FACES of Ames displays community diversity

The Genre Music Club, made up of Ames Residents and ISU students, performs on Saturday, Sept. 21, during FACES at the Bandshell Park in Ames.

Kelsey Roehrich

Ames celebrated diversity in the community at this year’s FACES of Ames celebration on Saturday, Sept. 22, in Bandshell Park.

FACES of Ames is a yearly event open to the whole community, which has been put on for about eight years.

Entertainment, food and nearly 50 tables were set up to demonstrate different clubs and organizations.

Some of the organizations represented were the League of Women Voters; Parents and Families of Lesbians and Gays; the Volunteer Center of Story County; Youth and Shelter Services, Inc.; Iowa 4-H and others.

Not only was diversity in people represented but also in animals. The ISU Pre-Vet Club as well as Paws Playhouse of Ames showcased booths at the event.

“The main message of FACES is to respect the dignity and worth of every person,” said Terry Lowman, who was representing LGBT and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ames.

Lowman said there is a lot of diversity in Ames, such as Indian, Chinese and LBGT, among others. 

Volunteer organizations were represented at FACES and showcased the importance of volunteering in the Ames community, Lowman said.

“The purpose is to show that this is a welcoming community and we celebrate our diversity,” Lowman said.

There were many ISU student groups who performed at the event, such as the Black Student Alliance, the Thai Student Association, Cyclone Swing Society, African Student Association, Cyclone Ballroom, GENRE, Orchesis I and more.

Lois Smidt, entertainment coordinator and emcee for FACES, said: “I truly believe getting to know each other across our differences is not only healing for individuals, but it makes a more peaceful Earth.”

The arts is a safe way to do this, Smidt said. You can easily express human emotions and tell a story through dance and song; they are powerful. 

Smidt said the arts are a very powerful thing, and she believes they could be what help change our world and diminish the border between different cultures.

“Working with the students was wonderful [and] such a good experience,” Smidt said. “I love that FACES was a venue to connect students to the broader Ames community.” 

“Not many students even know about Bandshell park,” she said. “It does not happen very often in Ames where students get the chance to really get to know the community that they are now a part of.”

Student organizations performed on stage alongside others not associated with Iowa State. 

Some of these other performers included storyteller Joyce Matters, Bollywood dancer Sunny Kaul, Mirage Middle Eastern Dance troupe, Co’Motion Dance Theater, India Cultural Association and others.

“There is so much representation here,” Smidt said.  

FACES brings so many different kinds of people together, Smidt said, whether it be by shades of skin, age, level of education, income, political viewpoints, disabilities or sexuality.

“I do think it’s changing Ames.”