June 4: Iowa Arts Council Board meeting, Red Oak
(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) 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.
Check it out regularly for articles of current interest, announcements, and hot topics that are important to the arts in Iowa.
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Show How You Live the Arts in Iowa
Are you using the Live the Arts in Iowa logo? As you're planning your festival, summer concert series, dance performance, etc - remember to proudly display the Live the Arts logo to show that you're a part of the arts in Iowa! When people see this logo everywhere, they'll understand how powerful a presence the arts truly are in Iowa.
For more info about Live the Arts in Iowa and to obtain the logo, click here.
|Stimulus Funding Results in Big (and Small) Successes for Iowa Cultural Organizations
By Alexandra Cook, IAC Intern
In July 2009, when Governor Chet Culver announced that 18 Iowa cultural organizations would be awarded $475,200 in grant money in order to preserve 323 jobs, Iowans were able to take a small sigh of relief. The funding was made possible through the federal American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009, better known as the federal stimulus bill.
The economic downturn and devastating floods over the past few years left people in the arts community wondering how they and their organizations could survive. Thankfully, some jobs in Iowa cultural organizations were preserved as the Iowa Arts Council partnered with Arts Midwest and the National Endowment for the Arts to distribute these funds. The IAC called its grants Iowa Arts Jobs Preservation Grants.
Serkan Usta's position as artistic director of Ballet Des Moines was retained through a $20,000 grant from these funds. With Usta's leadership, this year the organization has reached more than 1,000 members of the Des Moines community through performances at the East Village Promenade, the Blank Children's Hospital's Festival of Trees and Lights and a book reading at the Des Moines Public Library. With stimulus funds supporting the artistic director's position, Ballet Des Moines has been able to focus other resources on reaching out to the community and maintaining a positive presence for dance in Iowa.
Red Cedar Chamber Music in Marion used Iowa Jobs Preservation Grant funds to protect the positions of its Artistic Director and performing artists. With these positions in place, they have gone on to do presentations to 4th and 5th graders in 20 different events so far this year. Additionally, Red Cedar's Artistic Director designed a 16-event residency including lesson plans and programming. Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah used the $25,000 grant it received to fund its folk art education coordinator, so that classes and programs could continue to be offered. Folk Art Specialist Diane Weston assembled a folk art advisory group, class schedule, and instructors for programs that are available to the 6,000 members of the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum and to the surrounding community. The Octagon Center for the Arts in Ames, with their $25,000 grant, was able to pay its instructors and, for the first time ever, secure all the help it needed to teach children's workshops over the holidays.
The story is the same for the other grantees in this program. In a time when arts organizations are struggling to fund the programs that so enrich their communities, these grants took a bit of the pressure off by helping keep Iowans employed and the arts working, across the state.
"Iowa arts organizations create and support thousands of jobs and generate millions of dollars in revenue while enhancing the quality of life in our communities," Governor Culver said when he announced the grant awards. "These funds for Iowa arts organizations will preserve arts jobs and help our economy continue to recover from this historic downturn."
IAC Grant Workshop ScheduleThe Iowa Arts Council will hold Grant Workshops June 9, Sept. 8 and Dec. 9 at the State Historical Building in Des Moines. All workshops will be from 1-4:30 p.m. and participants are asked to register by visiting www.iowaartscouncil.org.
The workshops will focus on Mini Project Grants. An additional workshop and webinar focused on Major Grants will be scheduled and announced after Jan. 1, 2011.
Mini Grant Workshops consist of a presentation on the application process, a review of guidelines, tips, and examples as well as an interactive mock-panel review of actual Mini Grant applications. Participants may ask questions throughout the workshop. Anyone wishing to meet with IAC staff individually should either sign up for an Office on the Road meeting (if applicable), or set up a meeting separate from the Grant Workshop.
For more information, contact Sarah Ekstrand at (515) 281-4657 or Sarah.Ekstrand@iowa.gov.
|Please Touch the Art: Cunningham Returns for Workshops June 24-27
Shoshana Hebshi (PIO, Dept for the Blind) with Riki Saltzman (IAC Accessibility Coordinator)
Iowa's Department for the Blind has long been a leader in providing services, from the largest collection of Braille titles in the United States (as well as large print, cassette, and digital talking books) to Mary Swander's Tactile Poetry, to Ann Cunningham's critically acclaimed permanent tactile art exhibit, Please Touch the Art. Most recently, the Department teamed with the Des Moines Art Center to provide docents with training on how to give tours to blind and visually impaired visitors of the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park (see article here).
