UI, ISU, Iowa Arts Council partner on Arts Build Communities initiative

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A partnership between the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, will offer support for arts projects that uniquely address civic challenges and community issues through the arts.

The complete application guidelines may be accessed on the Iowa Arts Council’s website. Letters of interest are due June 1, 2015.

The initiative, called Arts Build Communities, invites leaders in Iowa’s arts community to submit an application to participate in the Arts Build Communities pilot program, which will run from July 2015 to June 2016.

The specific university entities collaborating with the Iowa Arts Council on this project are the University of Iowa Office of Engagement and Outreach and the Iowa State University College of Design. Programs within the Office of Engagement and Outreach include Arts Share, Grant Wood Art Colony, and the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities.

“The Iowa Arts Council is pleased to partner with the University of Iowa and Iowa State University on this timely initiative,” says Matt Harris, administrator of the Iowa Arts Council. “Through this pilot program, we hope to increase the impact of our work and demonstrate the role that the arts play in building vibrant and resilient communities.”

During 2015-16, selected participants will receive financial and technical assistance to carry out project activities designed around the program goals, which include to:

  • Showcase artists and arts leaders as engaged and innovative partners in the social sphere.
  • Connect artists and arts leaders with public entities and community organizations outside the arts sector.
  • Support projects and programs that are designed to address and effect positive change in relation to one or more specific areas of community needs (health, transportation, environmental, social justice).

In the first year, the focus on a limited number of projects will foster a close working relationship with Arts Build Communities participants and create effective models that can provide new learning to the field and can be replicated in other communities.

“Today many communities face complex challenges that require interdisciplinary solutions,” says David Schmitz, community resources specialist with the Iowa Arts Council. “At the same time, the role of artists and the arts in community life has expanded and can offer new ways of looking at and addressing these persistent challenges.”

Participants would be eligible for up to $10,000 in grant funds from the Iowa Arts Council to support related expenses. As participants design and implement projects, they will receive advisory and technical assistance from UI and ISU faculty and staff, graduate and undergraduate students, and Iowa Arts Council staff.

The complete application guidelines may be accessed on the Iowa Arts Council’s website. Letters of interest are due June 1, 2015.