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January 2010

In This Issue
Mini and Major Grant Changes: Launching!
How Lisa Orgler Lives the Arts in Iowa
North Central Iowa Folk & Traditional Arts Survey
Cover Your A's (Art, Assets, Archives)
Iowa Writer Earns USA Fellowship
Arts Scholarship Deadline Feb. 8
Iowa Roots Launches New Series
Influence & Inspiration Puts the "Ability" in "Disability"
It's Alive!: Dramatization that Breathes Life into Theater
New Roster Artists
Iowa Organizations Earn NEA "Challenge America" Grant
ARTicles..of Note

IAC Calendar

Feb. 8: Iowa Scholarship for the Arts deadline
 
Feb. 17: Cultural Advocacy Day 
 

 
Ongoing:
Artist Directory (Iowa Artists - add your info to this!)

Iowa PUBLIC ART Artists Registry (For Iowa artists who create public art and are seeking public art commissions)

Mini Grants. Apply for matching funds for arts-related projects. Note: Mini Grant applications are due the first business day of the month for March and May 2010 for a maximum of $1,000 (NOT $1,500). No Mini Grant applications will be accepted in February or April 2010, due to state budget cuts. Maximum Mini Grant awards in January, March, and May will be $1,000 instead of $1,500.

 
NOTICE: Big Yellow School Bus and EZ 1-2-3 grant funds have been depleted for the year, and will not be available again until July 1, 2010. 
 
 
IAC Major Grant applicants: The next deadline for Major Grant applications will be April 1, 2010, for projects beginning no earlier than July 1, 2010 and ending no later than June 30, 2011.


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Check it out regularly for articles of current interest, announcements, and hot topics that are important to the arts in Iowa.

Have you sent in the final report for your IAC grant? Don't delay! Find forms here. 
 
Practical Resources for The Cultural Sector in Uncertain Economic Times: Including funding opportunities, advocacy tips and services.
 

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Artist opportunities, cultural events listings and more at the In-Box.  
 
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TOPMini and Major Grant Changes: Launching!
By Mary Sundet Jones, IAC Administrator
 
We've made important changes to IAC Mini Grants and Major Grants, and we think you'll be pleased! You'll see these changes on the Iowa Arts Council's Web site within the next few days.
 
Mini Grant applicants - beginning with the March 1, 2010 deadline - will use a new application form (no longer on eGrant), and will notice several other changes that should smooth the process for applicants. For one thing, no more categories! All Mini Grants will be reviewed according to a single, simplified set of review criteria no matter what kind of arts project you propose. 
 
We've also reduced the number of attached supporting materials you need to include with Mini Grant applications, and we've reduced the Narrative section of the application to a few very specific questions. 
 
Remember that for the next few months, we have fewer-than-normal Mini Grant deadlines:  March 1 and May 1 are the only application deadlines until June 1, when we will return to the system of monthly application deadlines for Mini Grants.
 
For the rest of this year, and also into next year and beyond, the maximum Mini Grant request will be $1,000. You'll find all this information and more on the new Mini Grants page on our Web site.
 
Major Grants are changing, too, as we indicated in the December Iowa Arts News. Here, too, it's all about clarifying and focusing the information so you know what reviewers really need to see in your application, and so reviewers know what they're looking at. You'll find clearer, more specific narrative questions for each application category.
 
You'll find all this information more easily on our Web site, as well. Instead of separate pages (with repetitive or confusing information) for each category, you will just look under Major Grants or under Mini Grants for guidelines. We've cut way back on the number of different documents or Web pages you need to look at to get all the information you need to complete your application.
 
IAC Major and Mini Grants are both still all about supporting great arts projects that enrich the quality of life for Iowans - that's the bottom line. We hope those of you who have applied in the past will let us know what you think of these changes. 
 
How Lisa Orgler Lives the Arts in Iowa
Lisa Orgler of Huxley is an illustrator and painter who loves creating images of food, animals and gardens and adding whimsical flare. Her blog, The Lunch Box Project, is a daily journal that showcases this relationship with food. On January 1, 2009, she began with the goal to paint one image each day about the food in her life, even though, as she says, the irony is that she really doesn't cook well. 
 
Who is your favorite Iowa artist (author, musician, dancer, visual artist, could be any of these)?
I love Karen Strohbeen's whimsical work. I bought one of her children's books years ago and have enjoyed her progression as an artist.
 