Those tours combine detailed verbal descriptions with touching (gloves must be worn) to enable patrons to "see" the sculptures-a great lesson for students of all ages in how to convey visual art through hearing and touch. Contact Jennifer Cooley, museum education manager at the Des Moines Art Center, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (515) 271-0328, to schedule tours for the blind of the downtown Des Moines sculpture park.
In June, renowned tactile artist Ann Cunningham will return to conduct a series of workshops to increase awareness about art accessibility. Last year, the IDB unveiled a public art installation of Cunningham's work, which encourages patrons to feel the art and teaches, through touch, how perspective works. The centerpiece of the permanent collection is a rendition of Grant Wood's "American Gothic," formed out of wood, slate and bronze to add texture and color to the piece.
Cunningham, who is based in Colorado, will hold workshops June 24-27, 8 a.m. to noon, at the Iowa Department for the Blind. She'll teach participants how to make art accessible to blind people and how blind people appreciate art. Participants will have a chance to create their own "accessible" artwork and discuss the issue in depth with the artist. Artists and art professionals are encouraged to attend a session. For more information on or to register for this workshop, contact Shoshana Hebshi, communications specialist at (515) 281-1338 or Shoshana.email@example.com.
IDB's summer camp, Artful Antics, June 23-27, will also feature Cunningham. The camp will emphasize interactive, fun learning with exposure to a wide range of artistic media and methods. Participants will learn to use a variety of materials and experience activities including sculpture, painting, pottery, and landscaping to gain a greater appreciation and understanding of art. Additional events include attending the Des Moines Arts Festival, meeting with local artists, attending a theater production, swimming, and creating your own artwork to take home.
This article is the seventh in a series providing examples of artistic outreach to diverse groups in Iowa.
|Legion Arts Secures $80,000 from Andy Warhol Foundation
by Diana Nollen, KCRG Cedar Rapids
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has awarded Legion Arts an $80,000 grant toward the Cedar Rapids nonprofit's plan to purchase and renovate the historic CSPS building and the adjoining firehouse. The grant will allow Legion Arts to purchase and renovate the firehouse and carry out related planning. It will eventually house visiting artists and support an artist residency program.
"The Warhol Foundation has been an invaluable supporter of Legion Arts over the years," Legion Arts executive director F. John Herbert said. "We're deeply grateful for this latest expression of the foundation's commitment to artists and innovation."
The Andy Warhol Foundation has provided support to Legion Arts since 2000 when Legion Arts became one of the first arts organizations to be invited into the Warhol Initiative, a limited network of 60 progressive arts spaces and publications across the country.
Legion Arts embarked on a $6.4 million renovation project following the flood of 2008. Other support for the project includes a $4.8 million I-JOBS grant and $1.2 million in state historic tax credits.
The project, formulated through a series of community forums held at CSPS last summer, includes enhanced versions of the existing theatre and gallery spaces; the construction of additional presenting, studio and educational space on the ground floor; the opening of an arts incubator, also on the ground floor, to serve small and emerging arts organizations; and two to three ground floor retail operations.
In addition, the entire landmark building -120 years old, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, damaged but intact after the 2008 floods - will get the structural overhaul it needs.
The plan incorporates increased accessibility, including an elevator; updated electrical systems, climate control and plumbing (air conditioning and new bathrooms); improvements in safety and energy efficiency; increased parking and upgraded street presence. Subtle physical changes to the exterior will preserve the building's historic features while fostering accessibility and greater community engagement.
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts was established in 1987. In accordance with Andy Warhol's will, its mission is the advancement of the visual arts.
