We're excited to announce the Summer 2021 Humanities Iowa Major Grant award recipients. We received so many great proposals, and it was exciting to hear about so many worthy projects going on all across the state. Below you’ll find descriptions of the awarded grants.


If you’d like to learn more about how your nonprofit might qualify for Humanities Iowa grants, please visit our grants information page. Our next major grants cycle will open October 2021.



African Americans & The Midwest: A Four Hundred-Year Fight for Freedom
Democracy Films, Dubuque, IA (Bethesda, MD) 
Hanna Rea, Project Director, $5,000 
This documentary film project will survey Black Midwest history through a digital documentary as well as a documentary film project to be presented by WTTW/PBS Chicago. Humanities Iowa will support the Iowa-specific content for the digital documentary (website, podcast, digital classroom, etc.), which will launch in February 2022, and documentary film.


Alternating Currents: A Festival Celebrating the Humanities and the Arts
Quad Cities Chamber Foundation, Davenport, IA (Quad Cities Area) 
Jason Gilliland, Project Director, $5,000 
The Alternating Currents four-day festival will celebrate the humanities through film screenings with accompanying discussion sessions, as well as music and comedy performances. These performances and other expressions of visual arts will be held at more than twenty venues throughout the city of Davenport.


Providing the Healing Power of Writing to Quad Cities Citizens Touched by Cancer
Living Proof Exhibit, Moline, IL (Quad Cities Area) 
Pamela Crouch, Project Director, $6,610 
This grant will support a new journaling program focusing on using writing as a healing art. Custom-designed journals will be distributed to people touched by cancer to accompany teaching sessions on expressive writing during an individual’s cancer journey. Specific programs will be available for local Black and Latinx communities.


Tattoo: Identity in Ink
Museum of Danish America, Elk Horn, IA (Southwest Iowa) 
Diya Nagaraj, Project Director, $10,000 
This grant will support a new travelling exhibition on the history and process of tattooing in Nordic countries (from the National Norwegian-American Museum and Folk Art School). The history of tattooing stretches over 5,000 years, and today close to one in three Americans has at least one tattoo. The Museum of Danish America plans to explore this topic primarily via a gallery exhibition debuting in the Kramme Gallery on Friday, May 27, 2022, along with supporting public programs in the Danish Villages of Elk Horn and Kimballton, including a public tattoo demonstration. The exhibit will remain on-view until October 22, 2022.


Vietnam: The Real War
Dubuque Museum of Art, Dubuque, IA (Eastern Iowa) 
Stacy Peterson, Project Director, $5,000 
Vietnam: The Real War is a series of humanities programs asking, “How do we tell the truth in war?” The flagship program will be a museum exhibition of photographs by AP photographers who documented and changed history. Other programs will include a public book groups, scholarly lectures, film screenings, and author and filmmaker conversations with Tim O’Brien and Aaron Matthews. A concurrent exhibition will feature the war photography of Dubuque’s Bob Woodward and Ron Testa, an official Navy combat photographer. The season will conclude will a theater production of Shirley Lauro’s “A Piece of My Heart,” which tells the true stories of six women Veterans.