What inspires you the most about Iowa?
The aesthetic simplicity of the landscape. I am enamored with barns, farmhouses, gardens, and even fields of corn. I also love the urban landscape, especially when it's filled with beautiful old structures. I find inspiration in billboards, windows, antique stores, and people.  
 
What's just outside your window (besides snow!)? 
My children's trails of footprints through the snow that takes them through our entire garden.  The end of that trail is our bright orange garden shed.
 
Who's your favorite cook?
Our neighbors (three of them!) are my favorite cooks. I don't cook well, but am lucky to have generous neighbors who share fabulous dishes. It's usually a thank you for something my husband does for them, but I get to reap the rewards.
 
What did you do last Friday night?
We enjoyed a fun-filled night at my staff holiday party...complete with potluck and lots of happy kids.
 
Tell us about an unexpected arts experience.
The biggest surprise has been how my blog and Etsy shop (www.lisaorgler.etsy.com) has opened a new world to me. Prior to this year I only sold my work in central Iowa and a little in Chicago. Now I can reach the world and it's absolutely amazing. I started my blog to challenge myself, but it has resulted in many sales and commissions...around the globe. 
 

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North Central Iowa Folk & Traditional Arts Survey
Funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Folk & Traditional Arts Infrastructure Program, the North Central Iowa Folk & Traditional Arts Survey has been underway for the last few months. Conducting the survey is LuAnn Kozma, who writes about her experiences:
 
This fall I contracted with the Iowa Arts Council to conduct folklore fieldwork in an 18-county area of North Central Iowa. In Cerro Gordo, Hancock, and Webster counties in September and October I had the pleasure of attending fall festivals, gatherings and observing customary fall practices.
 
Clear Lake's natural resources are the focus of hunting, fishing and boating traditions. The Humburg boat, a traditional design duck hunting boat maneuvered by homemade push poles, is used by hunters throughout the area and still crafted by the Humburg family today. Taxidermy is another art form revered by hunters and fishers.
 
Homes, buildings and public places in the city of Clear Lake are adorned with the decorative ironwork of Lawrence "Freddy" Fredriksen, who still operates the blacksmith shop built by his father. Fredriksen's works include gates and grills, circular staircases, and bridge railings at Central Gardens of North Iowa.
 
Local festivals often center on ethnic food traditions. In Mason City, the Greek Orthodox Church has an annual Greek festival in June featuring traditional Greek pastries such as baklava, paxamadia, galatobouriko, and kourambiethes made by Greek-American families. Members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Mason City hold an annual Scandinavian Bazaar to sell Norwegian lefse, a flat potato pancake. In Duncan, potato-dumplings called knedlicky are the featured Czech food at Duncanfest.
 
Britt prides itself on a tradition of local hospitality to tourists and the cultural group of itinerant workers called hoboes. In addition to the 100-year annual festival that attracts hoboes, hobo families and tourists, Britt also is the home of the national hobo cemetery with handmade gravestones, a hobo museum with hobo folk art and a hobo foundation that supports hobo culture.
 
As I continue the survey, I would appreciate leads to traditional arts and artists in your area. Contact me at luann_kozma@yahoo.com or IAC Folklife Coordinator Riki Saltzman, Riki.Saltzman@iowa.gov, if you have leads on folk & traditional artists in north central Iowa.
 
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Photo: Clear Lake's Helen Pergakis displays her Greek pastries
Cover Your A's (Art, Assets, Archives)  
Too many Iowa artists had major losses due to the severe storms and floods of 2008. Do you know what you would do if your studio was suddenly damaged by water, fire, or another big event? There's an incredible tool available now, designed by artists and for artists, from Craft Emergency Relief Fund.
 
You can now order CERF's new Studio Protector, which hangs on your wall and includes a HUGE amount of practical info about what you can do to prepare, and also what first steps to take if an emergency does happen.
 
Nationally known paper engineer Carol Barton and a team of artists designed the pop-up style disaster readiness kit for creative types of all stripes: craft and studio artists, photographers and media artists. It features two spinning wheel charts that explain how artists can plan ahead for emergencies and reduce the impact of a fire, flood, hurricane or tornado. In addition, five pocket protectors or pullout guides provide detailed information about what to do in the minutes before a disaster strikes, how to clean up after a calamitous event and how to salvage fire and water damaged items.
 
