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Investment in the Arts is the Foundation for Building Vibrant Communities

In Iowa’s Creative Corridor, we are fortunate to enjoy an excellent quality of life. That is largely due to the abundance of arts and culture in our community.

Nestled in America’s Heartland, Iowa’s Creative Corridor is the region along I-380 in east central Iowa including Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and more than two dozen other municipalities. The Corridor is home to hundreds of arts organizations, multiple higher education facilities, nearly 30 Fortune 500 companies, and more than a dozen international organizations.

Iowa’s Creative Corridor brings innovation to the world through a unique fusion of art, science, and technology. Examples range from artistic endeavors like the world-famous Iowa Writers’ Workshop, which has resulted in 28 Pulitzer Prizes, to Rockwell Collins, a company that supplies the nation with aviation and information technology systems for defense and commercial avionics markets.

We live in a global economy where creativity is a key driver. The ability to attract and retain skilled employees is a central issue for businesses today. An increasing number of people choose where they want to live first and find a job in that area. Quality of life has never been so important to attracting talent, and the arts are significant to creating a quality of life that people seek out. In addition, the arts support inclusion in our communities by bringing people of diverse backgrounds together for shared experiences and by celebrating what makes us each unique and different.

Representing more than 150 arts organizations, the Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance (ICCA) nurtures a sustainable cultural community in Iowa’s Creative Corridor through advocacy, promotion, professional development, and raising awareness of arts and culture opportunities. In a region with a spirit of creative innovation, ICCA works to foster collaboration within the arts community, as well as between arts organizations and the business community.

ICCA works with economic development organizations and local businesses to develop initiatives that connect residents and visitors with the arts community. One of the resources offered through ICCA is a central website with information about cultural opportunities in the region, CulturalCorridor.org. The website provides background, contact information, and links to the arts and culture organizations in the Corridor. The website also features a community calendar with thousands of events to choose from.

In today’s hyper-connected, highly-customized world, I truly believe arts and culture are the most important tools to ensuring growth in our communities. When you observe the cities, both big and small, who are doing it right, they all have a flourishing arts sector.

They recognize that successful economic development and community revitalization starts with a quality of life, which means a significant and well-supported arts scene. An investment in the arts is the foundation for building a vibrant community for future generations.

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