Community Engagement Director

Thank you for believing in the power of the arts to transform community through your support of FilmScene, The Englert Theatre and our collaborative work.

The arts, and arts education in particular, are underfunded. But our children and our neighbors need the arts — right now — to heal, create positive change, and evolve as a community.

Our Strengthen Grow Evolve campaign met its capital investment goal, but our Evolve initiative to invest in community engagement is now the final campaign initiative being undertaken.

Each of our organizations has hired a Community Engagement staff members, to lead our two organizations in addressing arts inequities in the downtown area that many in Johnson County face and to depend arts experiences for everyone in our community.


Our shared Office of Community Engagement starts the day with one mission in mind: creating opportunities for the diverse people of Johnson County and deepening engagement in the arts offered in downtown Iowa City.

The first staff positions at either organization dedicated specifically to creating equitable access to arts, this new person will facilitate opportunities in our spaces, in the classroom, and in the community for Iowa City’s diverse populations to engage deeply with the arts as active audience members and through the practice of artmaking.

Additional funding will ensure the long-term viability of these new positions. Will you help us to expand access to the arts, invest in education, and set our path towards a more sustainable, just and equitable community?


Research consistently shows that the arts create a better society through increased civic engagement, cultural awareness and empathy, and better educational outcomes by improving overall motivation, creative thinking, and academic achievement. Benefits include:

  • Arts participants with socioeconomic challenges are 5x times less likely to dropout of school (NEA Research Report #55)
  • Art students are 4x more likely to be recognized for academic achievement (Reinvesting in Arts Education)
  • The arts activate changes in our bodies that make us happier and reduce stress (Art Therapy, Girija Kaimal, 2016)

Arts enrollment in Johnson County is lower than the state average (Educate Iowa, 2020), and as funding is consistently threatened, our organizations believe we can — and must — invest to fill the gap.