Suzanne Mineck, president of Mid-Iowa Health Foundation. “Central Iowa is at a tipping point in addressing this issue as youth and many organizations have come together to plan for how we can change our systems to better meet youths’ needs. This project is about having our youth tell us what they need to thrive.”


A soft pillow represents the need for our young people to dream. As a community, we must:   

  • ADVOCATE: Listen to young people and talk with leaders about what they need to thrive.
  • DONATE: Support agencies that elevate the voices of young people and work with them to meet their needs.
  • CREATE: Join efforts to increase access to jobs, safe housing, and mentoring opportunities for young people.

Together we can end youth homelessness. View our ongoing work here for more information. 


Ames-based artist Kub Stevens has led the project with the Polk County Youth Action Council. Comic artist Taylor Carlson has also contributed to the project. Bravo Greater Des Moines and Mid-Iowa Health Foundation partnered with Group Creative Services to bring this project to life to demonstrate how art can align with regional priorities to drive change. Several organizations have supported the direction of this work, including Polk County Continuum of Care and Iowa Homeless Youth Centers. Supporting investors for this project are the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, Iowa Arts Council, and Capital Crossroads.


Persons with hearing or speech impairments may obtain copies of these materials via TTY by calling 1-800-735-2942. Persons who do not speak English as their primary language and who have limited ability to speak, write or understand English may obtain copies of theses materials by calling Angie Arthur at (515) 282-3233 or emailing her at