New Legion Arts lands $35,000 grant for neighborhood program

The Cedar Rapids Gazette
Aug. 18, 1995
Gazette staff reports

New Legion Arts lands $35,000 grant for neighborhood program

The Legion Arts Inc., the new name for the umbrella organization based at CSPS, has landed a $35,000 grant from the Northwest Area Foun­dation in St. Paul, Minn., to help set up a pilot neighborhood pro­gram in Wellington Heights.

The Northwest grant, given by a private railroad foundation that funds projects in several states, will be used to establish an art program within the new 16th Street Revitalization project. Legion Arts has become a member of that project, which aims to create affordable housing and community pride. Also involved are the Metro Area Housing Program (MAHP), the Wellington Heights Neighbor­ hood Association and Amerus Bank.

Some six to 10 properties on 16th Street SE between Bever and Fourth avenues are being renovated for people to buy or rent, says Mary Schoen-Clark, president of MAHP. The project is expected to take about 18 months to complete.

Legion Arts wants to create a neighborhood art center called the Art-In-Store. It would provide work and exhibit space for visiting artists, who will lead community art projects, says F. John Herbert, Legion Art’s executive director. He mentioned murals, parades and plays as possibilities that would involve the community, and children especially.

“If a partnership works here, then I think we’ll be able to expand it into other neighborhoods,” maybe other cities, he says.

CSPS long has wanted to do community-based art, which exists in major cities like Philadelphia and Houston, Herbert says.

“Instead of talking about things, they are making things happen,” says Dale Todd, president of the Wellington Heights association.

Legion Arts now oversees four operations: CSPS, the arts center at 1103 Third St. SE, which exhibits art and puts on programming; Tractor, a quarterly arts magazine based at CSPS; the Drawing Legion, Mel Andringa’s performance-art company; and Neighborhood Arts, the new artist-in-fhe-community program.

Previously, the Drawing Le­gion also was the name of the umbrella organization for the programs based at CSPS. The name change was made to avoid confusion with the performance-art company. Herbert says.

‘Search’ yields bucks

“The Search for Signs of Sup­port for the Arts in Iowa” walk­ing tour, organized by Iowa City’s Riverside Theatre, raised more than $11,000 for participating Iowa arts groups.

Riverside’s artistic director, Ron Clark, and executive direc­tor, Jody Hovland, walked a 200-mile route in the state.

The walking tour was built around performances of River­side’s spring production, “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe,” which was performed in Cedar Rapids, Grinnell, Ames and Des Moines.

“The tour was a tremendous success in terms of fundraising.” says Clark. “We exceeded our expectations.”

“We brought our message regarding the need for funding in the arts to whomever would listen,” Hovland says.

The tour was supported in part by the Iowa Arts Council, MCI, Iowa State Bank & Trust Co., Java Joe’s, CSPS, Grinnell Community Theatre, ACT, Hartwig Motors Inc., Amana Art Guild, Ames Community Arts Council, River Cities’ Reader and Iowa City Magazine.