Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Changing landscapes in Iowa, and How They Could Affect the Arts

While this article itself is not related directly to the arts, it indirectly could affect the entire arts landscape in Iowa, and the entire midwest, as the trends are similar across the plains. I encourage you to read it.

The concept is simple: People are moving out of small, rural farming towns and into larger, more developed areas. And at a massively alarming rate- higher in Iowa by far than in any of the other midwestern states. This has two implications for the arts. First, it means that there could be “more” audience, or “new” audiences, for the performing arts already happening there. Access to the arts has traditionally been known to be sparse in some of the most remote, rural areas, and the amount of access to arts in the larger cities in Iowa (and the midwest) has been increasing along with the population. This means that arts organizations should consider what kind of programs appeal to this new population in their direct area, and consider how to reach them.

The article also mentions a rise in the Hispanic population in these areas; again, the same concept can apply. Build programming to meet the needs of your [new] audience.

Secondly, if small farming towns are becoming few and far between, and the political issues in Iowa surrounding farming and subsidies are such hot topics, funding needs across the state need to be kept in consideration. Will the state decide to cut arts funding in order to take care of these other pressing issues over the coming years? In a state like Iowa, historically driven by crops and agriculture, there are as many, if not more, people that far more appreciate those issues than would consider raising or growing funding for the arts. However, in the interest of those moving to the urban areas, the argument can absolutely be made for the arts that more funding is needed to reach these new audiences.

What do you think?


One comment on “Changing landscapes in Iowa, and How They Could Affect the Arts

  1. Jenni
    October 25, 2014

    I think you’re right that it really does open the door for arts organizations to reach a whole new audience. The challenge will be to find a way to engage these new people early and often. When you first move to a new area and are getting settled in, it is often a crucial window of time for you to find places you are interested in going to and making them part of your scene. I know I get into habits pretty quickly, and I tend to revisit the same places once I’m comfortable with them. So, if these arts organizations can find a way to engage the new audiences when they are first encountering the area, they may be able to engender some loyalty. Also, if the hispanic population is growing, they could consider bi-lingual signage, advertising, and even programming.

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