Saturday evening, guests attending the annual Bravo Gala will mark a decade of gratifying progress for the organization and the communities it serves. Some of the decade's highlights:
GROWTH: The nine governmental units signing one-year agreements have grown to 16, and the agreements are now perpetual.
GRANTS: Bravo awarded more than $3 million in Cultural Enrichment grants to 60 regional arts, culture and heritage organizations for fiscal year 2015, bringing the 10-year total to more than $22 million.
ECONOMIC IMPACT: A 2012 economic impact study found that in 2011 Bravo-supported venues welcomed 3.6 million visitors and provided $19.1 million in earnings for workers holding nearly 1,500 jobs. A new study is planned for 2015 and there is no reason to think these numbers have gone anywhere but up.
METRO OPERA: Bravo's support is targeted for impact. The Des Moines Metro Opera in Indianola, whose grant has tripled since 2013, is a case in point. During the 2014 season, attendance for all productions exceeded expectations, with patrons visiting from 34 states, two foreign countries and 64 Iowa counties (including every zip code in the Greater Des Moines area).
CONTRIBUTIONS: Over the past 10 years, companies and families have contributed millions of additional dollars to cultural organizations, with the signature gift coming from John and Mary Pappajohn for the Sculpture Park.
RANKINGS: Acknowledging the quality of life this area affords, in 2014 Forbes named Greater Des Moines the No. 1 American city for young professionals, the No. 1 place to raise a family, and the No. 2 place for businesses and careers.