FMAAA holding “Raise the Roof” fundraiser

Gallery gets $2,500 Iowa Arts Council emergency funding grant

Submitted article from FMAAA

FORT MADISON – Ft. Madison Area Arts Association was one of 14 art centers in the state granted a $2,500 emergency grant from Iowa Arts Council in their first round of funding from its Iowa Arts & Culture Emergency Relief Fund, aimed at losses sustained during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The council considered 285 applications and handed out $191,000 and FMAAA Director Brian Riggs said the money is welcomed but illustrates a bigger problem at the center.

“FMAAA sees this as a good news/bad news scenario. Although very thankful to have received this funding, the organization was able to do so by showing that annual revenue has been over 30% negatively impacted from the year before. The current situation has been a perfect storm for a productive non-profit that reaches 40 years of age in Ft. Madison next year,” according to director Brian Riggs.

The second major hurdle occurred for FMAAA during a dismally wet Art-in-Central Park in which the annual art fair was amazingly conducted by housing the artists vendors in the old Lee County Bank, the Kid’s Zone in Dollhouse Dreams, and musicians and food at FMAAA.

For the stalwarts that did check out the scene they noticed the bucket brigade collecting water leaking from the seams on the east side of the gallery, as the bands played on. That was a major rain, eight inches in two days. At this point FMAAA knew they had a problem larger than a hole created by the hotel/motel tax situation. The Board of Directors has been paying on a long-term contract for the property at 825 Avenue G for the last few years, choosing a permanent location for the cultural arts agency for the town. The organization has been caught by surprise on how quickly the leaking has moved to other sections of the interior of the gallery.

On March 17th the Board of Directors closed the doors to the daily programming offered by FMAAA to the public. Prior to this FMAAA had been advertising another great chapter of Expressions Art Auction that was set for April 4th at Quality Inn. Expressions Art Auction is the primary annual revenue stream for FMAAA and the Board will release information regarding it’s reschedule.

Last year the FMAAA lost 15% of anticipated revenue from the loss of percentage from hotel/motel revenue tax for that year due to an important push. All non-department funding was pulled from city budgets last year in order to complete the transaction of the Amtrak station being moved to the Sante Fe depot. Everybody would love finalization of this long-term city goal, especially the FMAAA which held sway for so many great years in the Burlington Northern depot bringing it to life. It is difficult to have that depot usage goal as yet unrealized.

All of these factors have led to a perfect storm that threatens the FMAAA’s ability to perform their regular duties once the “all clear” is given. Ft. Madison SIRCC has generously awarded a matching grant to FMAAA in order to Raise the Roof. FMAAA will need to raise $15000 in order to access the grant and can match up to $25000. If FMAAA can match the higher tier the die is cast to Raise the Roof at 825 Avenue G. The Board of Directors will release word soon of our intentions. Any donations toward the Raise the Roof fund may be mailed to FMAAA at PO Box 565, Ft. Madison. As a 501(c)3 non-profit donations for the roof are tax deductible.

This was the first round of grants from the new Iowa Arts & Culture Emergency Relief Fund, which is administered by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. Grants awarded through this fund are intended to support the Iowa artists and nonprofits that have suffered the most, serving as a bridge between severe financial loss and other state and federal assistance.
“Artists and community arts organizations have been hit particularly hard by this emergency and are some of the most vulnerable members of our industry right now,” Iowa Arts Council Administrator David Schmitz said. “We want to help Iowa artists and these arts groups bridge the gap, so they can sustain a basic living until audiences and patrons return.”

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