Eleven cultural organizations and three artists in the Quad-Cities were among those to receive a share of $7 million in new grants announced Tuesday by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

A total of 267 cultural organizations and 152 artists serving 118 Iowa communities will get funding, made possible by the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, on Dec. 2. The department launched the Iowa Arts & Culture Recovery Program the same day and received more than 550 requests totaling more than $36 million by the Dec. 11 deadline.

The Putnam, at 1717 W. 12th St., Davenport, lit up for the holidays.

The list of recipients includes some of Iowa’s longest-running music venues, arts and cultural heritage festivals, and theaters, along with artists and community arts councils, historical museums and university performing arts centers.

The Q-C institutions to receive funding (a total of $500,100) are:

  • Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society: $2,500
  • Family Museum, Bettendorf: $41,800
  • Figge Art Museum, Davenport: $111,500
  • Galvin Fine Arts Center Auditorium, St. Ambrose University: $27,300
  • Genesius Theatre Foundation, based in Rock Island: $5,000
  • German American Heritage Center, Davenport: $41,500
  • Junior Theatre, Davenport: $5,000
  • Mississippi Valley Blues Society: $5,000
  • New Ground Theatre, Davenport: $5,800
  • Putnam Museum and Science Center, Davenport: $175,000
  • River Music Experience, Davenport: $79,700

“The Iowa Arts and Culture Recovery Program stabilizes a vital part of Iowa’s economy by helping our arts and cultural sector build a much-needed funding bridge for a stronger recovery,” Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs (IDCA) director Chris Kramer said Tuesday.

Advertisement

Rachael Mullins, the Putnam’s president/CEO, was thrilled Tuesday with the grant – the maximum allowable under the state guidelines.

“We provided data on lost revenue and our expenses, the reopening process, how we were responding to the pandemic, changes in programming,” she said.

“It’s huge for us. Like most, even though we’ve been reopened for the majority of this fiscal year, audiences are just not comfortable in

Rachael Mullins is president/CEO of the Putnam Museum & Science Center.

coming back yet,” Mullins said, noting the fiscal year started July 1. “We rely so heavily on school district partners, we have not had any school groups this year. We anticipate by late spring, to have some of that.”

The state grant will help make up for lost revenue, but the Putnam anticipates several more months of reduced income, she said.

From the original CARES Act in March, the Putnam received $236,000 in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, but Mullins isn’t sure if that amount will all be forgiven or to be repaid with low interest. The new Covid stimulus bill passed late Monday by Congress includes more PPP funding.

“We are so grateful to Gov. Reynolds for her steadfast support of Iowa’s creative and cultural workforce,” the IDCA’s Kramer said. These grants provide relief for thousands of Iowans whose jobs and livelihoods have been impacted this year.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has devastated Iowa’s creative sector, which relies on income from admissions, ticket sales and events. According to data provided by grant applicants, organizations have lost a combined $46.4 million in income since the pandemic began.

In a typical year, Iowa’s creative sector accounts for 2.3 percent of the state’s economy, according to research by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Iowa’s arts, culture, history and creative industries, including film and media, employ more than 42,000 Iowans working in more than 5,000 nonprofit and for-profit businesses statewide.

The Iowa Arts and Cultural Recovery Program grants were administered by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and will bolster arts venues, cultural nonprofits and creative workers whose activities are essential to education, economic development and quality of life throughout Iowa.

Chris Kramer is director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

“It’s truly remarkable how arts and cultural organizations as well as individual artists have continued to create, innovate and keep us connected during the pandemic, in spite of the personal and financial challenges that many have faced,” Iowa Arts Council administrator David Schmitz said.

“I’m so proud that our agency has the opportunity to support artists, music venues and organizations when they need it most.”

The one-time grants range from $1,500 to $175,000 and provide relief to individuals, businesses and

River Music Experience, Davenport, is one of the 11 Q-C recipients of new funding.

nonprofit organizations that can demonstrate lost income and extra expenses incurred due to the pandemic. The grants may be used to offset operating expenses, as well as costs associated with reopening in person or adapting programs to virtual formats.

Three individual artists in Scott County also received grants:

  • Terrance Banks, Davenport: $1,200
  • Lojo Russo, Davenport: $2,500
  • Bryce Swanson, Buffalo: $2,500

While the relief program was highly competitive, the department funded 75 percent of requests, demonstrating support for arts and culture statewide, according to the state release. Additionally:

  • More than half of the grants were distributed to cultural organizations with annual budgets under $250,000.
  • The average grant for organizations and venues was just over $25,000.
  • Funding was prioritized for artists and organizations that serve rural areas, culturally diverse populations or under-represented groups.

A full list of grant recipients is available online at iowaculture.gov.

Advertisement

Jonathan Turner has been covering the Quad-Cities arts scene for 25 years, first as a reporter with the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and then as a reporter with the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has been seen frequently on local theater stages, including the Bucktown Revue and Black Box Theatre.