At the (IDCA) Iowa Department of Cultural Affair’s 2020 Virtual Iowa Arts Summit on August 7, 2020, Northeast Iowa RC&D was honored with the Governor’s Arts Award for their “Byways of Iowa Public Art Initiative”. The RC&D was one of three recipients selected by a panel of Iowa Arts and Culture professionals from around the state for this bi-annual award. Each recipient was recognized for their efforts to enrich Iowa communities with creative projects. The RC&D was congratulated by Governor Kim Reynolds who shared her thoughts via video on the importance of the arts, especially during the pandemic. She said, “The arts help us feel connected even when we’re physically apart…Your work, as creative entrepreneurs, is vital to our state’s success. I’m proud to partner with IDCA to celebrate Iowans who are leading the way. The 2020 Iowa arts award winners have made a difference in their communities and raised the bars for the entire state.” The City of Malvern and Mary Ellen Kimball were also 2020 Iowa Arts Award recipients for their contributions to forward arts and culture in the State.
The Governor’s Art Award recognized the Byways of Iowa Public Art Initiative, a multi-year project in which the RC&D worked with local communities and artists to create 17 public art installations along Iowa’s Byways. Each of the art installations was selected by members of the public to capture the unique culture and character of the rural communities and Byways where they are located. The project began with the desire to expand cultural and artistic experiences along Iowa’s Byways and was made possible thanks to support from the Byways of Iowa Foundation, Casey’s General Stores, Iowa DOT, Iowa Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, and over 100 organizations and businesses throughout the State of Iowa who raised over a quarter of a million dollars to invest in Iowa’s communities.
“Our project was inspired by seeing the effect of a large public art installation along the River Bluffs Scenic Byway in Fayette County – the Eagle’s Nest. It changed the experience for people driving the byways. Now five years later, we look forward to seeing travelers exploring all of Iowa’s Byways to visit these unique public art pieces.” said Mallory Hanson, Regional Tourism & Economic Development Coordinator for Northeast Iowa RC&D.
“We are grateful to the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and the Governor for this incredible honor,” said RC&D Executive Director Paul Berland. “We are proud to have played a hand in the success of this project and happy to see several of these art pieces installed right here along Northeast Iowa’s Scenic Byways.” Of the 17 art pieces, the Driftless Area and River Bluffs Scenic Byways were leaders in partnering with communities to raise funding in order to host one of these art pieces. These communities include Waukon, Postville, Elgin, Eldorado, Elkader, and Guttenberg. Visit www.bywaysofiowa.org/art to learn more about the project and preview the unique art pieces or plan your own trip by visiting traveliowa.com/getinspireddetails/art-tour-on-iowa-s-byways/398/.