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Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs announces new grant round for arts, culture, film and history

Feb 11, 2021

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs has opened its annual round of grants to strengthen the vitality and sustainability of arts and culture, film and media, history and historic preservation efforts across Iowa.

For the upcoming fiscal year, which starts July 1, some grants have been modified to provide arts and cultural organizations greater flexibility as the sector navigates a challenging year with hopes of returning to more in-person engagement. 

Grant funds will focus on stabilizing nonprofits and allow for flexibility while also encouraging creative programs, innovative projects and new partnerships tied to strategic initiatives and diversity and inclusion efforts. In addition, the agency remains committed to the creative economy with grant opportunities for creative entrepreneurs, artists and filmmakers. All of these grants can be catalytic for communities who are looking to renovate a historic district, open new creative businesses and feature their town’s unique characteristics in a potential film project. 

“Iowans across the state are finding new ways to offer world-class arts experiences and to preserve historical assets,” Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Director Chris Kramer said. “These grants are investments in the people, places and projects that build our creative communities.”

Iowa’s arts and cultural businesses, along with the state’s broader tourism and hospitality industries, reported higher unemployment rates than most other sectors of the economy in 2020 and are continuing to make up for significant losses caused by the pandemic.

A recent report from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies shows that investments in the arts and culture during periods of economic recovery can ignite job growth, lower economic risk through diversification, and boost rural communities, in particular. 

Reflecting these trends, the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, will administer a new program called Iowa Arts & Culture Resilience Grants. The grants are designed for nonprofit arts and cultural organizations ($2,500-$10,000) as well as individuals ($500-$5,000).

Resilience Grants are designed to help applicants increase financial stability, expand capacity and enhance their offerings to the public. The grant program also supports professional development for artists who want to improve their skills.

Additionally, recognizing the importance of equity across its programs, the Iowa Arts Council will place additional consideration upon applications from qualified organizations that primarily serve rural counties; a community of color; and counties with lower socioeconomic status.

“Covid-19 has really challenged Iowa’s artists and arts organizations over the past year, and many are still struggling to make ends meet,” Iowa Arts Council Administrator David Schmitz said. “These grants will provide some relief and economic recovery as we all continue to find a new path forward.”

Following is the list of grants administered by the Iowa Arts Council, Produce Iowa - State Office of Media Production, and the State Historical Society of Iowa, divisions of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs:

The application deadline for the Artist Fellowship Program is March 15, 2021. The application deadline for all other programs is May 3, 2021.

More information and complete guidelines for each program are available at

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and its three divisions – the Iowa Arts Council, Produce Iowa - State Office of Media Production and the State Historical Society of Iowa – empower Iowa to build and sustain culturally vibrant communities by connecting Iowans to the people, places and points of pride that define our state. The department’s work enables Iowa to be recognized as a state that fosters creativity and serves as a catalyst for innovation where the stories of Iowa are preserved and communicated to connect past, present and future generations.