Marshalltown Mixtape by Local Students

Closeup of the MARSHALLTOWN text on Marshalltown's Selfie Mural with a heart replacing the "o"

The Arts + Culture Alliance, in partnership with Marshalltown Community School District, is excited to share Marshalltown’s Mixtape by Marshalltown Learning Academy (MLA) students Addyson Kane (grade 11), Gabriela Martinez (grade 12), and Eva Guzman (grade 12). MLA students sought to create a product that could be used in a variety of ways to support the City of Marshalltown’s Arts & Culture Master Plan. The goal quickly became to create an audio collage of Marshalltown community members explaining why they have chosen and continue to choose, Marshalltown for their families and businesses.

The students created four categories of what they believed to be target demographics within the community: Businesses, young community members, community members raising a family in Marshalltown, and retried community members who continue to make Marshalltown their home. Students learned to use recording equipment and editing software to record and edit the interviews into a cohesive audio piece that they felt best represented why Marshalltown is a superior place to live and work, while also showcasing the bright future they see for the community.

Arts + Culture Alliance Executive Director, Amber Danielson, exclaimed, “we are so incredibly proud of these extremely creative and talented students. This project is the Arts & Culture Master Plan in action. Specifically, two of the placemaking themes, Activate Hope and Elevate Youth. As stated in the Master Plan, young people are the future of our community. When we open doors and give them the tools, resources, and support they need to thrive creatively, there are no boundaries to what they can achieve. That’s the moment when passive participation becomes active engagement and produces the creative entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”

This project was rooted in the work the same group of students were doing with another passion project of theirs: a podcast titled “Somewhere in Iowa”. The students and teacher realized that their rapport and mutual respect had created a space for conversations about school, life, personal interests, and the world at large. Capitalizing on this, and their witty banter, the group decided to create a podcast that builds relationships between the youth and community while offering insight into the lives of Marshalltown’s youth, a focus on mental health, advocacy, Taylor Swift, and humor. Guiding this podcast are three central questions: How can we grow with the community? How can we unite the people of Marshalltown? How can we better the lives of Marshalltown’s youth by improving the community’s understanding of their experiences

MLA’s High School English Language teacher, Katherine Mummert, shared, “while the students have learned a significant amount about recording and editing, they have also learned more meaningful lessons in a truly authentic way. Students have learned interpersonal skills, professionalism, communication, public speaking, and confidence. Their work has helped them create professional relationships and partnerships within their community at a young age, giving them a unique insight into how a community functions behind the scenes, and how, if we all work together, we can create a positive change within our communities.”

To listen to the Marshalltown Mixtape, click the play on the photo below, visit our website or listen on our YouTube page! 


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*The Arts + Culture Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. If you have any questions, please contact us.