New Statewide Campaign Highlights Iowa Arts, History, Culture, and the Creative Economy

Brucemore is partnering with the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs during National Arts and Humanities month to encourage all Iowans to re-imagine, re-engage and reconnect with Iowa arts and culture this fall.

Arts and cultural organizations across Iowa, including performing arts venues, museums, film and theater groups, cultural festivals, historical sites, and others are participating in a statewide public awareness campaign that coincides with the launch of a new Iowa Arts & Culture Marketing Grant and with National Arts and Humanities Month in October.

The campaign and related funding opportunity seek to re-engage Iowans and highlight how the arts, history, film and creativity can benefit personal well-being and strengthen Iowa communities, as they continue to safely rebound from challenges during the pandemic.

“The return of arts and culture events this fall is lifting our spirits and the livelihoods of our creative workforce, along with the broader tourism, leisure and hospitality industry that depends on our arts and cultural attractions,” Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Director Chris Kramer said.

In a typical year, Iowa’s creative sector contributes $4.2 billion to the state’s economy, employing more than 43,000 creative workers across more than 5,000 businesses statewide. But in 2020, the arts and culture sector was hard hit and lost many jobs, stemming from event cancellations and closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the same time, a record number of people engaged in virtual programs, online classes and outdoor performances during the pandemic, and in-person attendance at Iowa arts and cultural venues, festivals and concerts has returned this summer.

“The absence of live performances, festivals and community events last year reminded people just how much arts and cultural experiences matter,” Kramer said. “They give meaning and joy to our lives; connect us to friends, family and neighbors; and help rebuild community.”

Despite the dual derecho and pandemic crises, Brucemore continued to facilitate meaningful use by the community through unique experiences and collaboration with other non-profit arts and culture organizations. Over 55 arts performances and events in 2021 provided a variety of options for adults and children. Outdoor music, theater, arts workshops, and family programs offered a reprieve to vendors, artists, and community members. These efforts provided a symbol of hope for the community through arts and culture.

In November of 2021, the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs awarded funding to arts and cultural groups through several grant opportunities. Brucemore is proud to be a recipient, totaling $36,000 in grants, to support the organization’s efforts in making Iowa a better place to live, work, and visit.

Nationally, nine out of 10 of Americans believe that arts and culture are important to their quality of life, while nearly as many say the arts and culture are important to local businesses and unify communities.

These figures reveal the central role that the arts, culture, and creativity continue to play in the lives of Iowans and Iowa communities.

Learn more about the awards here.