Legion Arts programs and operates the CSPS art galleries and performance space at 1103 Third St. SE in Cedar Rapids. More information: (319) 364-1580, www.legionarts.org.
|Inspiring Success Within Creative Classrooms
By Alexandra Cook, IAC Intern
When the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center and the Iowa Arts Council partnered to put more teaching artists in schools through the Creative Classrooms program, the resulting success was astounding to all involved. Amy Hunzelman is the Director of Education for the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Art Center at the University of Northern Iowa and one of the lead individuals responsible for the success experienced by the Creative Classrooms program, in partnership with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
The pairing of IAC and GBPAC for the Creative Classrooms program seemed like a natural fit for both partners involved.
"I felt the Creative Classrooms would best fit with the Iowa Arts Council and its mission of enriching the quality of life for Iowans through support of the arts," Hunzelman said. "For the program to be successful, the project needed the resources of the IAC and the expertise of its staff."
Creative Classrooms brought several teaching artists into Iowa's classrooms where the children learned and experienced new ideas through an innovative and fresh arts integration teaching technique. The program's intensive work with the teaching artists before, during and even after the course made Creative Classrooms a success.
"The growth and journey the teaching artists endured was amazing," Hunzelman said. "We asked them to really look at their art form, dissect it, and redevelop their work with students. It wasn't an easy process, as the program required them to develop curriculum for classroom students and teachers and to modify their activities each time it was reviewed."
Thanks to Hunzelman's dedication, several artists and students throughout Iowa had the opportunity to come together and experience new perspectives within a different learning environment. The partnership between the IAC and the GBPAC stands as a great example of the good that can result from two organizations putting their resources together for their communities.
"Working so closely with Dawn (Martinez Oropeza) and staff of the IAC I learned what and how we can partner for years to come," she said. "I enjoyed collaborating with Dawn and hope to find more programs to promote the arts throughout the state of Iowa."
|Bosnian Group Preserves Culture by Living the Arts in Iowa
Members of the Waterloo-based Bosnian folk dance group K.U.D. Kolo use their homeland cultures to inspire, entertain and educate Iowans. Hailing from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Albania, Macedonia and Croatia, the troupe members have made their home in Iowa, where they perform regularly. Here, we talk to Zulfeta Rizvic, K.U.D. Kolo founder and director, and on the IAC Folk & Traditional Artist roster in her own right. Rizvic was once an elementary school teacher in Bosnia, where "dancers were ambassadors for their culture." She will soon be graduating from UNI with an education degree and her ELL (English Language Learners) endorsement.
Besides the dancers in your group - do you have a favorite Iowa artist (musician, visual artist? another dancer/dance group)?
I really do not know anybody in particular, but I would like to make connections with other groups with similar interests.
What do you want people to know about K.U.D Kolo?
We are a group that tries to preserve our Bosnian language and culture through our dances and songs. We also would like to educate others about our rich and diverse cultural heritage. We came here 15 years ago, and after the first couple years we spent trying to put our lives back together, we realized that we need to do something to "heal our wounds." The best way is to get together and reconnect with our culture. We are doing dances from Bosnia and dances from the other countries that were once part of Yugoslavia. There are three groups: the youngest: 5-10 years old; middle - preparation group: 10-14 years old, and the oldest representative ensemble -- from 14 years old.
What inspires you the most about living in Iowa?
The best thing is the way people are willing to learn about us. Sometimes I have feeling that people are having a better appreciation for our culture than we do. I talked with Bosnians from other places, from other states, and they said that we are lucky because we received so much support here.
What did you do last Friday night?
We had our concert commemorating our first 15 years in Iowa. It was a wonderful event featuring local performers of traditional Bosnian song and dancers from all generations. Also, we had our premier performance with the Balkanalia orchestra from University of Illinois. Balkanalia performed several songs from the Balkan region. At the end, we performed together; we danced and they played our music. It was magical! Everybody loved it! We will continue our collaboration in the future.
Tell us about what the group is working on now, and what's next for K.U.D Kolo?
We are working on our new dance that we are planning to perform in Bosnia this summer. We will perform in Sarajevo during the Bascarsijske Noci International Festival. We will be the only group from the U.S.A., and we are proud to represent our new home and our new country. We will be proud to say that we are coming from Iowa. Wish us luck because it is a very prestigious festival!
|Bluestones Take Message of Art and Healing Across Iowa
Robert and Rebecca Bluestone will wrap their Iowa tour May 3-5 in Davenport, and May 8 in Iowa City.
