The Week in Social rounds up the best of Iowa’s uplifting stories, exciting initiatives and fun events from all 99 counties discovered through social media. In a time where every bit of good news is cherished, this series is devoted to being a fun, lighthearted way to stay informed about Iowa’s good news.
New Mural in Iowa City
The Iowa City Mural Project works to cultivate new opportunities for local artists in the heart of downtown Iowa City. The newest addition from the project can be found at George’s Buffet at 312 E Market St. and was designed by some of George’s loyal customers. The mural, painted by local artist Drew Etienne, portrays the neighborhood’s historic commerce community which is rich with breweries and businesses. George’s Buffet, which has been a community favorite for its cheeseburgers and draft beer since 1939, continues to serve as a symbol of the historic and architectural heritage of downtown Iowa City.
Sweet Entrepreneurial Dream
Natalie Brown, owner of Scratch Cupcakery was recently recognized by Entrepreneur as being a Main Street Entrepreneur. Before her cupcake business grew exponentially and opened four storefronts, Brown was a self-employed caterer with a dream to open her own bakery in Cedar Falls. Since opening in 2010, Brown has seen her fair share of challenges that come with owning your own business. During the pandemic, Scratch added car-side pickup, increased deliveries and changed operating hours. Brown explained that she has learned that you don’t have to be the smartest person in the room to be successful, but you do have to care about the people and community.
“Scratch culture has always been more about the people than the cupcakes, and that philosophy will benefit us into our future,” said Brown.
Iowa’s Fine Art Museums
As the weather gets colder, head inside to check out some of the art museums in Iowa and experience Iowa’s fine culture. The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art is home to the world’s largest collection of Grant Wood paintings. You can also visit the studio where he painted one of the world’s most famous works of art: American Gothic. You can also see works from Rembrandt, Picasso and Salvador Dali at the Charles City Public Library’s Mooney Art Collection. To see some Hollywood famous art, check out the MacNider Art Museum in Mason City which houses the largest collection of puppets, marionettes and related props from famous puppeteer Bil Baird, including those seen in The Sound of Music.
13 Communities Receive Main Street Iowa Challenge Grants
Congratulations to the recipients of the Main Street Iowa Challenge Grants! @BusinessIOWA awarded $1.2M to 13 Main Street programs to benefit local building projects designed to spur local economic development.— Main Street America (@NatlMainStreet) October 27, 2021
Read more about this program & the awardees: https://t.co/M7tEyCz8eR pic.twitter.com/tBJ8N80tXm
The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) awarded a total of $1,205,000 to 13 communities across the state. These grants will benefit local building projects that contribute to the economic development of designated Main Street Iowa Districts. The funds will be used to renovate a long-closed landmark restaurant building on Washington’s square, transform a vacant office building into a bakery in Avoca, activate an unoccupied upper story in Elkader to meet lodging and housing needs, and various other community initiatives across the state.
“The Main Street Iowa Challenge grants have been instrumental in revitalizing Iowa’s historic main streets,” said IEDA and Iowa Finance Authority Executive Director Debi Durham. “Reinvesting in our traditional commercial districts is good business. It’s good for our economy and good for our state. These projects will bring new businesses and new residents to our downtown districts.”