Mount Vernon gains a designated Cultural and Entertainment District

Mount Vernon is one of three Iowa locations with a newly designated Cultural and Entertainment District. Mount Vernon’s district stretches from the Cornell College campus through downtown to the First Street Community Center.

Mount Vernon's Chalk the Walk Festival.
Mount Vernon’s Chalk the Walk Festival.

This designation comes from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, which recognizes cultural districts as walkable, compact areas where cultural facilities serve as an anchor.

The Mount Vernon district includes 11 performance spaces, 22 arts and arts-related businesses, 17 food-drink-lodging establishments, and more than 20 specialty shops. 

The Mount Vernon Area Arts Council (MVAAC) partnered with the city, the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group, the school district, businesses, and Cornell to apply for the designation. 

“This designation … shows how a small town can be a cultural dynamo that integrates the arts into its economy with great success,” MVAAC president Steve Maravetz told the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun. 

There are now a total of eight districts in Iowa, located in Cedar Falls, Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque, Fairfield, LeClaire, Mason City, and Mount Vernon.