The Bluestones have been travelling to Iowa communities as part of the "Iowa Arts and Healthcare Project -A Journey Across Iowa," in partnership with the University of Iowa's Hancher Auditorium, Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center and College of Public Health.
Robert Bluestone appeared in Des Moines in February during Cultural Advocacy Day. He and his wife, Rebecca, form Woven Harmony, an experience of sight and sound using projected images of Rebecca's textiles, the majestic high desert landscape where they make their home in New Mexico, and Robert's guitar music.
Through personal experience, the Bluestones know the comfort the arts can bring to those confronting a healthcare crisis, as well as the role the arts can play in meeting the challenges of sustaining health. They are passionate about unlocking for their audiences the powerful connection between creativity and healing and the healthcare environment.
The Journey Across Iowa Tour, which began April 19 in Spencer, then visited Algona, Des Moines and Grinnell, has allowed the Bluestones to share their artistry with patients and their families in settings committed to the health and well-being of their community.
The Bluestones will end their tour May 8 in Iowa City at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center's Blue Rose Gala.
|Change in Leadership at ICCA
The Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance has announced that Joe Jennison has resigned his position as executive director effective May 15, 2010. He has accepted a position as the Director of Main Street and Marketing for the Mount Vernon/Lisbon Community Development Group.
"This was not an easy decision to make as I have enjoyed every minute of my work with the Eastern Iowa arts and culture community," Jennison said. "I believe so very much in the work of the Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance and the individual artists and cultural organizations that make up its membership."
David Kilpatrick, president of the ICCA board, added, "Joe's enthusiasm and passion have helped put ICCA at the forefront of arts and culture, not only in the corridor but across the state. We are grateful for his time, energy and commitment to ICCA and we wish him the very bets on his new path."
Jennison served as ICCA's executive director since its inception in 2005, acting as a spokesperson, advocate and ambassador for the Corridor's rich cultural community.
|Spotlight Shines on State's Best at IMPA Awards
The Iowa Motion Picture Association (IMPA) honored the state's best in dozens of film production and craft categories May 1.
More than 140 entries from all areas of the state were received and judged in categories ranging from screenwriting and acting to editing and directing. Each category recognizes up to five Award of Achievement nominees, with one entrant from each category earning the Award of Excellence.
View the 2010 IMPA Award winners.
The Iowa Motion Picture Association is a nonprofit organization that strives to support the state's film production professionals through training, recognition and advocacy. See www.IMPA.TV for complete details.
|Alert to Nonprofits! Does This Information Affect You?
from The New York Times, April 22, 2010
As many as 400,000 nonprofit organizations are weeks away from a doomsday. At midnight May 15, 2010, an estimated one-fifth to one-quarter of some 1.6 million charities, trade associations and membership groups will lose their tax exemptions, thanks to a provision buried in a 2006 federal bill aimed at pension reform.
The federal legislation passed in 2006 required all nonprofits to file tax forms the following year. Previously, only organizations with revenues of $25,000 or more - or the vast majority of nonprofit groups - had to file. The new law, embedded in the 393 pages of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, also directed the IRS to revoke the tax exemptions of groups that failed to file for three consecutive years. Three years have passed, and thus the deadline looms.
Read the complete article.
|NEH Announces Initiative on Bridging Cultures
In setting forth its vision for the National Endowment for the Humanities, Congress declared that "the humanities reflect the high place accorded by the American people to the nation's rich cultural heritage and to the fostering of mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all persons and groups."
To help Americans better understand our own rich cultural heritage, while enhancing public knowledge of and respect for others both here and abroad, NEH has launched Bridging Cultures. The initiative encourages projects that explore the ways in which cultures from around the globe, as well as the myriad subcultures within America's borders, have influenced American society.
With the aim of revitalizing intellectual and civic life through the humanities, NEH welcomes projects that expand both scholarly and public discussion of diverse countries, peoples, and cultural and intellectual traditions worldwide.
Huffington Post Calls Fairfield "Mecca for Musicians and Artists"
by Mike Ragogna for The Huffington Post
April 30, 2010
While no one was looking, Fairfield, Iowa has become a mecca for musicians and artists. Every variation of music and art that one can imagine is prospering in this growing township, and that includes musical theater. And of all the productions that have opened and closed in this creative community for as far back as anyone can remember, none has affected its population nor its neighboring cities as intensely as this new exploration of Hair.
