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Iowa arts groups to receive $ 1.3 million in relief funds

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As many arts groups continue to face economic hardship due to COVID-19, the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs will provide more than $ 1 million in grants and relief funds.

Katina Zentz

Fans cheer as the Marcus King Band performs at the Englert Theater on Thursday, November 21, 2019. King is a fourth generation musician and travels with his band on their “El Dorado” tour.


As arts and in-person entertainment events return to normal in the state of Iowa, various arts and culture organizations continue to face economic challenges due to COVID-19. In response, the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs will allocate $ 1.3 million in relief funds to various arts groups in the state.

The money will be distributed through the Iowa Arts and Culture Marketing Grants program, which is funded by the Federal Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES, which the Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds initially allocated to the department in 2020.

A total of 118 arts and culture organizations from 47 different Iowa communities will be eligible for a one-time grant ranging from $ 1,500 to $ 18,000. The grants are also part of the agency’s promotional campaign based on contributions from state-wide arts and culture leaders: Re-imagine, Re-engage, Reconnect.

In a Nov. 5 press release from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, Chris Kramer, director of the department, wrote that the marketing grants and the reinvention campaign will help the Iowa arts and culture sector. during the holiday season, a crucial time for many organizations and businesses.

This statewide investment will also help boost exhibitions, performances and major events now and into the New Year, Kramer wrote.

The recipients include local arts councils, theaters, historic attractions, museums, art centers, and performance venues in 37 Iowa counties.

Among the 20 Iowa-based individuals and organizations receiving grants include local singer-songwriter Elly Hofmaier for her debut album, FilmScene for its reopening, and the Office of the State Archaeologist at the University of Iowa for programming. Other recipients include Hancher, Englert and Public Space One. The full list of recipients can be found here.

All recipients are required to spend the money they received by the end of 2021. For more information on Marketing Grants for Iowa Arts and Culture, those interested can visit www.iowaculture.gov.

David Schmitz, administrator of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, said the grants are focused on costs related to marketing and advertising in Iowa’s creative industries, in response to growing demand towards the season of vacation. He noted that many groups spend their grant money on things like digital and print ads, as well as website development and signage.

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For many [arts groups], especially the little ones, they may not have a lot of marketing funds even in a good year, and this past year has certainly not been a good year, Schmitz said. They still come back from closings and closings. It really is an injection of resources to help them spread the word.

According to the press release from the Department of Cultural Affairs, Iowa’s creative sector contributes $ 4.2 billion to the state’s economy each year. More than 43,000 creative employees work in more than 5,000 companies statewide. As a result of closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, at least 4,500 jobs were lost in 2020, along with millions of dollars in revenue for art, entertainment and recreation groups.

Schmitz said that because of these setbacks, the Arts and Culture Marketing Grants are just one of many one-time relief funds that will be administered to the Iowa arts and humanities groups in the months to come. Another recently announced fund is the American Rescue Plan Arts Grants, which will provide approximately $ 1.5 million to individual artists as well as the arts organizations.

Ultimately, Schmitz said the grants are especially crucial because the success of Iowa’s creative groups often spills over to benefit other areas of the state’s economy, including tourism and recreation.

Arts and culture have been the most affected industry in our economy throughout the pandemic, Schmitz said. There was a need for a unifying message that was positive and that reinforces the brand of arts and culture, that is, to build strong communities. So these grants accomplish that.

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