Iowa City Public Art Program opens new round of matching funds

Overseen by the Public Art Advisory Committee, the Iowa City Public Art Program has opened applications for the latest round of public art matching grants, which will offer up to $3,000 for Iowa City artists.


Parker Jones, Arts Editor

Up to $3,000 in grants will be available to eligible artists following the announcement of a new round of public art matching funds.

Open to any artists looking to pursue publicly accessible visual, audio, or performance-based projects locally, the Iowa City Public Art Program’s matching funds program, started in 2015, was initially designed to increase the total number of smaller or temporary public art projects.

Marcia Bollinger, public art coordinator and the representative for the city’s Public Art Advisory Committee, said the smaller scale allows the committee to fund many projects, big and small, rather than spending limited funding on only a few large projects.

Individual artists and organizations can apply. Both are expected to match the amount they are allotted by the advisory committee, using their own funding to cover the rest of the project.

“It allows our funding to go further when it’s being matched by the artist,” Bollinger said.

The Public Art Program holds two funding rounds each year, unless there is still money available after the second round, in which a third round would be held.

RELATED: A new online registry from the Iowa City Public Art Program aims to give local artists more exposure

Andrea Truitt, a member of the Public Art Advisory Committee as well as the community relations manager at Summer of the Arts, wrote in an email to The Daily Iowan that the primary goal of the matching grants is to help artists bring their work to fruition, and to allow the community to interact with the art.

“These grants are a key way in which the Public Art Advisory Committee can help to encourage arts access in our area for both makers and viewers,” Truitt wrote.

One organization that has received matching funds in the past is Public Space One, which is helping some individual artists gain funding again this year.

John Englebrecht, executive director of Public Space One and a former member of the Public Art Advisory Committee, said Public Space One’s mission coincides with that of the Iowa City’s Public Art Program.

He noted that the matching funds help accomplish this, mainly by expanding the local audience for art in general, in a way that efficiently utilizes limited funding.

“For Iowa City to have these matching funds, I think it’s a really good way to leverage all the creative projects that are happening in the city, with their current capacity as a public art program,” Englebrecht said. “I think this program does a really good way of leveraging what are pretty small resources in a broad way.”

Submissions are being taken until Feb. 25. A list of eligibility requirements can be found on the Public Art Program website.