The University of Iowa

Maquoketa Arts Non-Profits - Organizational Collaboration and Management

Academic Year 
2021-2022
College/Department 
Tippie College of Business
Project Partner 
Led by 

Maquoketa is emerging as a regional arts hub, driven largely by the Maquoketa Art Experience, Ohnward Fine Arts Center, and the nationally/internationally renowned artists that call Maquoketa home.  Additionally, the community recognizes the value of public art and arts programming to enhancing quality of life for residents and drawing in visitors.  Through the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC) partnership, local artists and community leaders hope to build on existing opportunities and momentum.

Through Jackson County’s proposal to the IISC, three key components of this work were identified:

  • Helping community organizations bring the community together in meaningful ways through programming, festivals, and events.
  • Increasing the sustainability and organizational capacity of local arts organizations and venues
  • Identify opportunities to expand public art

Through IISC, the University of Iowa course Non-Profit Organizational Effectiveness, taught by Nick Benson, will work collaboratively with Maquoketa to advance these goals.  Two groups of 5 graduate/advanced-undergraduate students will work on this project, with two areas of focus. The two project descriptions are as follows:

  1. Interagency Collaboration among Maquoketa Arts Organizations – One group of students will explore ways that the Maquoketa Art Experience, Onhward Fine Art Center, and other organizations can collaborate to advance shared goals and objectives and continue to elevate the overall arts scene in Maquoketa.  The students will examine opportunities for productive partnerships related to administrative efficiencies, public communication and marketing (e.g. calendar coordination), cost-sharing opportunities, shared decision-making and collaborative meeting structures.  Additionally, the group will explore models that engage a broader group of stakeholders, including established artists. Potential structures for collaboration include an Arts Council or arts working groups. Students will produce a final report and presentation that includes an assessment of partnership opportunities available to Maquoketa arts organizations and a series of prioritized recommendations for how these organizations can take next steps toward realizing a more collaborative community arts model.
  2. Framework for Future Strategic Planning – A second group of students will help establish a framework for Maquoketa arts organizations to develop a strategic path forward to advance arts in the community. The purpose of this framework will be to identify and assemble informational resources that can serve as a blueprint for a future strategic planning process for a Maquoketa Arts collaborative group. As part of this framework, students will conduct an environmental scan of current conditions, identify existing and potential external partners, research funding opportunities (grants, foundations, donors, funding partnerships) and consider strategic programmatic and marketing opportunities for the arts in Maquoketa. Additionally, they will identify important elements for the formal strategic planning process, including facilitation alternatives, costs, logistics and key stakeholders. Students will produce a final report and presentation that contains a comprehensive analysis of the framework elements and a guide for the strategic planning process.