Looking to the Future: Growing the Artisan Studio at Brucemore

Programs, tours, and partnerships have been vital to Brucemore’s impact since becoming an organization in 1981. The challenges of recent years have led to a critical point. To provide the best community value and continue utilizing funds responsibly, Brucemore is now asking itself:

“What’s next?”

Brucemore is undergoing a multi-year effort called Vision 2031, aiming to grow the organization’s impact to remain relevant to 21st century audiences. To look to the future and continue to be successful, Brucemore needs to build capacity and spend time intentionally defining who it serves, what it needs for human and financial resources, and developing strategies to go about that.  

“Brucemore has been entrepreneurial and experimental for decades. It is the basis of our success. Like a for-profit venture, non-profit organizations need to have a research-and-development function to explore new programs, broaden our audiences, and enhance our impact thoughtfully. Fulfilling our mission in a financially sustainable way requires a disciplined investment in innovation.”

David Janssen, CEO

Brucemore is investing in research and development through the Artisan Studio at Brucemore to support audience growth. This includes building capacity with digital media, experimenting with new ways to use different areas across the 26-acre site, and expanding efforts to support artistic development initiatives.

In the long-term, this investment will:

  • Increase paid opportunities for underserved artistic professionals, technicians, and arts personnel.
  • Expand programs to draw more diverse audiences
  • Provide a greater positive regional experience.
  • Contribute to the local cultural economy by supporting people who are working, living, and playing here.

What impact will the Artisan Studio make in 2024?

The Artisan Studio at Brucemore will feature:

  • Three projects supporting the artistic development of individual artists, where each will have access to tools, technologies, and knowledge at no cost to them to bring their project to life. This program will expand genres and include music, playwrighting, and documentary film. They will each participate in an Artisan Studio Showcase to share their journey and work with the community.
  • Six in-person events – Hello Summer, Hello Fall, and two different Music in the Courtyard events – will curate artists you know and artists you’ve not yet met around different themes. Several of these events will utilize spaces on the 26-acre site that have never been used in this way.
  • The launch of an online performance series will provide an intimate look into the lives and creative processes of guest musical artists.
  • Additional digital content will provide entertaining and thought-provoking stories.

This plan balances ticketed in-person experiences with free online content. Experimenting with this balance looks to create connections with people who physically cannot visit the site but can still benefit from the assets available and may be inspired to visit the site in the future. Tickets for summer programs go on sale May 1 and online content is being developed for release later this year.

Now is the time to discover new ways to impact our shared community and experiment with new opportunities for audiences.

Through this important work, Brucemore builds pride in our regional artists and history, creates connections with the past that help us understand the future, and provide education and entertainment to delight a diversity of people.

Thank you to the early supporters of this research and development work:

  • Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area
  • Nina E. and Victor D. Merveaux Endowed Fund for Historic Preservation of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation
  • Organizational Development Fund of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation

Gratitude to the 2024 Summer Events Season sponsors:

  • UFG Foundation
  • Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust
  • Simmons Perrine Moyer Bergman PLC
  • Van Meter, Inc.

Brucemore is also proud to be part of the Cultural Leadership Partner program of the Iowa Arts Council through the Iowa Economic Development Authority.