The Simon Estes School of Fine Arts at DMACC


Dr. Simon Estes is a Visiting Professor of Music at DMACC. Because of his impact on students and dedication to the arts, DMACC is creating a new school dedicated to Dr. Estes' principles, talent and worldwide civic and humanitarian contributions.

The new Simon Estes School of Fine Arts was launched August 2019 with two flagship Ankeny Campus programs:

Plans are for other programs to be added as the school continues to take shape.

Simon Estes believes that a Fine Arts education has great value even if the student doesn’t pursue a career in the field. “Fine Arts is a way to explore and grow your creative abilities. It will bring value and focus to all their academic studies,” said Estes.

“Simon’s vision is taking our Fine Arts program to a whole new level. It’s a quantum leap for our program,” said DMACC President Rob Denson. “We’re moving forward with his recommendations and decided it’s only fitting that the new Fine Arts School should be named after him. Our goal is to become a destination institution for students, from throughout the Midwest, who are interested in pursuing a degree or career in Fine Arts. With his help and guidance, we’re sure to make that happen.”

Phase One: Academics

The initial work to create The Simon Estes School of Fine Arts at DMACC will be on the academic side:

  • Adding the classes needed to provide a comprehensive two-year curriculum in Music and Theatre
  • Purchasing new equipment and investing in more resources
  • Creating new articulation agreements with four-year institutions, allowing students to  seamlessly transfer from DMACC after two years

Program Accomplishments

Two DMACC faculty members, James Thompson, Professor of Music and Carl Lindberg, Professor of Drama, have been taking both programs to new, higher levels of achievement.  A few highlights include:

  • The Music program has developed a seamless transfer for Music majors to Grand View University
  • DMACC Choirs have grown to include 50 students
  • Theatre program has worked jointly with Grand View University to produce a new play with joint performances

Denson said the College has even greater aspirations. “Someday I would like to see us build a new DMACC Fine Arts Center to house these wonderful programs and showcase College and community performances,” said Denson.

Meet Our Professors

Carl Lindberg 
Carl Lindberg

DMACC Ankeny Theatre

Carl Lindberg began teaching and producing theatre at the Ankeny campus at the beginning of the Spring semester, 2017. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Acting from CSU Stanislaus and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Directing from Western Illinois University.

He has worked professionally as an actor, director, designer, and technician for theatre companies across the country. Prior to moving to the Des Moines metro area he spent seven years in Chicago working on major regional stages (Lookingglass, Remy Bumppo, many others), on camera (short films, national and regional commercials) and in the classroom (College of DuPage, Chicago Academy for the Arts).

Carl is proud to serve as a board member for Pyramid Theatre Company, a respondent for the Iowa High School Musical Theatre Awards, and an All State critic for the Iowa High School Speech Association.

For information about the Theatre Program, Carl can be reached at


Dr. James Thompson
DMACC Music Department 

James Thompson is a professor and Director of the Music Department at DMACC.  Based at the Ankeny Campus, Dr. Thompson directs the DMACC Concert and Chamber Choirs, teaches applied voice and piano and Music Appreciation. 

Dr. Thompson remains active as a performer of opera, operetta, oratorio, and solo repertoire.  He is also in demand as a clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor for various regional musical events. 

Prior to his appointment at DMACC, Dr. Thompson served as Vocal Music Director at Monticello High School, and most recently at City High School in Iowa City.

Dr. Thompson lives in Ankeny with wife Maria, and children Lindsey and Claire.

Bachelor of Music - Cornell College (2005)
Master of Music - Boston University (2008)
Doctor of Musical Arts - University of Iowa (2013)


 Simon Estes School of Fine Arts