CERF staff worked with experts in art conservation, arts business management, and emergency relief services to develop easy-to-follow instructions and guidelines about how to prevent losses due to fires, floods, tornadoes and other disasters. 
 
Studio Protector was designed especially for visual/craft artists, but its information is invaluable for artists of all kinds. 
 
 
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Iowa Writer Earns USA Fellowship

Justin Torres of Iowa City is one of 50 artists across the U.S. to receive the United States Artists (USA) Fellowship for 2009. The announcement was made Dec. 14.
 
The USA Fellows program annually awards 50 unrestricted grants of $50,000 to artists of all disciplines from across the country. Recipients hail from 18 states and range in age from 28 to 82. Chosen for the caliber and impact of their work, they include contemporary experimenters and traditional practitioners-Pueblo potters, feminist performance pioneers, cutting-edge fashion designers, independent radio artists, and folk musicians, among others.
 
Through a rigorous evaluation process, panels of experts in the arts selected the 55 winning artists (including five collaborative pairs) from among 348 nominated applicants from 45 states. USA Fellowships are awarded to artists of all career stages who demonstrate artistic excellence, unique artistic vision, and significant contributions to their fields.
 
Torres received the USA Rolón Fellowship in Literature, named for Rosalba Rolón, a performer, director, and dramaturge who worked extensively with Latino theaters in New York City prior to founding Pregones Theater in 1979. He is a novelist and short-fiction writer whose work has been featured in publications such as Granta, The Louisville Review, Gulf Coast, The Greensboro Review, and Tin House. He was recently featured on National Public Radio's Book Tour: Stories from Two Bright New Literary Voices. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, his work offers a moving exploration into the viscerally charged landscape of coming of age in a bi-cultural family.
 
For more information on USA, Torres or the 2009 USA Fellowships, visit www.unitedstatesartists.org.
 

 
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Arts Scholarship Deadline Feb. 8
Iowa high school students planning to enter college next year with a major in an arts discipline have until Monday, Feb. 8, 2010, to apply for the 2010 Iowa Scholarship for the Arts.
 
Offered annually by the Iowa Arts Council, the scholarship is awarded to Iowa students who will graduate from an Iowa high school during the 2009-2010 academic year and plan to pursue a proven artistic ability in dance, literature, music, theater, traditional arts or visual arts at an Iowa college or university. The application is available at www.iowaartscouncil.org.

Each recipient will receive $1,000 toward his or her 2009-2010 college tuition and related expenses as a full-time undergraduate at a fully accredited Iowa college or university with a major in one or more of the disciplines considered for the award.
 
To be considered for the award, students must complete the scholarship application available at www.iowaartscouncil.org, write an essay about their future career goals in the arts and include two letters of recommendation.
 
Applications and attachments are due by 4:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 8, 2010, in the Iowa Arts Council offices at 600 E. Locust Street, Des Moines, IA 50319. Incomplete, illegible, handwritten or faxed applications will not be accepted. Application review, criteria, approval and notification process information is available at www.iowaartscouncil.org. Please contact Sarah Ekstrand at (515) 281-4657 or Sarah.Ekstrand@iowa.gov for more information.
 
 
Iowa Roots Launches New Series
The Iowa Arts Council and WOI Radio will offer a new series of Iowa Roots interviews beginning Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010.
 
Iowa Roots features stories, music and talk with traditional artists from a variety of ethnic, geographic, occupational and religious groups found in Iowa.  Topics range from Meskwaki stories, Norwegian foods, Bosnian coffee, and African American Blues to Danish smřrrebrřd, Vietnamese Tet, Amana wines, and Mexican ballads. 
 
Tune in to WOI (90.1 FM) each Saturday evening at 7:54 p.m. (following Vinyl Café) to hear Iowa Roots, or visit the Iowa Roots Web site to download mp3 files, program transcripts, biographical and contact information for each segment.
 