Over the years, Randy West--a Stephen Sondheim protégé and executive and artistic director of Way Off Broadway--has overseen a series of successful productions by Iowa's only professional musical theater group. Currently, his take on the always controversial Hair--that includes nudity, an irreverent revue of socially-charged topics, and, of course, a strong anti-war voice--has opened to rave reviews, is being heralded as a Midwestern phenomenon, and is the most heartfelt take on the musical, possibly even including its original Broadway run.
Read the complete article.
|IAC Out & About
May 3: Riki Saltzman conducts folklore field work in southwest Iowa
May 4: Dawn Martinez Oropeza to Iowa City for meeting with Latino Conference and University of Iowa Libraries
May 5-6: Bruce Williams to Urbandale for CLP site visit at Living History Farms and Des Moines for CLP site visit at Science Center of Iowa
May 7: Dawn Martinez Oropeza, Cyndi Pederson, and Mary Sundet Jones to Cedar Falls for Creative Classrooms program graduation ceremony
May 11-12: Bruce Williams and Riki Saltzman in Des Moines for CLP site visit at VSA arts of Iowa
May 14: Riki Saltzman attends Iowa Culture & Language Conference planning meeting in Des Moines
May 15: Riki Saltzman attends Celebrasian festival in Des Moines
May 20: Cyndi Pederson to Davenport for Quad Cities "State of the Arts" meeting
May 26: Bruce Williams to Marshalltown for AiSB meeting
May 26: Riki Saltzman attends "Adventures in Social Drama" sponsored by Link Associates in Des Moines
May 27 (tentative): Bruce Williams to Dubuque for CLP site visit at Grand Opera House
Corporate Philanthropy Steps into Recovery Mode, PR News Wire (March 31, 2010): The new report, The 2010 Philanthropy Agenda: Is the Pressure Easing?, found that companies are stepping out of crisis mode and are beginning to think in terms of recovery. More than 75 percent of respondents to The Conference Board survey stated that they would not be making recession-driven changes to their 2010 corporate giving programs. However, the study found that in focus area giving, capital campaigns and arts and culture will face the most decreases.
Kresge Foundation Changes Arts and Culture Grantmaking Strategy, Philanthropy News Digest (April 21, 2010): "The Kresge Foundation in Troy, Mich., has announced a new national strategy for its arts and culture program to help foster the long-term financial stability of arts groups. The foundation's arts and culture grantmaking is focused on three areas: institutional capitalization, artists' support services, and arts and community building. Under the new strategy, institutional capitalization activities will include investments in cultural facilities and building reserves funds, with a focus on renovation and repair projects."
Participate in the New Local Arts Index:
Americans for the Arts is recruiting 100 local arts agencies to participate in the development of its new Local Arts Index. This 18-month research initiative is being launched as a local complement to the recently published National Arts Index. Like the National Arts Index, the local index will be a highly distilled annual measure of the health and vitality of the arts. Eligible Nonprofits To Receive Two New Federal Tax Credits
, Independent Sector (April 8, 2010): The nonprofit community has two new federal tax credits to support it in healthcare coverage and hiring efforts. Last month, the health insurance reform bill was signed into law, and with it came a provision granting eligible nonprofit organizations a tax credit of up to 35 percent of health insurance premiums available to firms with 25 or fewer employees and with average wages below $50,000 that choose to offer coverage. 2010 Nancy Hanks Lecture Now Available Online
: For those unable to attend Americans for the Arts 23rd Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy on April 12, 2010, an audio file of the lecture is now available online. In his presentation at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. (Charleston, SC) focused on the art of city design; the revitalization of his hometown of Charleston; and the role mayors can play in transforming their cities into dynamic and more livable cultural communities. The night also included a lively performance by the Washington Performing Arts Society's Men and Women of the Gospel Choir as well as introductory remarks by Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK). Ford Foundation Major Art Space Development Program
: Supporting Diverse Art Spaces Initiative will dedicate $100 million to the development of arts spaces nationwide including construction, maintenance, and enhancement of arts facilities. This program is accepting applications through May 28, 2010.