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Iowa Arts and Culture Recovery Program helping arts community stay alive

Published: Dec. 23, 2020 at 9:07 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The arts community in Cedar Rapids recently received a financial lifeline after the Iowa Arts and Culture Recovery Program announced award recipients on Wednesday night.

Orchestra Iowa received the most from the state in this relief fund in Linn County, getting $175,000.

Theatre Cedar Rapids received the second highest amount: $142,200.

Theatre Cedar Rapids had to close its stage for in person performances in March. But it’s continued offering programming virtually. No ticket, concession and rental revenue means the community theater has lost well over half a million dollars.

“We furloughed half of our full time staff, all of our part time staff back in March and there are some people who won’t be returning and all those contractors, we collaborate with hundreds of professional artists every season- designers, musicians, and their work just went on pause,” said Katie Hallman, Executive Director for Theatre Cedar Rapids. “This recovery fund will go far so when we are able to flip the switch and get back to work in a normal way we’re able to do it with some strength so I’m going into the end of this calendar year and feeling REALLY grateful.”

Other Cedar Rapids groups that received money from the recovery fund include $11,000 thousand for the McGrarth Amphitheater, $84,000 for the National Czech and Slovak Museum, and $34,000 for Brucemore.

The Iowa Arts and Culture Recovery Program was initiated by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. A total of 267 cultural organizations and 152 artists serving 118 Iowa communities will receive a share of $7 million in grants that Governor Kim Reynolds was able to allocate the funding made possible by the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, on December 2nd.

The list of grant recipients includes some of Iowa’s longest-running music venues, arts and cultural heritage festivals, and theaters, along with artists and community arts councils, historical museums and university performing arts centers.

The Covid-19 pandemic has devastated Iowa’s creative sector, which relies on income from admissions, ticket sales and events.

According to data provided by grant applicants, organizations have lost a combined $46.4 million in income since the pandemic began.

In a typical year, Iowa’s creative sector accounts for 2.3 percent of the state’s economy, according to research by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Iowa’s arts, culture, history and creative industries, including film and media, employ more than 42,000 Iowans working in more than 5,000 nonprofit and for-profit businesses statewide.

The Iowa Arts and Cultural Recovery Program grants were administered by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, with the goal of bolstering arts venues, cultural nonprofits and creative workers whose activities are essential to education, economic development and quality of life throughout Iowa.

A full list of grant recipients is available online at iowaculture.gov.

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