Featured will be:
  • Johnathan Buffalo, Meskwaki winter traditions, Meskwaki Settlement
  • Millie Carr, African American foodways, Des Moines  
  • Emily Bengsten, Southwest Iowa Foodways, Farragut  
  • Joe Becker & Carl Vos, Ulrich's Meats Meat Market, Pella   
  • Gwen Atty and Marie Abou-Assaly, Lebanese identity and foodways, Cedar Rapids
  • Nora Garda, Tango dancer, Iowa City  
  • Bill Penn, Penn Drugstore, Sidney  [about ice cream parlor, making sundaes and sodas, 3-generation family business.
  • JoAnne Birkby, Quilter, Sidney 
  • JoAnne Birkby, Black walnuts, Sidney
  • Marty Mincer, Mincer Orchard, Hamburg  
  • Arlette Hollister, Food coordinator, IA State Fair  
  • Ismail Alyassiri, Iraqi oud, Marion  
  • Kevin Burt, Blues musician, Coralville  
  • Luke Kapayou, Meskwaki woodcarving, Meskwaki Settlement  
  • Jack Libbey, Mississippi River traditions, Lansing   
  • Som Baccam, Tai Dam dance, Des Moines 
 
 
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Influence & Inspiration Puts the "Ability" in "Disability"
In 2007, the Iowa Arts Council developed K-12 curriculum materials with the theme "Influence and Inspiration: Iowa's Cultural and Artistic Legacy Evolves" that invites students to examine what inspires and influences each featured artist and then leads them to consider the people, places, things, concepts and ideas that inspire them as a student, person and artist. Students begin with an introductory lesson considering the concepts of influence and inspiration and then look more closely at each artist.
 
Berleen Wobeter is a vocational trainer at the Tama Career Development Center, where she offers work experience and leisure activities for adults with disabilities. Her personal interest in the arts blended with her career when she helped these adults, also known as consumers, start a business selling restored junk art. She said she was excited to see the free "Influence and Inspiration" curriculum which she has adapted to suit the needs of her consumers.
 
"There are days when I wonder why I am presenting material like this to adults who may struggle comprehending it, but every now and then an idea takes hold and it is the greatest feeling in the world to know I have helped someone make a connection, enjoy themselves, create something or learn something," Wobeter said.
 
Wobeter began with an activity to introduce the concepts of influence and inspiration, having the consumers cut pictures from magazines that inspired them, then adding words to demonstrate their influences. She spoke about Paco Rosic, the Cedar Falls graffiti artist who re-created the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in his family's restaurant. To illustrate how it was done, Wobeter set up a structure that allowed the consumers to crawl under it, lie on their backs and draw on a board above them, just as Michelangelo would have done as he created his famous work.
 
"This group of adults has become quite adept at discussing topics and sharing ideas," Wobeter said. "We start each activity with a discussion period such as how natural objects can inspire art. It is such a wonderful way to develop their social skills."
 
She added, "The best part of these materials is how they help us expand our ideas of what we can do, what we can talk about, and ultimately, what surprising thing we can create or present. The pictures and video make the planning so easy and accessible to these adults. We will definitely continue to use the material and share it with other programs."
 
For more information on "Influence and Inspiration," visit www.iowaartscouncil.org.
 
 

 

It's Alive!: Dramatization that Breathes Life into Theater


By Alexandra K. Cook, IAC Intern
 
Thanks to Vickie Fuller and the Iowa Arts Council's Creative Classrooms program, students at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Dubuque were able to experience and perform the magic of theater. Fuller is one of the Creative Classrooms teaching artists, who focuses on enhancing the children's understanding of literature through oral presentation and demonstrating the many values that can be found in this type of literary communication.
 
Fuller approached this teaching method by having the children first analyze different literary pieces for their writing styles, then incorporate mood/tone and point of view as techniques for oral presentation. Through this character development training, she helped the students transform into different literary characters for their final performances.
           
Fuller's two-year experience with the Creative Classrooms program was not only rewarding and educational for her students but also for her.
 
"The Creative Classroom's training has made me re-evaluate everything I teach," she said. "It has made me shift my focus from offering schools a theatrical experience to offering schools an arts integration experience."
 
Through this program, Fuller learned how to take the theatrical approach and combine it with the classroom curriculum, thus resulting in a greatly creative learning method for both students and teachers. She is a great example of what it means to bring the arts into the classroom and foster the creativity that so many children thrive on.
 
"I enjoy the camaraderie of working with a new teacher and meeting a new group of students. What I have to offer every school I work with is my expertise in acting, directing, judging oral interpretation and 21 years of classroom experience."
 
