The Iowa Cultural Coalition has issued reports showing public investment in Iowa’s arts & culture sector. Every Iowa legislator received a report listing grants in their district from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) for the period July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021. These reports demonstrate that state and federal funding directly benefits Iowans, showing how investments in arts and culture:
attracts and retains talent
drives economic development
builds strong communities
In 2020-21, over $11 million flowed into Iowa to keep artists and organizations afloat: over $3 million from the State of Iowa, and $8 million in Federal grants and emergency rescue plan funds. The federal funding, more than three-quarters of the support, was one-time dollars that will not be available in the future. Despite this the arts and culture sector continues to be negatively impacted by the effects of the global pandemic.
The arts and culture sector of Iowa’s economy was devastated by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Performing arts venues were shuttered, museums closed, and artists and performers lost both crucial income and contact with their audiences. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, arts, and culture as an industry in Iowa represents over 42,000 jobs and contributes over $4.5 billion to the economy (2019). Unfortunately, between March 2020 and June 2021, Iowa suffered a loss of 4,500 jobs in arts and culture, and this loss was catastrophic for communities across the state. The Iowa Legislature and, in particular, the Federal government stepped in with much-needed emergency and grant funding to save as many arts and culture jobs as possible.
These reports are grouped by Iowa’s Senate and House districts and are available below. Each Iowa Senator and Representative has received an individualized copy of the report giving them a specific list of funds that came to their constituents and supported their communities. These reports, useful for chambers of commerce, economic development staff, artists, and cultural organizations, demonstrate the broad and significant impact of public investment in arts and culture across the state.
To recoup losses from the ongoing pandemic and to keep Iowa’s robust cultural landscape alive and growing, Iowa will need to continue to support musicians, theaters, artists, actors, museums, and performance venues through strong state arts and culture funding. Historically, Iowa ranks in the bottom third of state spending on arts and culture, and without the recent federal support many communities across the state would have lost vital arts and culture organizations to the pandemic. The Iowa Cultural Coalition will continue to provide resources and information about efforts to support arts & culture and invite Iowans to join them for the health of our communities and Iowa’s economy.