Quad City Arts is pleased to announce Arts Dollars grants for the 2022 cycle. Applications are welcome from individual artists, K-12 schools, and non-profit organizations partnering with artists. All art forms are eligible. Since 1990, Quad City Arts has supported the local art community by awarding more than $1,000,000 in grants to local artists, non-profit organizations, and schools.
This year, Quad City Arts has received additional funding from a funder who wishes to remain anonymous to fund Visual Artist Grants. In total, Quad City Arts will grant $140,000 to local artists and organizations during this grant cycle. The application process is competitive, and applicants are encouraged to apply before the deadline. Quad City Arts staff are available to assist with the application process.
NEW THIS YEAR - Visual Artist Grants supports visual artists who demonstrate exceptional creativity in the arts, innovation, and contribute to the vitality of the Quad City Region. Selected artists will be offered professional development designed specifically for artists and be granted $5,000 where up to 20% can be allocated to artist salary.
Project Grants support arts projects or programming that primarily emphasize community engagement. Individual artists may apply for up to $2,500. Non-profit organizations and schools may apply for up to $5,000.
Education Grants support projects or programming that primarily provide opportunities in arts education for K-12 students. Individual artists may apply for up to $2,500. Non-profit organizations and schools may apply for up to $5,000.
Capacity-Building Grants fund activities that increase an organization’s overall capacity, organizational strength, and long-term community impact. Non-profit organizations may apply for up to $5,000.
Deadline for applications: January 31, 2022
Recipients will be notified no later than March 15, 2022.
Funding for the 2022 Arts Dollars cycle is provided by the Hubbell-Waterman Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency, and an anonymous funder. All Quad City Arts programs are funded in part by Festival of Trees, individual donations, and operating grants from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency.
View last year's Art Dollars Grant Awardees and list of funded projects on our blog.
Be a part of Festival and experience the team work of one of the BIGGEST events in the Quad Cities!
It takes a village of over 2,000 volunteers to bring the magic of Festival to our community each year and we are thankful for all who donate their time to make it a success. Sign-up for a shift and receive FREE TICKET to come back and visit us again with family and friends.
Volunteering is perfect for:
Not sure what spot to volunteer for?
Here are quick descriptions to help you pick a volunteer spot:
Reindeer Games – Oversees a craft of game for younger visitors of Festival and ensures that everyone stays safe and has fun. Ideal for groups who want to volunteer together or high school students who need volunteer hours!
Be Original Gallery – Assist our Visual Arts Director and our staff with the curation and sales of items from our Rock Island gallery conveniently located at Festival!
Floater – Are you interested in helping but don’t really care where? Be a floater! This person helps cover the gap for us if we run short on volunteers. They also help keep Festival running smoothly by being a messenger and covering breaks.
Sales Floor Assistant – Helps bidders place their bids at Festival of Trees and helps direct visitors where they need to go. Ideal for someone who is comfortable using an iPad.
Raffle Ticket Sales – We need help selling raffle tickets for the over 100 raffle baskets at Festival of Trees! This is ideal for someone who enjoys talking to visitors and even for a small group of friends or family who want to volunteer together.
Raffle Ticket Collection – We need help collecting all the raffle tickets throughout the event! This is ideal for someone who has a shorter window of time to volunteer but still wants to do their part.
Raffle Ticket Counting – We need help counting all the raffle tickets throughout the event! This is ideal for someone who has a shorter window of time to volunteer but still wants to do their part.
Gingerbread Village – Be the mayor of Gingerbread Village for a few hours! Keep an eye on the gingerbread creations and assist visitors who wish to make a purchase. Ideal for someone who is looking for a more low-key experience!
Treat Shoppe – Help us make sure our Treat Shoppe is fully staffed!
Admissions Volunteer (3rd St, 2nd Floor, Performer’s entrance) – Be the first person to greet visitors as they arrive at Festival of Trees! This person should be comfortable in a fast-paced environment and with using
Square and iPad technology.
Per CDC recommendations, masks are required for volunteers and strongly encouraged for visitors.
Please email us if you have questions about volunteering at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
The “official kick-off to the holiday season” happens later this month with the KwikStar Festival of Trees! There are many different reasons that people get excited for Festival of Trees, some like to see all the decorated trees, wreaths, stockings, ornaments, etc., others love our events like SugarPlum Ball or Celebrity Lunch, and for others, it is a family tradition. For me, I love it all, but there are two things that rise to the top for me.
