Several Quad-Cities cultural organizations and projects were among 176 grants totaling just over $2 million, announced Friday by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs (IDCA), for works in art, film, history, and culture.

The funding comes through programs overseen by the department’s divisions: the Iowa Arts Council, the State Historical Society of Iowa and Produce Iowa, the state office of film and media production.

Urban Exposure film students work on their project, “Joy.”

“These funds are critical to help sustain arts, film, heritage and cultural vibrancy across the state and showcase Iowa’s world-class cultural programs and destinations with help from our state’s hard-working artists, historic caretakers and creative business owners,” said IDCA director Chris Kramer. “It is important that we support our creative economy when this sector needs it more than ever.”

Investments in art, film and history help boost quality of life and promote economic growth, which has become especially important in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to an IDCA release. Shared cultural experiences help people feel connected even when they are physically apart, it said.

“Through this funding we hope to provide cultural experiences in our rural communities and larger cities with a challenge to promote diversity and inclusion,” Kramer added.

Urban Exposure film students work on their project, “Road Kill.”

The Q-C grants are:

Alternating Currents had to cancel its festival this year due to covid-19.

Grow Quad Cities is growing its funding base to support the backbone functions of Q2030, a regional plan focused on increasing talent, economic opportunities and community satisfaction in the Quad-Cities.

Alternating Currents – a festival celebrating art, film, music, comedy and more – was scheduled to take place Aug. 27-30 across the five main downtowns in the Q-C, and was shelved this past Wednesday.

Bix Beiderbecke

“In order to keep Quad Citizens and visitors safe, we felt it best to cancel events that included large gatherings downtown,” Downtown Davenport Partnership executive director Kyle Carter said then. “We will continue to support our downtown businesses as we have throughout the pandemic with promotions that encourage people to eat, drink, shop and explore downtown within public health guidelines.”

IDCA spokesman Jeff Morgan said Friday the new grants are to be used for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, which started July 1.

The list of new Iowa grants includes funds to help at-risk youth paint murals in Creston, business owners turn their storefronts into a temporary art gallery in Ames, preservationists fix up the historic Madison County Courthouse in Winterset and filmmakers take three projects “from script to screen” in Fairfield and Des Moines.

The entrance to the Putnam Museum.

In addition, much needed operating support funds will help 43 of Iowa’s leading nonprofit arts and cultural organizations – recognized as Cultural Leadership Partners by the department – maintain excellence in delivering programs and serving their communities.

Of the total, the Iowa Arts Council awarded $1,367,984 in grants to 129 projects, organizations and communities – all funded by renewed funding from the Iowa Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts, with a $30,000 increase.

The department awarded $125,000 in three Greenlight Grants for film and digital media productions that will be produced in Iowa (none this year in the Q-C). Now in its second year, this program helps retain Iowa filmmakers in the state to build a more robust film and media industry and share stories that are important to Iowans. The grants can be used to produce features, shorts, pilot episodes or proof-of-concept videos to help Iowans propel a script to the screen.

For more information on IDCA, visit iowaculture.gov.

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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.