The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs today (Thursday, Jan. 6) announced its latest investments in building culturally vibrant communities and opened a new opportunity for cities and regions seeking to be designated as an Iowa Great Place.
The department awarded a total of $250,000 in Strengthening Communities grants, which will benefit seven rural Iowa communities: Clinton (which received $65,000), Hampton, Keokuk, Lake City, Maquoketa, Red Oak and Stanton.
Strengthening Communities grants support facility renovation and construction projects that promote youth development, healthy living and social responsibility in communities with fewer than 28,000 residents, according to a state release. The grants are made possible by an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature through the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund.
In addition to awarding the new grants, the department is encouraging Iowa communities to apply to be designated as a new or continuing Iowa Great Place.
Through the Iowa Great Places program, the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs recognizes communities that have developed bold visions around developing their creative and cultural assets and formed the plans, partnerships and projects to make those visions a reality. Once designated as an Iowa Great Place, communities may apply for competitive grant funding, participate in professional development opportunities, and receive technical assistance from the department along with additional funding consideration from other state agencies.
The application round is now open and applications for new designations will be accepted until May 2.
“We’re proud to invest in the people and projects that build and sustain creative places,” Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Director Chris Kramer said in the release. “Iowa’s rural counties, in particular, benefit from strategic programs that can help guide their growth and support their development, while creating more culturally vibrant places to live, work and raise families.”
The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs maintains a portfolio of programs dedicated to placing arts, culture, history, film and historic preservation at the center of community revitalization efforts – an approach sometimes described as “creative placemaking.”
Along with the Strengthening Communities and Iowa Great Places grant programs – both administered by the Iowa Arts Council – the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs manages the Iowa Cultural and Entertainment Districts program; awards tax credits to support the development of historic properties through the State Historic Preservation Office; awards grants and provides technical assistance through the State Historical Society of Iowa; and supports film and media projects that showcase Iowa’s creative places through Produce Iowa, the State Office of Media Production.
More information about the creative placemaking grants and community designation programs can be found at iowaculture.gov.
The seven FY2022 recipients of the Strengthening Communities Grants announced today include the YWCA in Clinton, with a $65,000 grant. This project involves the reconfiguration of childcare spaces and youth classrooms to address ever-changing needs, expand capacity and improve efficiency – all to help the YWCA fulfill its responsibility to increase childcare accessibility and provide a safe environment for children.
For more on the Clinton YWCA, click HERE.