$1 million in Iowa COVID-19 relief will be used for new arts and culture marketing grants

Local News

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs has launched a new $1-million “Re-Imagine” marketing campaign.

Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs have launched a new effort focused on promoting the safe reopening of arts and cultural organizations and remarketing of creative and cultural experiences for Iowans. 

“The return of arts and cultural events, festivals and daily museum visits is lifting our spirits and the livelihoods of our creative workforce, along with the broader tourism, leisure and hospitality industry that depends on our arts and cultural attractions,” Gov. Reynolds said in a recent release.  

She has designated $1 million of federal Coronavirus Relief Funds — awarded to the State of Iowa through the CARES Act — to the department, consistent with the Office of the Governor’s authority to provide economic relief to small businesses impacted by the public health emergency. 

The new Iowa Arts & Culture Marketing Grant program will help the sector publicize activities and steps taken to ensure a safe experience, as the arts and culture industry returns to full capacity, and may include many types of marketing expenses tied to reopening.

“Marketing grants will help arts and cultural organizations promote reopening and ramping up of hours and operations while these organizations are rebounding from COVID-19 related closures, reduced business operations and hours,” Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Director Chris Kramer said.

Chris Kramer is director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

Iowa Arts & Culture Marketing Grant awards will range from $1,500 to $20,000 and can support organizations looking to increase their visibility, welcome back visitors, and attract new audiences through creative marketing and advertising strategies put in place by Dec. 31. The deadline to apply is October 11 and applicants will be notified of funding decisions by Oct. 22.

Applicants can apply for funds to support eligible marketing expenses incurred and expended within the funding period between May 1, 2021 and Dec. 31, 2021. For more information, visit iowaculture.gov/grants.

This statewide awareness-building effort focuses on re-engaging audiences and reconnecting through in-person arts and cultural experiences as Iowa’s arts and cultural season kicks into high gear this fall with the return of major festivals, live performances and exhibitions and coincides with National Arts and Humanities Month in October.

Additionally, Iowa arts and cultural organizations – including performing arts venues, museums, film and cultural festivals, historical sites and others – are participating in a statewide campaign by sharing promotional materials through print, digital and social media.

An example of a new state-funded ad for Madison County, Iowa.

The theme – “Re-imagine, Re-engage, Re-connect” – was informed by discussions with Iowa arts and culture leaders and seeks to highlight how arts, history, film and creativity can benefit personal well-being and strengthen Iowa communities during this unique time.

“The absence of live performances, festivals and community events last year reminded people just how much arts and cultural experiences matter,” Kramer said. “They give meaning and joy to our lives, connect us to friends and family, and help rebuild community.”

In a typical year, Iowa’s creative sector contributes $4.2 billion to the state’s economy, employing more than 43,000 creative workers across more than 5,000 businesses statewide. But in 2020, the arts and culture sector was hit hard and lost many jobs, stemming from event cancellations and closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the same time, a record number of people engaged in virtual programs, online classes and outdoor performances during the pandemic. In-person attendance at Iowa arts and cultural venues, festivals and concerts has returned this summer, according to the state.

For more information about the campaign, visit iowaculture.gov/reimagine.

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