The first will always be the impact that Festival of Trees has. I’m not even talking about the impact on a person attending Festival of Trees, studies show events like these reduce stress, increase creativity, and so much more. I’m talking about the impact that is created in the year AFTER the event. Festival of Trees raises money for Quad City Arts. This 10-day event helps put a Visiting Artist into the schools for students, provides funding to pay students to create art through the Metro Arts Youth Apprenticeship Program, helps provide gallery space for regional artists, and more.
The second is the Holiday Parade. It is worth mentioning that I am not a parade person. I love that we have them, but I am not one to attend a parade! However, in 2019 I fell in love with our Holiday Parade (2019 was my first Festival of Trees with Quad City Arts). When you hear the marching bands play and see the helium balloons in the sky it is a truly magical feeling. The energy in Downtown Davenport cannot be replicated and it leaves you filled with JOY. Thanks to our community sponsors, not only is it FREE to see it is also televised on KWQC-TV6.
What's New this year?
We'll have new character balloons at the parade,
a brand new floor plan at the RiverCenter, and so much more!
It takes a village of over 2,000 volunteers to bring the magic of Festival to our community each year and we are thankful for all who donate their time to make it a success. Sign-up for a shift and receive FREE admission to come back and visit us again with family and friends.
View the full festival guide
Our Special Events book is out now, take a peek!
Quad City Arts invites artists residing within a 250-mile radius of Rock Island, IL (most of Iowa, Illinois, parts of WI and MO.) to submit a proposal for a gallery exhibition during 2022-23. Selected artists will be paired with one or two additional artists for a 2-month long exhibition between August 2022 and August 2023 in one of our two large exhibit spaces. Cohesive bodies of work are highly desired. All media will be considered. All exhibited work will also be featured and for sale online!
The purpose of the exhibition is to not only show your work but to further your career through sales of your work. If selected, most of the work exhibited should be for sale. We encourage new and up-and-coming artists to apply! Artists and gallery locations will be selected by the visual arts committee. Read more about our galleries below.
The application process is through the CaFÉ entry system. Used by more than 160,000 artists and over 700 arts organizations, CaFÉ is the leading online system to manage art calls and reach more artists. Creating a profile is simple and easy, please create a CaFÉ profile to submit your work.
Quad City Arts’ Rock Island Gallery occupies a 1908 department store space near the banks of the Mississippi River. Features include original wood ﬂoors, a 14' high, tin ceiling, and a wall of windows that face the Mississippi River. The exhibition gallery has 1500 sq. feet of space and 106 running feet of wall space. This gallery is ideal for large work, both 2D and 3D, cutting edge or experimental work, very small work that requires close-up viewing, installation work, performance art, nudes, and everything in between. A free public reception for the artists is held at this space.
Art at the Airport Gallery is in front of the arrival/departure seating area in the Quad Cities International Airport, Moline, IL. It houses 1,600 square feet of exhibition space behind ﬂoor to ceiling glass panels with a depth of 4 feet. Numerous electrical outlets and controlled lighting make this an ideal space for works incorporating neon or video. It can accommodate works up to 7’ tall and sculptures 4’ wide. Over 2 million visitors pass through this space annually. Due to the highly public nature of the space, no nudity nor highly controversial works will be displayed. Currently, no public receptions for the artists are held.
The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with the Illinois Arts Council Agency and Quad City Arts to support Poetry Out Loud 2021-22 a FREE high school program which encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through analysis, memorization, and recitation. This dynamic program helps high school students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, learn of their literary heritage, and compete for more than $100,000 in awards.
WINNERS AT THE STATE LEVEL WILL RECEIVE: A $200 cash prize and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., A $500 cash stipend for her\his school to purchase poetry materials, an opportunity to compete at the 2020 National Finals for the title of National Champion and a $20,000 prize.
The competitions will begin at the school or classroom level to identify student winners to represent their school at the regional and state contests. The Regional Contest will be held via Zoom in February, date TBA and will be determined with help from the schools. State Finals will be held in March. The state winner will represent Illinois at the National Finals in Washington, D.C., in late April.
Interested in getting your student(s) involved or learning more about Poetry Out Loud? Fill out our online form and Regional Coordinator, Tracy White will contact you! All resources and materials are provided!
More about Poetry Out Loud
Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, and the state and jurisdictional arts agencies.
Since 2005, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach more than 4.1 million students and 68,000 teachers from 17,000 schools and organizations in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa.
Poetry Out Loud provides free curriculum materials—all available online—including a poetry anthology, a comprehensive teacher’s guide, videos of student performances, lesson plans, and promotional and media resources. Hard copies of materials are available for teachers participating in the official program but anyone can access the online materials.
View the Poetry Out Loud 2021 National Champion in the video below, and start writing!
