Official State of Iowa Website Here is how you know

Iowa Great Places seeks to cultivate the local character and authentic qualities of Iowa neighborhoods, districts, communities and regions. At its core, the program embraces ‘creative placemaking’, or the approach of building upon local creative and cultural assets to build more livable communities and vibrant public places.

For guidance on community visioning or to find resources from other state agencies, view the corresponding resources

The Iowa Great Places program provides a ten-year designation as an Iowa Great Place, professional development and technical assistance resources, and competitive funding opportunities for new and existing infrastructure projects included in a vision plan and supported by a mix of partners and strategies.

How to Apply

  1. Read the 2023 Iowa Great Places Designation Guidelines
  2. View the recording of the webinar for an overview of program requirements, tips and advice on how to complete the application.
  3. Submit the application

Take a look at examples of previously submitted applications. Example applications are for reference only. Programs change from year to year so applicants should ensure they are responding to current application requirements.

Manage Your Designation

View the handbook to learn how to manage your designation, including Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) compliance and publicity. View the State Department Resources web pages for additional guidance.

Iowa Great Places Promotion

Please use the most recent versions of Iowa Great Places and Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs logos on materials promoting your Iowa Great Place. Find information on how to acknowledge the department's support in the handbook.

Annual Report

As a designee, you must complete the annual report form at the end of each calendar year and share the impact of the designation on arts and culture in Iowa.

Iowa Great Places and Projects

Interactive Iowa Great Places Map

Endorsed Iowa Great Places Projects (Current as of 1/1/2023)
The Iowa Great Places Citizen Advisory Board reviews and endorses projects on a quarterly basis taking place as part of an Iowa Great Place community’s vision. Endorsed projects may also receive additional state agency consideration. Interested applicants to other State of Iowa programs should review this list to see if their project qualifies for Iowa Great Places scoring increases.

Iowa Creative Places Profiles and Videos
View short profiles of Iowa Great Places and Iowa Cultural and Entertainment Districts. 

Grant Awards History

Displaying 1 - 20 of 46
Searches project title, applicant name, city, county, and fiscal year
Project Title Sort descending Applicant City County Fiscal year Grant Amount
3 Stars Plaza Sound System, Wayfinding Signage System, Parking Lot Enhancements and Landscaping, and Surf marquee improvements Surf District Clear Lake Cerro Gordo 2014 $101,000.00
Amazing Space Linn County Cedar Rapids Linn 2015 $475,000.00
Art is Refreshing City of Manning Manning Carroll 2022 $50,000.00
Building a Connection to the Rivers Grow Cedar Valley (Waterloo-Cedar Falls) Waterloo Black Hawk 2021 $150,000.00
Central Park Improvements and Downtown Entrance Enhancements City of Grinnell Grinnell Poweshiek 2015 $200,000.00
Chris Larsen Park Redevelopment Project City of Sioux City Sioux City Woodbury 2021 $400,000.00
Clive Greenbelt City of Clive Clive Polk 2022 $75,000.00
Downtown Riverfront Improvements City of Burlington Burlington Des Moines 2019 $300,000.00
Even More Things to Do with a River View City of Clinton Clinton Clinton 2020 $248,000.00
Expanding Arts & Opportunities City of Forest City Forest City Winnebago 2017 $157,000.00
Fort Dodge Historic Downtown Gateway Features Hamilton-Webster Counties Fort Dodge Hamilton, Webster 2015 $125,000.00
Gateway to Chichaqua City of Bondurant Bondurant Polk 2017 $220,200.00
Gateway to Recreation: West Union to Echo Valley State Park Trail City of West Union West Union Fayette 2022 $75,000.00
Grinnell Veterans Memorial Building Campaign - Prairie Star Veteran Artist Residency City of Grinnell Grinnell Poweshiek 2021 $300,000.00
Hardacre Theater Restoration Planning Cedar County Development Foundation Tipton Cedar 2023 $77,850.00
Harvester II Arts & Culture Center Pottawattamie Arts, Culture & Entertainment Council Bluffs Pottawattamie 2018 $400,000.00
Iconic Stone Structures City of Decorah Decorah Winneshiek 2019 $155,000.00
Interpretive Signage & River's Edge Discovery Center Exhibits Webster County Fort Dodge Webster 2023 $300,000.00
Jen Jensen Park Danish Villages Elk Horn Shelby 2014 $650,000.00
John Wayne Birthplace Museum and Trail Madison County Winterset Madison 2017 $41,500.00