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118 Iowa arts and cultural groups receive $1M in CARES Act funding

Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs announced its distribution of $1 million in marketing one-time grants to 118 arts and cultural groups in 47 Iowa communities.

Iowa Arts Council Administrator David Schmitz told The Center Square in a phone interview Monday the grants are meant to help audiences feel safe and comfortable returning to arts and cultural organizations that have suffered decreased attendance during the pandemic. Organizations are using marketing tactics like signage, end-of-year mailing campaigns and social media marketing campaigns.

The funding is from Gov. Kim Reynolds’ allocation of federal CARES Act funding to the department to aid Iowa organizations challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant amounts per entity ranged from $1,500 to $18,000.

The six organizations that received $18,000 grants are:

  • Grout Museum District in Waterloo
  • Heritage Center in Dubuque
  • Brucemore in Cedar Rapids
  • Putnam Museum and Science Center in Davenport
  • Stephens Auditorium in Ames
  • Hoover Presidential Foundation in West Branch.

Iowa legislators approved a bill earlier this year to provide tax credits up to $5 million for donations to the Hoover Presidential Library Foundation for its library and museum renovation project fund.

Schmitz said there were more than $1.3 million in requests for the program. Requests came in from organizations across the state and from small and large organizations, he said.

“In general, the approach that we take is we help as many individuals and organizations as we can and really make sure that that money is distributed in as much of a statewide manner as possible,” he said.

In a typical year, Iowa employs more than 43,000 creative workers, but last year, event cancellations and closures prompted the loss of at least 4,500 arts, entertainment and recreation jobs, the release said.

Organizations who did not receive funding may not have been eligible for funding or their programs may not have been eligible for funding, Schmitz said. He was not able to recall at the time how many applicants were eligible who did not receive grant funding.

The department launched a marketing campaign toolkit that is available to any organization after conversations and surveys with industry leaders. Schmitz said they launched the toolkit especially to benefit organizations that don’t have a staff member who focuses on marketing. It was meant to provide a simple solution for those marketing efforts.

This article was originally posted on 118 Iowa arts and cultural groups receive $1M in CARES Act funding

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