The 2021-2022 Visiting Artist Series continues this fall as artist present demonstrations to students in schools in Davenport, Bettendorf, and Pleasant Valley Schools. Invoke, a modern string quartet, kicked off the season of the Visiting Artist Series with 10 different outreach events, 745 people attended those events, 560 were students, and we partnered with 8 hosting sites to make this outreach possible. Thank you to all who attended and partnered with us to make the arts accessible to all!
The public will also have the opportunity to interact with our next Visiting Artist during these events throughout the Quad Cities (RSVP on Facebook!):
Bassel & The Supernaturals, Syrian-American funk and soul band, will be in residence Oct. 18-21
Jazzy Ash, presenting traditional African-American music for kids, will be in residence Oct. 25-28
Lowdown Brass Band, all-horn brass ensemble, will be in residence Nov. 17-19
These public events reflect several new hosting partnerships that allows Quad City Arts to reach a different audience, expanding on our outreach efforts in new venues. These partnerships are aimed at activating new spaces and reaching more people.
During the 2019-2020 season when artists last visited the Quad Cities, more than 26,600 students participated in the program. Experiences included drama workshops for high school students with an East Coast theatre ensemble, a technique discussion for junior high band students from a Toronto, Canada jazz ensemble, side-by-side concert performance with a Texas string quartet, hip-hop dance presentations on history and technique for elementary students— all arts experiences that students would otherwise not have access to.
Schools can currently schedule residency engagements for this fall and next spring by visiting our scheduling page. Community sites are able to schedule engagements for their patrons and clients through our community scheduling page. (Performance schedulings are prioritized for schools.)
Since 1974, the Visiting Artist Series has engaged Quad City residents of all ages in quality arts experiences with professional performing artists. Artists of various disciplines present demonstrations, workshops, and master classes at pre-K sites, elementary, intermediate, and high schools as well as college campuses and community organizations.
For more information on this residency program, visit www.quadcityarts.com/vas.
The Performing Arts Signature Series, (PASS), is Quad City Arts’ premier subscription series featuring world-class performing artists from the Visiting Artist Series.
Guests can enjoy an AMAZING performance with cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and back-stage conversation with the artists, all at unique venues for the discounted price of $37 per person when you subscribe to all six parties. Half-season and individual tickets are also available.
All proceeds benefit the Visiting Artist Series, a nationally recognized residency program that brings professional performing artists to the Quad Cities for outreach performances in area schools. This series has brought GRAMMY Award winning artist to the Quad Cities since 1974! You can view all previous artists in our Archives page. A typical season brings 8-10 artists ensembles, providing over 30,000 K-12 students access to live performances that might otherwise be out of reach.
At PASS, you’ll get to see these incredible artists in an intimate setting and hear about their experiences in the schools. Select from six parties, all held on weekday evenings from 6:30pm-8:00pm at unique venues throughout the Quad Cities, so no two events are alike.
Our first party of the season takes place, Wednesday, October 6 at Davenport Country Club. Don't miss your chance, sign up and get your PASS today!
What can you expect? Here's a preview of the 2021 PASS locations and lineup!
All proceeds benefit arts education and enrichment for over 30,000 K-12 students each year through the Visiting Artist Series program. Get your backstage PASS to see world-class performing artists and support arts education in our community!
Today, we got to partner with the Quad Cities Chamber and shine a light on the arts in our community at "AMp Up Morning Networking: Arts Help Create a Vibrant Community". Kevin Maynard, the executive director for Quad City Arts, passionately spoke about the value of supporting the arts in our community and how Quad City Arts has helped facilitate placemaking in our area. To sum it up, Kevin Maynard quotes, “Everyone wants to live in a cool place. Arts and culture is the ticket to get there!”
This past year, was a challenging year for all. We were operating in the unknown with a global pandemic and looking at civil unrest centering on racial equity. Thankfully, the team at Quad City Arts stepped up to that challenge. We launched programs and content that could serve a purpose in a post-pandemic Quad Cities, my board of directors expanded our board aimed at creating a board that better represented our community, we made key changes to increase equitable access to our programs, and we continue to do so.
We also started looking more at what we wanted Quad City Arts to be and what our role in placemaking was. It led to great things, some of which were seen in both Rock Island and Davenport for Alternating Currents.
Let’s start with education.
It is worth noting that studies in education surrounding the arts centers around students with a low-socio-economic status.
The arts are a powerful tool in and out of schools. Exposure to the arts, specifically the performing arts, has shown to increase empathy. It has also shown to increase understanding of other cultures and leads to acceptance of other cultures. It helps to better understand facial expressions and emotions. AND arts of all kinds continually shows to reduce stress.
