Arts-Based Community Development Grant Awarded

Northeast Iowa RC&D one of 69 National Endowment for the Arts Our Town projects selected nationwide

POSTVILLE, IOWANational Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu announced 69 Our Town awards totaling almost $5 million through the Our Town program’s fifth year of funding. Northeast Iowa Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) is one of those recommended organizations and will receive $75,000 to support the development and construction of public art in communities along Iowa scenic byways.

The Our Town grant program supports creative placemaking projects that help to transform communities into lively, beautiful, and resilient places with the arts at their core. Since the program’s inception in 2011 and including these projects, the NEA will have awarded 325 Our Town grants totaling almost $26 million in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. This is the only Iowa project awarded this year.

This project will introduce creative placemaking strategies and facilitate community workshops for city officials, residents, scenic byway boards, local arts organizations, local artists, and schools to identify public art concepts that reflect each community’s identity and stimulate cultural tourism. Artists will be selected to create public art based on concepts articulated by the community. Northeast Iowa RC&D will work with 6-10 communities in six Northeast Iowa Counties to develop the public art concepts and select artists. They will also help other RC&Ds across Iowa with similar projects along 10 Iowa Byways.

“Northeast Iowa RC&D demonstrates the best in creative community development and their work will have a valuable impact on its community,” said Chairman Chu. “Through Our Town funding, arts organizations continue to spark vitality that supports neighborhoods and public spaces, enhancing a sense of place for residents and visitors alike.”

Mallory Marlatt, Project Coordinator for Northeast Iowa RC&D, will be leading this statewide project. She will also be working with communities along two byways in Jones, Jackson, and Delaware Counties. RC&D Scenic Byway Coordinator Jared Nielsen will be working with communities along the Driftless Area Scenic Byway in Allamakee County (including Postville, Iowa) and the River Bluffs Scenic Byway in Fayette and Clayton Counties. “We are all excited about the opportunity to showcase the unique attributes of our byway communities through experiential art. We can’t wait to work with the local artists to develop concepts that will truly enhance the byway experience,” said Nielsen.

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Our Town grant support, please visit the NEA web site at Project descriptions, grants listed by state and by project type, and resources are available as well. The NEA’s online resource, Exploring Our Town, features case studies of more than 70 Our Town projects along with lessons learned and other resources.

Twitter Hashtag: #NEAOurTown15

Northeast Iowa RC&D’s mission is to recognize opportunities and provide leadership to make our region a vibrant, place-based model for the nation! For more information about Northeast Iowa RC&D, please visit: