At the Iowa Tourism Conference on April 28 in Des Moines, the Byways of Iowa Foundation was honored with the Iowa Tourism Award for Outstanding Marketing Collaboration in a Rural Setting for their "Byways of Iowa Public Art Initiative".

“These awards are a great opportunity to recognize our industry partners for their perseverance in the face of a pandemic,” said State Tourism Manager Amy Zeigler. “We celebrate their innovations in safely delivering memorable experiences to Iowa travelers.” Awards, divided into metro and rural distinctions, were made in 13 categories.

The Byways of Iowa Public Art Initiative was a multi-year project in which the Byways of Iowa Foundation and Northeast Iowa RC&D worked with local communities and artists to create 16 public art installations along Iowa's Byways. Each of the art installations was selected by members of the public to capture the unique culture and character of the rural communities and Byways where they are located. The project began with the desire to expand cultural and artistic experiences along Iowa’s Byways and was made possible thanks to support from partners including Casey’s General Stores, Iowa DOT, Iowa Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, and over 100 organizations and businesses throughout the State of Iowa who raised over a quarter of a million dollars to invest in Iowa’s communities.  

“Our project was inspired by seeing the effect of a large public art installation along the River Bluffs Scenic Byway in Fayette County – the Eagle’s Nest. It changed the experience for people driving the byways.  Now six years later, we look forward to seeing travelers exploring all of Iowa’s Byways to visit these unique public art pieces.” said Mallory Hanson, Regional Tourism & Economic Development Coordinator for Northeast Iowa RC&D.

“We are grateful to the Iowa Tourism office for this amazing honor,” said Byways of Iowa Foundation Chair, Rod Marlatt. “This project has already had a significant positive impact on our rural communities across Iowa.”

Visit to learn more about the project and preview the unique art pieces or plan your own trip by visiting

Northeast Iowa RC&D works with partners from throughout the region to explore natural resource based economic development opportunities while at the same time protecting and enhancing natural resources. The RC&D’s mission is to recognize opportunities and provide leadership to make Northeast Iowa a vibrant, place-based model for the nation! Learn more at