"Students grew academically and many overcame individual fears of speaking and performing during Vicki's residency," said teacher Katherine Thimmisch. "The class came alive as the students brought their characters to life."
 
As a teaching artist, Fuller encourages the atmosphere that Creative Classrooms is all about. She not only sparks the creativity within the students but also teaches them new methods of literary expression. Students across Iowa would have to agree: a standing ovation for Vickie Fuller is in order.
 

New Roster Artists
The Iowa Arts Council has added two artists to its rosters. Carol Taylor is a puppeteer and storyteller from Des Moines; and Lisa Laird is a puppeteer and ventriloquist from Orange City.
 
Additionally, the following have been added to the Folk & Traditional Artists Roster: 
 
Shawn Boom Boom Thompson, rodeo clown
Joyce Bloemendaal, hindeloopen
Ballet Folklorico Estrellas de Jalisco, Mexican folklorico dance
Khamlo Khounlo, Tai Dam T'ing T'ao, Tai Dam folk dance
Jerry Young Bear, Native American storytelling
 
The Iowa Arts Council's roster and directory is a place for the public to locate and connect with Iowa artists. Many of the artists in the Iowa Artist Directory have been through a jurying process to be part of one or more of the Iowa Arts Council's three selective. To apply for the Folk and Traditional Artists Roster, contact Riki Saltzman at Riki.Saltzman@iowa.gov. Applications for the Performing Artists Roster and the Teaching Artists Roster are accepted April 1 and November 1, annually.  Visit www.iowaartscouncil.org for more information.
 

 
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Iowa Organizations Earn NEA "Challenge America" Grant
Three Iowa organizations have received the National Endowment for the Arts' "Challenge America: Reaching Every Community Fast-Track Review Grants". The $10,000 award offers support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations and have significant effects within communities. Following are the Iowa recipients with a description of funded projects:
 
Iowa Trails Council, Inc., Center Point: To support the artistic enhancements of two bridges and a waste water pump along the Fairfield Loop Trail. Under the leadership of artist Judy Bales, steel art elements will be installed by community volunteers.
 
State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines: To support the History Through the Arts program targeting elementary, middle, and high school students. After a visit to the State Historical Museum, youth will attend a performance by companies such as Opera Iowa, Old Creamery Theatre, and Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre.
 
Trustees of Grinnell College, Grinnell: To support (Un)Seen Work: Traditions and Transitions, a new work by visual artist Jane Gilmor. The artist will create images based on the oral histories of economically disadvantaged residents identified through Mid-Iowa Community Action, a nonprofit organization serving low-income families.
 

ARTicles..of Note
NEA Survey: 47 Million Watch Music, Theater, or Dance Performances Online Each Week, The Washington Post (Dec. 10, 2009): "While many adults still like the intimacy of live theater, particularly musical theater, over the past year an estimated 47 million of them chose to watch or listen to music, theater, or dance performances online at least once a week."
 
Surviving the Dip, or Are We in the Typewriter Business and Do We Need a Manhattan Project?, Fractured Atlas Blog by Adam Forest Huttler (Dec. 11, 2009): "I was in DC yesterday for a presentation/discussion of the NEA's 2008 Survey on Public Participation in the Arts. The report is accessible and worth a quick read, but I can summarize its findings in one sentence: public participation in the arts is seriously in decline."
 
Light the Fuse, National Arts Marketing Project newsletter (Dec. 17, 2009): "Arts organizations: The economic bust is over. Most of what was going to break, broke. And you survived. Now's the time to light your fuse and make the most of an improving economy. It's time to get ready for the boom."
 
Senator McCain? Arts Funding Creates Real Jobs, Philadelphia Inquirer (December 23, 2009): "Artists need and deserve work, just as all Americans do. And their industry is a key engine in our economic recovery. More than 5.7 million jobs in this country are generated by the nonprofit arts sector, and that work touches and enriches the lives of all Americans."
 
 
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The Iowa Arts Council is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.
 
The MISSION of the Iowa Arts Council is to enrich the quality of life for Iowans through support of the arts.
 
The VISION of the Iowa Arts Council is that Iowans recognize the arts are essential to their quality of life.
 
The Iowa Arts Council aims to empower Iowa's leaders in strengthening community life through the arts and provide leadership in stimulating a healthy arts environment.