Recent Major Grant Awards – Fall 2017

Title of Project: The Comparison Project
Sponsoring Organization: Drake University, Des Moines
Grant: $7,900
Project Description: The Comparison Project is “a global philosophy of religion in the local Des Moines community.” Globally, its Lecture and Dialogue Series enacts an innovative approach to religiously inclusive philosophy of religion, exploring common religious themes from different religious perspectives through scholar lectures, practitioner dialogues and philosophical comparisons. Locally, its Religions of Des Moines Initiative generates informative media about religious communities in the greater Des Moines area, collaborating with local practitioners to create narrative guides, digital stories and engaging photos of their communities.

Title of Project: Heroes of Fairfield
Sponsoring Organization: Fair Field Productions, Fairfield
Grant: $9,955
Project Description: This project covers the production and local showing of the second film in an eight-part documentary series called the Fairfield History Series. "Heroes of Fairfield" brings to life ordinary Fairfielders doing extraordinary things to make a difference in our community and our world. The film highlights the accomplishments of "Auntie" Mehitable Woods, Ward Lamson, Robin Lim, local members of the “Underground Railroad” and members of the Armed Forces and Veterans. Like the first film, "Life Before Fairfield," the documentary will be free of charge to over 1,500 local residents.

Title of Project: Iowa Corridor Sangeet - A Community Collaborative
Sponsoring Organization: CARTHA, Iowa City
Grant: $10,000
Project Description: Iowa Corridor Sangeet is a grassroots effort that will bring to Iowa greater understanding of ethnic performing arts from South Asia. While the word "sangeet" means "music" in most Indian languages, its roots loosely mean "song together." In the current context, the word encompasses not only the musical arts but also the harmony created by enhanced understanding of all arts through discourse, discussion and analysis. This project will bring six artistic programs to Eastern Iowa over the next two years, consisting of music programs as well as film screenings, along with discussion with the artists, filmmakers and humanities experts. All programs will have an important educational component that includes an analysis of the art depicted, the historic evolution of the art, or the artistic evolution of the artist.

Title of Project: A Hero Among Us
Sponsoring Organization: Thaler Holocaust Education Trust, Cedar Rapids
Grant: $10,000
Project Description: This documentary tells the story of 94-year-old World War II veteran John Gualtier and Holocaust survivor Martin Weiss. John served as a medic with the 71st Infantry Division that saw intense combat as the allied Armies advanced into Germany near the close of the war. Through a series of interviews, John relates his firsthand account as a liberator of a concentration camp located in Gunskirchen Lager, Austria. As eyewitness to the Nazi atrocities, he tells of the utter shock and incomprehensible scope of tragedy that would unfold in the days and weeks ahead. Of equal importance, he explains how his life was shattered by what is now recognized as PTSD and how the power of telling one's story provided healing to his deep psychological wounds. As a survivor of Gunskirchen Lager concentration camp, Martin Weiss relates the harrowing details of a teenager who became a slave laborer for the Wehrmacht, and like John, found healing in the power of story.

Title of Project: Christmas with the Ham Family at the Mathias Ham House Historic Site
Sponsoring Organization: Dubuque County Historical Society, Dubuque
Grant: $4,653
Project Description: This project will present demonstrations, living history and interpretation of Victorian life through "Christmas with the Ham Family" at the Mathias Ham House Historic Site during the month of December 2017.

Title of Project: DuMA Contemporaries Series
Sponsoring Organization: Dubuque Museum of Art, Dubuque
Grant: $10,000
Project Description:  During 2018, the Dubuque Museum of Art (DuMA) will present a series of exhibitions and public programs featuring diverse contemporary artists and leading humanities scholars. The programs will pay special attention to cultural identity, from the perspective of race, ethnicity and gender, and the myriad art forms and media through which contemporary artists choose to express various identities, focusing on the use of icons and symbols, material culture and the spoken word. The goal of this series is to foster dialogue among members of diverse cultural groups in our community/region by using the arts and humanities to foster respect and strengthen empathy. The projects also serve to compliment and contrast with our museum’s focus on more traditional American art and Regionalism.

Title of Project: 2018 AViD
Sponsoring Organization: Des Moines Public Library Foundation, Des Moines
Grant: $5,000
Project Description: AViD (Authors Visiting in Des Moines) will offer free author events for a diverse audience of citizens from throughout Iowa. Offered by the Des Moines Public Library and the Library Foundation, AViD is a popular cultural program that transports audiences into the lives and works of significant authors and engaging and inspiring them through literary discussions. 

Title of Project: Riding the Rails to Hero Street
Sponsoring Organization: The Moline Foundation, Moline, IL
Grant: $9,000
Project Description: This grant will fund a portion of the cost of post-production (editing and finishing) for a 26-minute historical documentary film called "Riding the Rails to Hero Street." The film will tell the story of Mexican immigrants who settled in Cook's Point in Davenport, Iowa, Holy City in Bettendorf, Iowa and Silvis, Illinois (all in the Quad Cities) during and after the Mexican revolution.

Title of Project: If Objects Could Talk
Sponsoring Organization: African American Museum of Iowa, Cedar Rapids
Grant: $7,890
Project Description:  This exhibit uses three dimensional artifacts, documents and images to discuss the impact of African Americans on Iowa’s cultural landscape and highlight the rich cultural impact that they have had during the 19th and 20th centuries. The exhibit will be on display until July 27, 2018. There will also be a lecture and programming series that bring in experts to discuss the important impact of material culture in preserving and understanding African American history and culture.

*More information on specific event details can be found on the calendar.