Studies center around schools in low-socio-economic status areas, because well-funded schools all HAVE arts programming, because they know it’s value. Quad City Arts reaches area schools, and with the help or area educators we make a valuable impact on our community.
But the arts reaches far beyond health and education. Let’s talk business.
One of our favorite statistics:
So, what is happening locally?
Placemaking is taking a front and center position at the Chamber of Commerce and extensions of the chamber have already had success in placemaking.
This brings us to the final part. What can you do to support our creative community?
Thankfully, we live in a region that is doing more to prioritize public art and placemaking. Quad City Arts continues to partner with organizations throughout the area to make the Quad Cities become THE destination for culture and the ARTS.
While many restrictions have been lifted, the arts and culture sector in Illinois recognizes that continuing to get their audiences and communities vaccinated is important for safely getting back to in-person arts activities. Artists in 24 regions across Illinois have created over 72 pro-vaccination projects this summer as vaccines are now widely available. This Arts and Culture Vaccination Campaign was funded and spearheaded by Arts Alliance Illinois.
Quad City Arts played the role of “State Captain” for our region to help coordinate some projects by Illinois based Quad Cities artists. We were excited to once again partner with Arts Alliance Illinois to not only put artists to work, but to help encourage our community to get vaccinated. Vaccination is important to the arts, so that the industry can return to bringing communities together.
These projects were made possible by a collaboration between Arts Alliance Illinois and Quad City Arts.
Riley Ellis is a self-taught artist, most of her interest is in animation but they also enjoy other mediums like watercolor and digital art. Riley has been part of three Quad City Arts’ Metro Arts murals. They want people to connect with their art and find some resolve in it, whether it comforts them or just makes them feel some sort of emotion. When asked about her biggest achievement in art Riley stated, “I've grown since I ever started posting art, having over 11k on Twitter and Instagram, and over 88k subscribers on YouTube. Before I started posting my art online however I sold calendars and donated all the proceeds, which was over $10,000, to the local animal welfare center.”
“Burst your Bubble”
The Black Thoughts Podcast hosts interviews and panel discussion various topics, which will provoke thought with hopes of leading to conversations that create transformation. Host Aubrey Barnes lead a panel discussion on the impacts of COVID-19 including mental health, work/home balance, economic impact, and vaccine hesitancy.
For more information on how to schedule your vaccination:
Rock Island County: https://richd.org/
Scott County: https://www.scottcountyiowa.gov/health
Participating regions include: Aurora, Bloomington, Carbondale, Centralia, Champaign-Urbana, Decatur, DuPage County, East St. Louis, Elgin, Evanston, Galena, Galesburg, Joliet, Lake County, Mattoon, McHenry County, Oak Park, Peoria, Quad Cities, Quincy, Rockford, South East Suburban Chicago (Dolton, Calumet City, Lansing), South Suburban Chicago and Springfield.
About Arts Alliance Illinois
Arts Alliance Illinois fights for arts resources and policies that benefit our members and all Illinois residents. With 25,000 active subscribers and hundreds of members, we connect the people and ideas that are shaping the future of the creative sector. As the only multidisciplinary organization concentrated on the strength of arts and culture across the state, the Alliance takes on challenges that no single organization or artist can fight alone. Our work in civic engagement, arts education, and cultural equity positively impacts every community across the state. Visit artsalliance.org to learn more.
For most of her young life, art has been a private refuge for Riley Jones – a hobby she kept to herself. But after the Rock Island teenager’s artwork took first place in the 2021 Congressional Art Competition and was chosen to be displayed in the U.S. Capitol, she was recruited to share her talents in a new mural program in Downtown Rock Island.
The 16-year-old Riley, whose originally titled “Black Pride” piece was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, was asked to create a large-scale mural in Downtown Rock Island for the new program launched by Quad City Arts and the Quad Cities Chamber through its partnership with the City of Rock Island.
Collaborating with professional muralists Dana Harrison (Limone) and Brandon Warner (ASPHATE), Riley transformed a blank brick wall into a beautiful and thought-provoking mural. The new mural will be unveiled at 3:45 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 19, during a ceremony that also kicks off the Alternating Currents festival, planned for Aug. 19-22 at more than 30 downtown venues in the Quad Cities.
Painted on the southern wall of 313 20th St. – across the alley from Leo’s Shoe Repair, Riley’s mural is part of a larger revitalization project on the edge of the downtown core. Property owner Matt Stern and his team plan to renovate an adjacent vacant lot and multiple storefronts, two of which are for lease.
“This is a prime example of creative placemaking in Downtown Rock Island,” said Jack Cullen, the Chamber’s Downtown Rock Island Director. “In addition to generating positive buzz and foot traffic in the area, professional, well-thought-out murals can help brighten, clean up and encourage better investment in areas we want to see improved.”
