Gov. Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Gregg visit Albia to celebrate Iowa culture
Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg issued a proclamation Tuesday in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Iowa Arts Council and the 160th anniversary of the State Historical Society of Iowa. The event on Albia’s town square, outside the historic Monroe County Courthouse, is part of the governor’s 99 county tour and caps off National Arts and Humanities Month, a coast-to-coast celebration of art, history and culture.
Nationally, arts and cultural industries drive an economic engine that generates $730 billion annually and employs some 4.8 million American workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. In Iowa, nearly 6,000 arts organizations employ 23,000 people – a number that jumps to 73,000 when all creative fields are counted.
“The more we invest in our cultural assets, the stronger and more vibrant our communities will be,” Gov. Reynolds said. “Enhancing our quality of life can help boost our economy, but it’s important to remember that cultural assets are valuable for more intangible reasons, too. Iowa’s unique mix of art and history define who we are and why we’re so proud to call this place home.”
The Iowa Arts Council was established in 1967 and works in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts to cultivate creativity, learning and participation in the arts in Iowa by providing access to arts experiences in communities in every corner of the state.
The State Historical Society of Iowa was founded in 1857, when the state itself was just 11 years old. The society manages more than 200 million pieces of history spread across its museum in Des Moines, research centers in Des Moines and Iowa City and eight historic sites across the state. The society also displays some of its artifacts in a mobile museum, housed in a custom-built Winnebago RV, which rolled into Albia Tuesday for the governor’s proclamation and stuck around for Halloween trick-or-treaters.
Both divisions are part of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, which is celebrating their anniversaries with an array of events and activities through the end of the year, including:
• A free lecture series about the intersection of Iowa’s art and history.
Learn about Iowa State University sculptor Christian Petersen on Nov. 2 at the State Historical Museum, world-famous painter Grant Wood on Nov. 9 at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art and Iowa-born baseball star and speaker Billy Sunday on Nov. 16 at the State Historical Museum.
• A weekly series of social media posts featuring rare artifacts from the State Historical Society of Iowa’s collection.
Search the hashtag #IowaHistory160 on Instagram and Facebook to see a pair of President Abraham Lincoln’s reading glasses, Kate Shelley’s lantern and Maytag’s last wringer washer from Newton.
• Fifty unique stories about Iowa artists and arts organizations, posted daily on Facebook with the hashtag #IowaArts50.
• The sixth annual Celebrate Iowa Gala on Dec. 8 at the State Historical Museum of Iowa.
This year’s showcase of Iowa art, history and cuisine features commissioned artwork from Iowa Arts Fellow Brent Holland, live music from Annalibera, the Damani Phillips Trio and the Parranderos Latin Combo and a living wax museum of famous Iowans, presented by young historians from Urbandale’s Webster Elementary School.
Before and after the governor’s proclamation in Albia, officials from the Department of Cultural Affairs met with local leaders to discuss local quality-of-life projects that could benefit from state grants, professional guidance and other resources. Proposals for Albia include collaborative efforts to renovate a historic theater, develop recreational trails and build a monument to honor military veterans.