|Showcasing State Arts Agency Ingenuity|
Job Creation Grants
To bolster the state's creative economy, the Iowa Arts Council (IAC) directly invests in the creation of new jobs critical to cultural vitality. Through its Job Creation Grants program, IAC provides one-year awards, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, to help cover the salaries, wages and benefits of newly created positions with organizations in the cultural sector. Eligible positions can be full-time, part-time or contract, but must be with 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, tribal councils, or local or county government agencies. They also must pay at least $14.50/hour (200% of the federal minimum wage). Since Job Creation Grants is an incubator program, IAC does not provide funds for existing positions, and it requires a one-to-one matching commitment. This program is an example of a state arts agency addressing a top state policy priority—job creation—through an arts grant strategy that also fosters cultural, community and economic development. To learn more, contact IAC Grants Manager Linda Lee.
Community Scholars Program
Part of the Kentucky Arts Council's (KAC) effort to foster the state's cultural assets is to train citizens how to document, interpret and share their community's cultural heritage. Through its Community Scholars Program, KAC empowers local communities to preserve and celebrate Kentucky's art and culture. KAC holds training sessions throughout the state twice a year to certify new Community Scholars, and it organizes periodic professional development opportunities for them. Community Scholars are ambassadors for Kentucky culture and for KAC and its efforts to support the arts and artists. The Kentucky Community Scholar title is recognized and honored not only by KAC, but by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, the Kentucky Oral History Commission and the Kentucky Heritage Council. To date, the program has trained more than 200 Community Scholars, who have used their skills to develop exhibits, festival presentations, on-line community guides, and interactive cell-phone walking tours that celebrate southern heritage and the people and places of Kentucky. To find out more, contact KAC Folk and Traditional Arts Program Director Mark Brown.
Creative Communities Initiative
In a display of on-the-spot creativity to raise awareness of revitalization efforts, portraits of local artists, business owners and neighbors cover a building about to undergo a major renovation in the Mid City area of Baton Rouge. Image courtesy of Louisiana Division of the Arts Cultural Economy Initiative Program Manager Gaye Hamilton
This summer, the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development (OCD), the parent agency of the Louisiana Division of the Arts (LDOA), is building the capacity of Louisiana community leaders to undertake place-based cultural, community and economic development projects. Through OCD's Creative Communities Initiative, leaders from 10 communities are working with coaches trained by The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking to realize community-specific place-making goals related to supporting artists, arts entrepreneurs and the creative economy. The participating leaders—including elected officials and arts professionals—hail from communities large and small, including parishes, cultural districts and Main Street districts. Between March and September, coaches are meeting with local leaders every few weeks for trainings and advisory sessions. Ultimately, each community team will produce a cost-effective and sustainable strategic plan. In addition, each team that completes the program will receive a $3,000 seed grant from OCD for plan implementation. OCD sees the Creative Communities Initiative, which it launched this year, as a way to harness place-making approaches to make communities better through, and for, the arts. Contact LDOA Cultural Economy Initiative Program Manager Gaye Hamilton for additional information.