QC arts organizations earn grants

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Muscatine Art Center

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs on Wednesday announced it is awarding more than $1.5 million in grants for the return of the state’s arts, culture, history and creative sector by supporting arts and cultural jobs and programming in the humanities.

In total, 236 individuals and organizations – representing 70 communities across 56 Iowa counties – will benefit from $1,527,814 in one-time grant funding, made possible through the agency’s state/federal partnerships with Arts Midwest, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities with federal funds through the American Rescue Plan Act, a news release says.

The department received more than $4.1 million in requests to help support a portion of about 1,600 arts jobs.

The list of grant recipients includes individual artists, cultural centers, museums, local government and community groups, arts organizations, public libraries, historical societies, community theaters, media production organizations and more. 

“It’s encouraging to see the return of the arts and culture sector, part of the broader tourism industry working to rebound after a challenging year,” Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Director Chris Kramer said. “We’re proud to be able to award these grants through our agency’s state/federal partnerships.”

“These recovery grants represent a significant investment in Iowa’s creative workforce,” Iowa Arts Council Administrator David Schmitz said. “In addition to the grants awarded directly to artists, many arts organizations received support to hire or bring back artistic personnel, many of whom lost jobs, gigs and income during the pandemic.” 

The grants coincide with a promotional campaign the department launched to encourage Iowans to “Re-imagine, Re-engage and Reconnect” with local arts and culture. With input from creative leaders across the state, the department developed a campaign toolkit to help Iowa’s arts and cultural organizations market to visitors and promote exhibitions, performances and events now and into the next year.

The department awarded $283,734 in American Rescue Plan Arts grants to 76 individual artists, made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Arts. The department awarded $602,000 in American Rescue Plan Arts grants to 113 arts and cultural organizations, made possible with support from Arts Midwest and the National Endowment for the Arts, including:

  • Davenport: The Azubuike African American Council for the Arts will increase paid hours for its artistic staff and expand its impact by delivering more arts programs to under-represented and at-risk youth and community members.

The department awarded $642,080 in American Rescue Plan Humanities grants to 47 humanities organizations, made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, including:

Muscatine: The Muscatine Art Center will develop its next strategic plan to better understand the local community’s needs and impressions of its programs, which are built around the center’s collection of world-class art and local history, all housed in a historic home.

In a typical year, Iowa’s creative sector generates $4.2 billion for the state’s economy, employing more than 43,000 creative workers across 5,000 arts, cultural and creative businesses statewide. After the pandemic triggered closures, event cancellations and layoffs, the state’s arts, history and cultural sector is still working to recover, the release says.

Funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities follows the federal agency’s decision last year to recognize the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs as the state’s interim Iowa Humanities Council.

The department and its divisions – the State Historical Society of Iowa, the interim Iowa Humanities Council, Iowa Arts Council, and Produce Iowa: State Office of Media Production – administered the grants announced Wednesday.

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