Recent Major Grant Awards – Fall/Winter 2021

Title of Project: 2022 Avid
Sponsoring Organization: Des Moines Public Library Foundation, Des Moines
Grant: $5,000
Project Description: AViD (Authors Visiting in Des Moines) is a highly respected state-wide cultural program. Each year, authors with national and international reputations are brought to Des Moines to speak about their writing. Authors are selected from a diverse array of genres and chosen to appeal to a broad adult audience, stimulate critical thinking, deepen understanding, and develop a greater appreciation of the human condition and the written word.

Title of Project: The Blues of Eddie Bowles
Sponsoring Organization: University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls
Grant: $6,850
Project Description: “The Blues of Eddie Bowles” is a multi-faceted project exploring the work and life of Cedar Falls-based blues guitarist, Eddie Bowles (1885-1985). Through a series of linked projects and events (a museum exhibit, a “Best of Eddie Bowles” album release, an augmented reality historical tour of Eddie Bowles’s Cedar Falls, and a Midwinter Blues Getaway weekend), this project uses both traditional and digital humanities approaches to mark Bowles’s historical influence.

Title of Project: Parsons Project
Sponsoring Organization: Fairfield Productions, Fairfield
Grant: $ 10,000
Project Description: This project encompasses the production and post-production phases of the film “Parsons”, including interviews, archive digitization, music, editing, script monitoring, as well as the showing of the film ”Parsons” and formal and informal Q+A sessions for both young and old Fairfield community members.

Title of Project: The North End
Sponsoring Organization: University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls
Grant: $10,000
Project Description: The North End is a 60-minute pioneering documentary about the lost places of a predominantly African American neighborhood in Waterloo, Iowa. Through the memories of residents, it reconstructs the importance of this area to the history of Waterloo and Iowa. Through this, the documentary will explore the economic and cultural history of Waterloo, the legacy of which continues today. The documentary forms part of a groundbreaking project on the history of Waterloo, called Waterloo: A History of Place. The finished documentary will be available for community screenings and discussions on diversity and for educational distribution to public libraries, schools, and higher education institutions.

Title of Project: Charlie Hunter & Kurt Elling: A Panel and Performance
Sponsoring Organization: Summer of the Arts
Grant: $5,000
Project Description: This grant encompasses two events. The first is a panel discussion featuring guitarist Charlie Hunter and jazz vocalist Kurt Elling speaking with University of Iowa scholars. The conversation will focus on how jazz is defined in relation to other musical forms, and new approaches to classic jazz compositions. The title of the panel is: The Boundaries Of and In Jazz. The second is a headliner performance by Hunter and Elling at the 2022 Iowa City Jazz Festival. Excitement around these legends abounds because of Hunter’s genre-defying guitar playing combined with Elling’s innovative jazz lyricism.

Title of Project: Refugees and Immigrants in Iowa
Sponsoring Organization: Iowa City Foreign Relations Council, Iowa City
Grant: $9,530
Project Description: This project’s aim is to raise the voices and share the stories of refugees and immigrants who come to Iowa in order to help our communities to better understand and connect with each other, foster social justice and equality, and develop more informed, thoughtful, empathetic citizens. This project will consist of six free educational programs featuring representatives of ethnic-based community organizations, scholars and artists to discuss issues that affect refugees and immigrants across Iowa. The educational programs will be livestreamed and will be available online after airing; and a final project report will be widely disseminated.

Title of Project: Neil Berg Broadway Holiday
Sponsoring Organization: The Dubuque Arts Council, Dubuque
Grant: $7,700
Project Description: The Dubuque Arts Council will host Neil Berg’s Holiday Broadway Show as one of its Special Events on December 11, 2021. The appearance by the Berg troupe will have three components: 1) Berg, together with seasoned Broadway performers, will entertain a Dubuque community audience with selections from Broadway musicals, holiday-themed songs by contemporary artists, and beloved classic holiday tunes; 2) Rita Harvey, a Dubuque native and the show's principal soprano, will engage with audience members in a pre-show talk back session, sharing her journey to The Great White Way; and 3) Ms. Harvey will conduct a Master Class for a select group of high school voice students.

Title of Project: Iowa Environmental Council
Sponsoring Organization: Iowa Environmental Council, Des Moines
Grant: $10,000
Project Description: Iowa’s water is in a state of crisis, and the public narratives around water quality in Iowa have become intractable. The issue has been framed as environmentalist vs. farmer and urban vs. rural, but the situation in local communities is more nuanced than a two-sided narrative. This project utilizes a storytelling approach to facilitate dialogue and discussion, listening for and creating new possibilities and new connections among people and water. We will bring together diverse communities within impaired watersheds to explore solutions through storytelling, connecting agricultural workers and family farmers, rural and urban dwellers, Native American tribes and suburban landowners. Through a series of constructive encounters, we will craft new narratives and new relationships, all toward a healthier and more just environment in Iowa.