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Posted on: January 5, 2021

IA Department of Cultural Affairs Announces Iowa Great Places Grants

Des Moines - Nine communities across Iowa were awarded a share of $1.25 million in creative placemaking grants to build projects and strengthen communities, the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs announced today.

The funding comes from two creative placemaking programs - Iowa Great Places and Strengthening Communities - which are made possible by the Iowa Legislature's Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund.

Through the Iowa Great Places program, the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs recognizes communities that have developed bold visions for the future and formed the plans, partnerships and projects to make those visions a reality.

"These programs help Iowans re-energize their communities, making them more attractive to businesses, families and young professionals who are choosing where to set up shop or settle down to live, work and play," Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Director Chris Kramer said. "We appreciate the Iowa Legislature's ongoing support for these proven strategies to help Iowans boost quality of life and stimulate economic growth."

With the commitment of the Iowa Legislature, the State of Iowa has invested nearly $21 million in a total of 44 designated Iowa Great Places over the past 15 years, leveraging millions more in local and private investment.

Rural areas face unique demographic opportunities and economic challenges. Iowa's fast-growing counties, in particular, benefit from strategic programs that will guide their growth and development while improving communities and creating more culturally vibrant places to live, develop our workforce and raise our families. 

Creative placemaking combines arts and creativity with community development. Recognizing communities who build upon their unique sense of place, the DCA works with leaders who have developed a vision for the future to enhance cultural vitality and quality of life with infrastructure investments including cultural centers and creative streetscaping that are connected to recreation, entertainment and creative public spaces.

Four designated Iowa Great Places were eligible for, and awarded, grants in the current funding round. One of which was the City of Grinnell for the Grinnell Veterans Memorial Building Campaign - Prairie Star Veteran Artist Residency project.

This project will transform the Grinnell Veterans Memorial Building into an artist residency program and an updated memorial to veterans. The artist residency program will complement community arts programming and act as an anchor for the existing arts corridor that runs north from the building along Broad Street between 3rd and 4th Avenue. This arts corridor includes the Grinnell Area Arts Council (GAAC) which is home to an after school arts program, performance and gallery space on one side of Broad and the STEW Makerspace on the other side which houses art studios and maker space labs. Grant Amount: $300,000

The Iowa Great Places and Strengthening Communities Grant programs are administered by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. More information is available at iowaculture.gov.

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