Spring 2017
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I was at a bridal shower for my nephew and bride-to-be recently.  As part of the party theme, on each table was a coloring book and rainbow of colored pencils.  Since coloring seems to be all the rage lately I grabbed a pencil, opened the book closest to me and then stopped, just staring at all those lines.  The page was completely full of tiny little swirls, swishes and other odd shapes that somehow came together to form what I think was a flower.  Personally, I was always a ‘wide line’ coloring book sort of a kid.  I’m not afraid to say I liked to color inside the various shapes and I think as a child I found a certain symmetry to the way the colors were each so defined by those thick black lines.  

All this musing is really leading up to the fact that the drawings I completed in those childhood coloring books were pretty much the extent of my artistic ability.  (Hey - at least it was a step above paint with water.)  Fortunately, there are many more people with greater talent than I, and in this quarter’s newsletter, you will hear how art – broadly including building architecture and rehab, cultural events and creative placemaking – is gaining in momentum and importance in our Iowan communities and has a new role as an economic driver.  

As a side note, I didn’t stay inside the lines with everything in my childhood, but maybe that’s a blog for another day...

-Amy Kuhlers, Program Manager and Network Builder, IASourcelink

By Debi Durham via Iowa Economic Development Authority

Hello, I’m Debi Durham, Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority.  We can’t turn back the hands of time.  Age affects everyone and everything differently.  As humans, some of us try to offset tell-tale signs of ‘experienced maturity’ with everything from serums to surgery.  With buildings, on the other hand, the options for renewal are far more limited.  In Iowa, we are fortunate that some of our most historic and cultural buildings have a better opportunity for rebirth through the Historic Preservation and Cultural and Entertainment District Tax Credit Program.

Main Street Mount Pleasant
By Amy Kuhlers, IASourcelink with Lisa Oetken, Director, Main Street Mount Pleasant
Iowa Main Street Challenge Grants have been helping Iowa’s Main Street communities revitalize downtowns for over fifteen years.  These dollar-for-dollar match grants leverage four times the state’s investment into rehabilitation projects that help bring life back to underutilized and neglected buildings.  Main Street Mount Pleasant was a recent recipient of funds and we asked Main Street Director, Lisa Oetken, to share some thoughts on how the grant proceeds will benefit their community.
Creative Placemaking  
By Amy Kuhlers, IASourcelink, with Zachary Mannheimer, Principal Community Planner with McClure Engineering Co. 

Creative placemaking isn’t a new concept, but it is still a notion that is unfamiliar to many community developers.  Per the National Endowment for the Arts, “In creative placemaking, partners from public, private, nonprofit and community sectors strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town, tribe, city or region around arts and cultural activities”.  One person who has been actively involved in this effort in some of Iowa’s rural communities is Zach Mannheimer, who until just recently served as Vice President of Creative Placemaking with IASourceLink Resource Partner, Iowa Business Growth (IBG).

As this quarter’s theme centers on the effects the cultural movement can have in communities, we thought it fitting to include an update on a few of the creative projects Zack was involved in during his tenure with IBG.  Here are some highlights of projects he worked on in 2016.

EntreFEST - Where Iowa's Visionary Founders and Community Builders Meet
By Cally Reed, UNI Center for Business Growth and Innovation 
EntreFEST, the two-day business networking event taking place downtown Iowa City on May 4-5th, is fast approaching. It is one of Iowa’s best places for entrepreneurs, startup founders, innovators, educators, and artists to experience a real sense of belonging in a talented community of business professionals. In my role as a program associate at the Center for Business Growth and Innovation, it is my pleasure to be able to have encouraging conversations with small business owners and entrepreneurs from across the state, and EntreFEST will be a prime time to do just that!
Make IASourcelink Work for You!
The Resource Navigator - Now Even Smarter!
By Amy Kuhlers, IASourcelink
Does your organization have a niche? Does your organization specialize in serving certain demographic clients or excel in a particular area of service?  If so, we can now better showcase those unique capabilities through the IASourceLink Resource Navigator!  While selecting special focus areas on your Resource Partner profile has always been available, newly enhanced search functionality places organizations with specialty areas at the top of the return list when that focus area is used as search criteria. 

As an example, the Small Business Administration-sponsored Women’s Business Centers (WBC) are located across the country and are designed to assist women in starting and growing a business.  The Iowa Center for Economic Success serves as Iowa’s WBC and as such, they specialize in providing services to women located anywhere in Iowa.  This demographic has been indicated on their Resource Partner profile so when a search is performed in the Resource Navigator using the criteria of ‘Woman’, the Iowa Center shows up at the top of the search results before other organizations that also serve women, but not necessarily as a specialty audience.

We are working on contacting all Resource Partners for profile updates, but for those organizations who specialize in particular audiences or services, now is an especially great time to have your profile updated!  Contact me directly at or at 515-725-3021 for more information.

April 5
Boots to Business: Reboot
Ames, IA

April 20
Prometheus Awards
Des Moines, IA

April 25-26
Iowa Community Ideas
Des Moines, IA

May 3
PDI Spring Event
Des Moines, IA

May 4
Iowa Smart Conference
Des Moines, IA

May 4-5
Iowa City, IA

June 6-8
Taking Care of Business
Dubuque, IA
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