How the mural began
“I just wanted to draw something for the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Riley, whose own feelings about her work’s message have evolved. The original piece included the words “Black Pride” repeated in the background, which she omitted from the mural. She now sees the movement and the broader racial injustice issue as “something that has caused a lot of pain for black people.”
Riley was contacted about the new mural program by the Chamber and Quad City Arts after her “Black Pride” piece was competitively selected by U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos as the first-place winner in the Illinois 17th Congressional District’s contest. Riley is no stranger to Quad City Arts, having participated in its Annual High School Art Invitational and displaying some of her work at its gallery.
“Every year, I’m impressed by the incredible talent on display during the Congressional Art Competition and Riley’s submission was exceptional,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “I’m thrilled that Riley’s artwork will not only hang in the halls of the Capitol, but also on the walls of Downtown Rock Island for all residents and visitors to see. I can think of no better way to display such a talented hometown artist’s work, and I am so proud of Riley.”
Riley, a Rock Island High School junior, is the daughter of Jerry and Kathy Jones. As a winning prize, Riley received two free airline tickets to Washington, D.C. But thanks to an anonymous donor’s gift of two more tickets, she now can bring along her parents and older brother, Peyton.
“Her art is very personal to her,” said Kathy Jones. “She doesn’t allow a lot of viewing for her parents.” In fact, if not for the encouragement of Riley’s former junior high teacher, her mother said Riley might not have entered the art contest.
Riley’s hope is the new mural showcases how Black Lives Matter “comes from a place of pain and grief and the unjust murder of black people.” While it resembles her original piece, she said the new rendition “is more about the suffering being caused and people hurting.”
Riley first became aware of racial oppression when she was in 5th or 6th grade and learned about the brutal murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American, who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955. “It hurt so much to learn about that,” Riley said.
“It was different than Dr. King being assassinated,” her father and Martin Luther King, Jr. Center Executive Director, Jerry Jones said. “Dr. King knew of the repercussions. Emmett Till was just being a young man living his life.”
Riley channeled her interest in civil rights and her feelings about racial injustice into her art. “It’s not just political. A lot of people see this as an issue of black people being mad at white people,” she said. “I wish they’d see it as a civil rights issue.”
Message of peace
Working with the muralists – both members of the nationally-recognized Scarce Elementz Crew, a graffiti paint crew, the trio completed the mural in about a week. Previously, Riley gained mural experience through Quad City Arts’ Metro Arts apprenticeship program. She was part of team of apprentices paid to paint an indoor mural at the new TBK Bank Building in downtown Bettendorf.
But her latest project was her first time using spray paint as a medium. As he watched her blend colors on the wall, muralist ASPHATE said “She’s killing it. To do that type of blending this early on is amazing.”
The muralists first met Riley weeks earlier, via Zoom, to plan the project. “In our first Zoom call, things got emotional,” ASPHATE said. “You could see the issue was a deep one. You could see it hit her hard. That spoke to me more than any conversation we could have had,” he said.
ASPHATE, who teaches graffiti workshops to youth in the Des Moines area, helped to suggest that Riley add a hummingbird to her mural. “It’s a sign of freedom,” he said, adding it also symbolizes “the light at the end of the tunnel: peace.”
The artwork marks the beginning of the Chamber and Quad City Arts’ new mural program. “This is a dream project for Quad City Arts as it not only adds great public art to our community, but it also provides an opportunity to mentor, encourage and celebrate a young artist,” said Kevin Maynard, Quad City Arts Executive Director.
The celebratory start to the mural program was funded by generous support from the Doris & Victor Day Foundation, City of Rock Island, Moline Foundation, Rock Island Art Guild, Rock Island Community Foundation, YWCA, Rausch Family Foundation, Holiday Inn Rock Island, MidAmerican Energy Company, Matt Stern, Theo’s Java Club and the Black business community in Downtown Rock Island, specifically Ms. BriMani’s Hair & Beauty Supply, Orr’s Mortuary, Roosters Sports Bar & Grill, Aja Styles Fashion & Accessories Boutique, By Design Fashion and Sumthin Different Barber & Beauty.
With Downtown Rock Island as the canvas, the addition of new creations will raise awareness of the art and cultural amenities it offers. Efforts are underway to identify more potential mural sites.
“This first mural supports the development of a talented young artist of color in our community and furthers the conversation around racial equity,” Downtown Rock Island Director Cullen said. “It’s a winning project for the entire Quad Cities region as we work to create a more creative, welcoming and vibrant destination.”