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October 2012

Let the arts begin: 20 new arts and cultural projects get green light funding from Mediacom

Seven years, 100 grants, and more than $225,000 in financial support. Those are the numbers behind a Dubuque-specific initiative created by Mediacom to annually encourage local arts and cultural organizations to develop new or enhanced ways for local residents to enjoy a wide range of performing and visual arts experiences.

But statistics don't describe the impact of 100 grants that have funded all or portions of projects that brought a local artist's Welcome Sculpture to the Carnegie Stout Public Library; created the Community Flow mural at the Multicultural Family Center; expanded Art Therapy programs for children and young adults with disabilities; brought artists-in-residence to K-12 classrooms; made it possible for the Dubuque Chorale and Dubuque Symphony Orchestra to provide free community performances.

This week, Mediacom announced the latest recipients of its Dubuque Arts and Cultural Grants, awarding more than $29,000 to 20 local non-profit organizations. Grantees are local non-profit organizations that will use financial support from the Mediacom Cultural Foundation to offer a variety of music, dance, film and cultural experiences to be staged in 2013. The financial awards range in size from $500 to $2,500.

"We are especially pleased that many of the projects focus on youth, giving elementary and high school students interesting ways to explore music and theater," said Mediacom Production Manager James Barefoot. "For summer activities, these grants will support theater productions for both high school students and younger kids. During the school year, students will experience art in new ways when performers from Opera Iowa bring a residency program to local elementary schools, and Clarke University's drama department stages a youth theater performance at area middle schools."

The complete list of recipients for Mediacom's 2012-2013 Arts & Cultural Grant program appears below. New to the list is Healing Moments, a local non-profit that requested $2,000 to fund a special project that combines healing and art in an original theater performance, The Forgiving and The Forgetting. The play will premier in conjunction with a dementia care education conference scheduled in Dubuque in November of 2013. A second performance will be presented to the general public to bring attention to Alzheimer's Awareness Month.

A range of arts grants give support to projects that encourage children and youth to engage in theater, music and dance. The Dubuque City Youth Ballet received a $2,500 grant for its performance of an original ballet, Bellissimo! The grant will help the Youth Ballet purchase or make costumes, sets, and props. For seven consecutive years, Bell Tower Productions has been a recipient of Mediacom grants to help fund its annual "kids-for-kids" summer theater productions. The Dubuque County Fine Arts Society is the other organization that has earned grant support each year to sponsor a portion of the annual DubuqueFest.

Connie Twining is co-owner of Outside the Lines Art Gallery and serves as a community representative to the Mediacom Cultural Foundation Board. In this role, she is part of the group that reviews proposals and selects projects to receive grants. "The idea of providing this kind of Foundation to support local arts and culture began in early 2006 when Dubuque was experiencing a renaissance in community vitality," Twining said. "Mediacom made a commitment to contribute to local cultural offerings, and it has done so every year in a very tangible and meaningful way. It's been a joy to work with the Foundation and see fresh new ideas emerge each year from local organizations that keep the arts flourishing and enhance our community."

The Mediacom Cultural Foundation was created in 2006 after Mediacom's local management team assessed ways the company could re-invest a portion of its resources to help Dubuque build on assets that make it an attractive community. Leading the effort was Kathleen McMullen, a Dubuque native and cable industry veteran who recently retired as Mediacom's senior operations manager.

The Mediacom Cultural Foundation relies on a partnership with the Dubuque Community Foundation to manage a process in which nonprofit organizations submit grant proposals for special arts and cultural projects that directly benefit Dubuque area residents. Last year Mediacom's financial support surpassed the $200,000 mark, and this year, the cumulative number of awarded grants reached 100.

LIST OF 2012-2013 grant recipients
Mediacom Arts & Cultural Grants:

Bell Tower Productions: $1,000, production support for Disney's Beauty and the Beast, - the 8th Annual Summer Kids for Kids Musical (July 2013).

Clarke University: $1,000, support for the drama department's production of a children's play, Cootie Shots, to be performed in 14 area elementary and middle schools (March 2013).

Dubuque Arts Center: $1,000, support for family art series workshops in visual arts, digital arts, and folk art.

Dubuque Arts Council: $1,500, support for the Artist-in-Residence Frieda Lee, a Chicago music educator and performing artists. Lee will bring "Let's Talk Jazz" to local schools during a celebration of Black History Month (February 2013).

Dubuque Chorale: $2,000, support for "Legacy of the British Isles," a concert and multimedia presentation. This will combine chorale music with an oral and media presentation delivered by historical experts and descendents of Dubuque's early settlers.

Dubuque City Youth Ballet: $2,500, support for the performance of Bellissimo!, an original ballet to be performed by DCYB at the Grand Opera House (April 2013).

Dubuque County Fine Arts Society: $1,000, support for the 36th Annual Dubuque Fest Fine Arts Festival.

Dubuque Fire Pipes & Drums: $500; support for purchase of uniform accessories.

Dubuque Museum of Art: $1,000, support for creation of a dedicated gallery space to showcase artwork of students attending Dubuque Community Schools (all ages).

Dubuque Symphony Orchestra: $2,000, support to provide a free community concert at the Arboretum.

Eisenhower PTO: $1,000, support for the production of Willy Wonka as an extra-curricular arts enrichment project for 4th and 5th grade students at Eisenhower Elementary School.

Grand Opera House: $2,000, support for Opera Iowa's 5-day residency in Dubuque schools, with children's opera performance of The Three Little Pigs.

Healing Moments: $2,000, support for premier of original theater performance, The Forgiving and The Forgetting. (November 2013)

Hills & Dales Child Development Center: $500, support for Art & Therapy program.

Julien International Film Festival Dubuque: $2,000, support for a four-day film festival in downtown Dubuque with film screenings, art-related programming and cultural celebrations.

Multicultural Family Center: $1,000, support for educational and interactive performance by members of the Ho-Chunk Nation in Benton, WI to celebrate Native American Heritage Month.

Quilts of Valor Foundation: $2,000, support for program in which local volunteers honor those touched by war by creating quilts that are presented to specific local veterans.

Rising Star Theater Company: $2,000, support for a summer theatre show, Snoopy, to be produced by high school students.

Society for Preservation & Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet, Dubuque Chapter: $1,500, support to bring a nationally known college quartet to Dubuque to perform with the Music Men A Cappella Barbershop Chorus.

Tri-State Wind Symphony: $1,921, to support purchase of new percussion equipment and hiring of a videographer.


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