Iowa Arts Council

The mission of the Iowa Arts Council is to empower Iowa to build and sustain culturally vibrant communities by cultivating creativity, learning and participation in the arts. The Arts Council strives to create opportunities for the arts to flourish in Iowa by nurturing cultural leadership and investing in projects that provide access to arts experiences in communities and public spaces throughout Iowa.

Creative Aging Profile

The Family Folk Machine, supported by a major grant from the Iowa Arts Council, is engaged in a songwriting project in collaboration with the Awful Purdies, an eclectic folk-based quintet of female multi-instrumentalists. The Family Folk Machine is an inter-generational, non-auditioned choir supported by the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center that welcomes kids and adults of all ages and backgrounds to sing together with a folk band.

During Fall 2016 the Family Folk Machine has been gathering stories from Folk Machinists, Senior Center groups, and community members using the Story Circle technique developed by the Awful Purdies. In January and February, the Awful Purdies will lead the Family Folk Machine in a series of songwriting workshops, using images or phrases from these stories as song seeds. The project culminates in a joint Family Folk Machine/Awful Purdies concert on Saturday, June 3 at the Iowa Arts Fest.

Future Agency Initiatives 

The Iowa Arts Council, in partnership with the State Library of Iowa, has applied for an Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership Sparks Grant for Libraries to develop the Iowa Arts Learning in Libraries Initiative. This one-year pilot project will build relationships between public libraries located in communities with populations of 2,500 or less with area nonprofit arts organizations to engage older adults in free participatory, skill-based arts classes that meet their creative, cognitive, and social needs. Through this project, the State Library of Iowa and the Iowa Arts Council will adapt the Creative Aging Toolkit for Public Libraries for use in rural communities.

List of Agency Resources & Tools

  • Art Project Grants create opportunities for the arts to flourish in Iowa by investing in projects that positively impact the vitality of the arts in the state, demonstrate public value and support Iowa Arts Council funding priorities. Eligible art projects must involve the creation and presentation of an original work of art, arts experience or arts learning opportunity and must demonstrate public value to Iowans through a deliberate public engagement and access to project activities. Types of eligible projects include exhibitions, expositions, fairs, festivals and community events or activities dedicated to the arts. Art Project Grants have the ability to support creative aging initiatives that connect older Iowans to lifelong learning  and skill-building opportunities across the spectrum of artistic disciplines.

 

  • Cultural Heritage Project Grants create opportunities for cultural growth in Iowa by investing in community projects that positively impact the cultural vitality of the state, demonstrate public value and support quality jobs for Iowans.  Cultural heritage is defined as the ways of living developed by a community and passed on from generation to generation, including: customs, practices, places, objects, artistic expressions and values. Eligible community projects must involve the presentation of a cultural heritage experience or learning opportunity and must demonstrate public value to Iowans through a deliberate public engagement and access to project activities. Cultural Heritage Project Grants have the ability to support creative aging initiatives that celebrate the diversity and multi-generational cultural traditions of Iowa communities.

Demographics

In 2015, 16.1% of Iowans were 65 and older, and that percentage is expected to grow to 19.9% by 2050. The percentage of rural Iowans 65 and older is even more notable. According to the 2010 census, an average of 18.9% of rural residents are 65 and older.

Creative Aging Point Person

Jennie Knoebel, Arts Learning Manager

Jennie Knoebel has been working as the Arts Learning Manager for the Iowa Arts Council (IAC) since September 2016. Her role has been to evaluate and redesign IAC’s arts learning programs and initiatives and help facilitate professional development opportunities for arts nonprofits. Prior to joining the IAC, Knoebel was the Executive Director for the Austin Area Commission for the Arts (AACA) in Austin, MN. She started the position in 2011 by overseeing operations and programming at the Historic Paramount Theatre. During her tenure, Knoebel expanded AACA’s programming to include an annual citywide arts festival and a new arts center that opened in a secondary location. Knoebel also developed “Creative Aging in Mower County Libraries, " an arts learning partnership with the Mower County Public Libraries that brought free creative aging classes to senior citizens and was supported by Minnesota Department of Education Library Services and Technology Act.