'Mini stimulus' available for Iowa's artists, arts, cultural organizations recovering from COVID pandemic
The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs has announced three new grants aimed at rejuvenating Iowa's arts after the COVID-19 related pause in entertainment.
The relief comes in the form of $2.4 million from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Rescue Plan Act, signed by President Biden in March.
"These grants will focus on rebuilding the capacity of creative businesses at a time when many artists, cultural organizations and communities are working to fully rebound," IDCA Director Chris Kramer said in a news release. "This investment will be a catalyst for rehiring jobs in the creative workforce and for more participation in arts and cultural experiences."
It's not unusual for Iowa to get funds from these national agencies. But how the money has been earmarked this year is noteworthy, said David Schmitz, administrator of the Iowa Arts Council.
"I think what's different about these funds is the ability to focus on jobs and to help rebuild the capacity of our industry where everyone's still doing more with less," he said. "These dollars are really focused on that and that’s unique. We don’t often receive money to impact arts jobs in our state."
The American Rescue Plan Grants offer $500 to $2,000 to arts organizations and individual artists. Artists may be performers, visual artists or writers, among others, who are creating in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications are due Oct. 1.
The American Rescue Plan Humanities Grants are designed for "humanities organizations and humanities-based projects to help Iowa’s humanities sector respond to the coronavirus pandemic," according to the IDCA website. Awards range from $2,500 to $20,000. Applications are also due Oct. 1.
The Humanities Project Grants, created to support public humanities projects, will provide awards of $1,000 to $20,000. Examples for grant winners could be a book club, film festival or a lecture series, said Michael Morain, communications manager for IDCA.
"These are things that help people understand our lives and our experiences as human beings. They help people make connections with the people around us in real and meaningful ways," he said.
Applications are due Nov. 1.
"It's kind of a mini stimulus for artists and that’s really important because Iowa’s creative workforce is growing all the time," Schmitz said. "For arts and cultural organizations ... they can use one of these grants to rehire or hire strategically a new staff member that can support their generating income recovering from the pandemic, or humanities organizations can launch a new program if they choose."
The grant programs mark the beginning of IDCA's partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities. While the interim Iowa Humanities Council is still in its early days, Schmitz said its creation comes with national funding for the humanities each year.
Additional information about these grants, including how to attend informational webinars, is available online at iowaculture.gov.