New Arts Organization Launches in Pottawattamie County
(Council Bluffs, IA) – The Board of Directors of a new arts organization is announcing the formation of their nonprofit, fittingly named Pottawattamie Arts, Culture & Entertainment or PACE. The mission of the newly formed 501(c)(3) is to strengthen, develop and promote art, cultural, and historical institutions, organizations, and activities in Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County.
“PACE involves the concept of connecting strong community members that are focused on arts and culture in Council Bluffs and surrounding areas and bringing them together as one,” said PACE Board President, Emma Chance. We believe that when people connects with the arts, everyone’s lives are enriched, and we’re committed to building a robust cultural environment to make that possible.”
The announcement follows extensive community outreach efforts on behalf of an Iowa West Foundation initiative over the past three years to gather input from area arts and museum providers.
“Our strategic planning sessions with the arts community revealed a strong consensus that the highest need in Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County was an arts and culture organization that would showcase our history, provide high-quality performance space and offer education opportunities for all ages,” said Pete Tulipana, President, and CEO of the Iowa West Foundation. “Out of that also came a plea for a champion to take the lead, and the Iowa West Foundation Board of Directors agreed to provide initial funding for the arts initiative.”
Thus far, the Foundation has committed $2 million to PACE. Tulipana said it includes operating funds for the first five years as well as a commitment toward the capital costs of a future arts and culture center.
PACE Interim Executive Director Judy Davis said one of the main concerns identified by community groups was that the current arts delivery system had many small, often underfunded organizations with few resources and facilities that were in desperate need of updating. In addition, limited coordination between and among the institutions created a disjointed arts community that was not fully addressing the needs of the community.
“Our umbrella organization will be able to offer a more sustainable future for the arts, with more funding sources and opportunities going forward,” Davis said. “We plan to manage facility needs, funding, conservation of artifacts and so much more. We also aim to expand educational programs aimed at children, including afterschool and summer programs, as well as visual and performing arts offerings, and possibly something in culinary arts as well.”
The Board foresees some organizations merging under PACE, while others will be connected and integrated on different aspects of operation like accounting and volunteer databases. The scope will be further reviewed and fine-tuned by PACE and interested organizations over the next year.
One of the first things PACE looks to do is study the possibility of an arts and culture center that would be located in Council Bluffs. Focus groups made up of arts and culture community leaders in the region will be conducted later this month to further define programming needs for the arts and culture center.
“The arts need a home in our city that we can be proud of,” Chance said. “Such an arts and culture center would need to be flexible enough to accommodate live music, drama performances, and exhibition space, in addition to other opportunities while serving as a hub for fund development, marketing, ticket sales and more. We’re very excited about the possibilities.”
Other PACE board members include Nikki Tiarks – Vice President, Tom Whitson – Treasurer, Ted Hoff – Secretary, Kathleen Pyper – Member at Large, Patti Hannan, Danna Kehm, Dick Miller, John Nelson, Chris Russell, Gayle Strickland and Mike Wolf as well as Ex-Officio members Scott Belt and Wendy Schultz.
Pottawattamie County is where history, entertainment, arts and culture are valued and creativity thrives. There’s much happening now and even more to come. This is our commitment to today and our intention for tomorrow. We believe that when our community— young and old — connects with the arts, everyone’s lives are enriched. We’re committed to building a robust cultural environment to make that possible. We know the arts can help to fuel a community and together, we’re taking a thoughtful approach to how we grow. Whether it’s discovering our rich history, exploring our own creativity or participating in a community production, we invite the community to join us as we transform the arts and our future.
For more information, visit PACEartsIOWA.org
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