Humanities Iowa is pleased to announce the recipients of our most recent major grant awards cycle:

Monument Valley
Des Moines Art Center
Des Moines, IA

Monument Valley is an art exhibit that presents multiple views of the complicated construct that is the “American West.”  It features contemporary artists who view the stereotypes and mythology around the West and westerns, and shows how these concepts echo in American identity and the political and social crises of our time. The artists brought together for Monument Valley are Indigenous, Black, white, Latinx, and multiracial, from multiple regions of North America, and represent various cultural backgrounds and identities. This exhibition aspires to make room in the museum for narratives other than those of the dominant culture – new stories and new ways to see history. Monument Valley will include painting, photography, fiber work, and video. Artists featured in the exhibition include Gina Adams, Doug Aitken, Angela Ellsworth, Kahlil Joseph, John Jota Leaños, Kent Monkman, Anja Niemi, Catherine Opie, Wendy Red Star, Sarah Sense, and Jordan Weber.

Electric Railroads of Iowa
Iowa Railroad Historical Society
Boone, IA

Electric Railroads of Iowa is an exhibit that will explore the evolution of electric railroads in Iowa and their impact on the public, beginning with their infancy, zenith and eventual downfall. The exhibit will draw attention to the people who operated the lines, crews, depots and administration. it will also focus, through the use of rare photos and city maps, on trunk lines, terminal and short lines, suburban and city transit, and power generation wile asking the question, Why go electric and what are the public benefits? and how has this form of transportation been vital to Iowa from the turn of the century. 

Rise Above
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Association
West Branch, IA

The Hoover Presidential Foundation will partner with the Hoover Presidential Library and Museum and the Park Service to bring the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibition to West Branch and eastern Iowa audiences. This traveling exhibition includes a short film about the Tuskegee Airmen, P-51C Mustang pilots, and specially-trained staff who provide more information about the exhibition and the history behind it. Events will also include a performance from blues musician Kevin B.F. Burt, screening of the popular movie The Tuskegee Airmen, ranger tours of the Hoover prairie, presentations by Hoover Presidential Library historians, and picnic in the park.

Pearl Hogrefe Visiting Writer Series: Where Social and Environmental Justice Meet
Iowa State University, Department of English
Ames, IA

The 2019 – 2020 Pearl Hogrefe Visiting Writer Series will bring to central Iowa and the ISU campus eight writers of high reputation whose work addresses global issues of culture and environment, as well as questions of identity, race, ethnicity, and social justice. The theme for this year’s series is "Where Social & Environmental Justice Meet," which brings focus to moments of history and place where events have converged into issues of human rights, social justice, and environmental justice. 

The Influence of Women in the Film Industry
Siouxland Institute of Film
Sioux City, IA

On the eve of the 100th anniversary of passage of the 19th Amendment, the 15th annual Siouxland film festival will feature an arts education program entitled “The Influence of Women in the Film Industry.” The program will include a history of contributions made by women in film and a review of what’s happening today from women currently working in the industry. Events are designed to increase arts literacy by educating audiences about women’s contributions to filmmaking and to inspire women in the community to pursue their artistic dreams in filmmaking and other art media, because they, too, can break through the glass ceiling. The festival and women’s program will be held October 3 – 5 in Sioux City.

Summer and Fall Cultural Series
Union Pacific Museum Association
Council Bluffs, IA

In 2019, the Union Pacific Museum is reflecting upon the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad, a pivotal moment in American history. Utilizing an enhanced calendar of programming and expanded community partners, this complex history will be explored from multiple perspectives and the shared experiences of people whose personal and family histories have been touched by the railroad. The museum will explore viewpoints from the Chinese, Irish and many others who helped to build the railroad, to indigenous peoples displaced by the oncoming railroad and the ensuing conflict with the U.S. government. Programming will pay particular focus to Council Bluff's significant role in history as' Mile Zero' of the Transcontinental Railroad (as designated by President Abraham Lincoln).

Hard Won. Not Done. 19th Amendment Centennial Commemoration Kickoff
Iowa State University
Ames, IA

This grant will support a half-day event to kick off a statewide, year-long commemoration of the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees women's suffrage. The kickoff will feature a keynote address by Elaine Weiss, author of The Woman's Hour; breakout sessions on relevant topics; a performance of The Yellow Rose of Suffrage by Dr. Jane Cox; a display of suffrage memorabilia; and performances of suffrage songs and a selections from a new musical, The Suffragist. The event will be held on February 14, 2020, the centennial of the founding of the national League of Women Voters by Carrie Chapman Catt, at the Memorial Union at Iowa State University. The event will promote understanding of women's suffrage history, including the often-overlooked contributions of African American, immigrant, and working class women. It will also place the suffrage story into the larger context of the expansion of voting rights.

Middle Ground: Rediscovering Iowa and the Greater Midwest
Central College
Pella, IA

This project will introduce the public to the craft of oral history and storytelling through a podcast, website and accompanying launch events. Middle Ground: Rediscovering Iowa and the Greater Midwest is a podcast that explores the history and identity of the region through the lives and stories of individual people. The debut season explores the theme of homecoming and features eight native Iowans who left the Midwest then returned for good. Participants are asked what pulled them away, what drew them back and what they contribute now to a changing Midwest. The podcast will launch at community events in which the public is invited to hear clips of the recorded stories and to explore the themes of the podcast and the methods of oral history. Agriculture will be the theme for the second season, and additional themes include immigration, climate change, education, energy, religion, identity and more.

Resurrecting Forest Grove: Documentary Film
The Moline Foundation
Moline, IL

In 2011, the 1873 Forest Grove Schoolhouse No. 5 in Eastern Iowa near Bettendorf was in danger of collapsing in on itself. Its closure in 1957 was followed by decades of neglect. In that critical moment, a small group of local preservationists conceived a vision of a fully restored one-room school museum that would tell the story of rural education and life in 1920s Iowa. Using dramatic restoration footage gathered over a decade, "Resurrecting Forest Grove" features the ups and downs of a difficult historic preservation project. This compelling contemporary story will be combined with a fascinating glimpse of life in rural and urban Iowa during the “Roaring Twenties”--an oft overlooked era filled with dramatic political change and critical social upheaval. This grant request will fund the cost of participating scholars, and a portion of the cost of final production for this unique and important historical documentary film.

To learn more about how your non-profit organization can apply for Humanities Iowa funding assistance, please visit our Grants  page.