Spokesman Michael Morain says the grants are given in several categories with the goal strengthening the quality of life and cultural vitality of Iowa.”There are grants for individual artists, we have a handful of Iowa artist fellowships that we hand out every year. There are grants for specific art projects,” Morain says. There are also grants for operating support and stability.
“To help fund some of those organizations and nonprofits that need help just with day-to-day operations. The stuff that isn’t as easy to raise money for, just the day-to-day stuff that is harder to build a campaign around,” Morain says. A panel of experts reviews each grant application and he says the panels are “really picky” and it can sometimes take someone two or three applications to refine their plan so that when they do get a grant they can make the most of it.
The new Des Moines Jazz Festival at the Des Moines Social Club won a $10,000 grant. “Obviously the Social Club has lots of different programs, but we really wanted to give this one a boost, just because of jazz’s heritage in Iowa,” according to Morain. “Jazz has so many different aspects in Iowa and we have some real jazz leaders, so we wanted to promote that.”
Another grant was awarded to a project in Dubuque. “The Dubuque Symphony Orchestra is doing some programming around hometown heroes — so they are really celebrating some local heroes that really resonate with their own audiences in Dubuque,” Morain says. Mural artist Jordan Weber won a grant for an individual project. “He’s from Des Moines, but he partnered with Creston. So, he’ll be doing a mural in a visible spot in downtown Creston,” Morain explains.
He says the hope for some of these grants is that they serve as seed money to get projects moving. Morain says a good past example is artist Rose Francis, who won a grant to do portraits of Maquoketa residents. “Just from that little boost, it turned into this huge, huge community project where she ended up with 180 portraits of Maquoketans. And that collection of portraits traveled to Washington, D.C., it was displayed at the national portrait gallery,” Morain says. “Eventually the Figge Museum in Davenport bought the whole collection, and right now they have loaned it to the State Historical Museum so you can see it here on display.”
See the list of grants here: IAC 2016 Grant Awards