The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs has awarded more than one million dollars in federal coronavirus relief.
The administrator of the Iowa Arts Council, David Schmitz, says the money was spread out to 173 organizations statewide.
“The smallest grant was for a thousand dollars — all the way up to $18,000 for some of our largest groups,” Schmitz says.
Schmitz says the money is important right now. “In the context of their overall annual budget — these grants aren’t going close a budge shortfall for any of them or certainly help them make ends meet for an entire year. But what they really do, is like look at them as kind of like a bridge,” he says.
Schmitz says that bridge will help them keep things going until they can again get back to their traditional revenue streams.
“Obviously every industry has been hurting a little bit n the last couple of months. What is unique for our industry that we serve, arts and culture is they kind of lost every single revenue stream at once,” according to Schmitz. “If you think about it, admissions, once people the walk in the door then they patronize the gift shop. They might sign a kid up for a class. All those things just dried up overnight.”
And many of the organizations have endowments that have been hit by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Obviously market returns aren’t looking so good this year, “Schmitz says, “so, it was just a huge and unanticipated impact all at once. These dollars are really helpful to a lot of those groups.”
He says many of the organizations play a big role in their communities, and keeping them going is important. “These are people who then go out and buy groceries, they are people who spent money in their local economy. So it’s really important that these groups that are engines for the local economies can keep going,” Schmitz says.
The list of grant recipients includes art, history, and children’s museums; arboretums and botanical gardens; aquariums and science centers; performing arts venues, vocal music groups, and theaters; historical societies and historic homes; film and media organizations; and arts and cultural heritage festivals.
(Photo courtesy of the Iowa Arts Council)