Summer in the Cities


It seems fitting that one of my first memories of the Quad Cities was on the banks of the Mississippi River, as I sat entranced by the music of the Quad City Symphony. The riverfront was packed, and I can remember thinking—this place is so cool.

If there is a fun, vibrant, beautiful place to be during the summer, it is here. Our event schedule is teeming with diverse arts and culture activities that draw people here from all across the country.

From River Roots Live to River Bandits Games to theater productions like On Golden Pondat Playcrafters Barn Theatre (which our very own Kelly Thompson recently starred in), do one of the very things that sit at the heart of our mission: bringing people together.

Where else do people put aside their differences, and think less of socioeconomic status, race and religion, and more about what they came to celebrate, compete in or enjoy, than the events held here during the summer? Our region offers cool, creative ways for every person to take a step outside their home and enjoy this place we call home, and connect with each other.

I’m thinking of events like the Bix 7 Road Race and Street Festival, coming up this weekend in Davenport, and the Memorial Jazz Festival that honors Bix Beiderbecke August 4-6. In Moline, the Moline Centre Summer Concert Series on the plaza at Bass Street Landing offers sweet sounds from some of our region’s most talented musicians. 

I’m also thinking of the 9/11 Never Forget Mobile Exhibit I just visited in Schwiebert Park in Rock Island. Sponsored by Modern Woodmen, the exhibit beautifully—and poignantly—honors those men and women who lost their life on that tragic day nearly 15 years ago.

Summertime in the Quad Cities is a wonderful reflection of what community means—taking the time amid our busy schedules to enjoy the place we live, the people we share this place with, and the colorful art and culture that brings us together.

In the harried schedule of a fast-moving year, and the serious current events facing our country right now, I can understand why someone might ask, “Why is it important to support, encourage, fund and invest in art and culture?” The answer is this: because not only does art and culture entertain and enlighten us, it connects us, moves us and reminds us of the simple pastime of enjoying each other and where we live.

It matters because a community that invests in art and culture is a community of citizens connected to each other. A community, you see, that is well-rounded, educated and able to recognize the importance of the history and character that make this place unique.

This summer, the Community Foundation strengthened its own commitment to that idea through a partnership with the Quad Cities Cultural Trust, which is invested in providing key Quad Cities cultural organizations the funds to thrive. 

Because of donors and foundations, some of them making a decision to start an endowment after simply sitting on the banks of the Mississippi for a pops concert and realizing the vital importance of the legacy of music in our community, this region will continue to support and grow the individuals and organizations that provide entertainment, education, art and events to saturate this community each year with great things to do and see.

And because of them, our summers are filled with activities and gatherings that call people from all backgrounds to run, play, golf, eat, compete, make music or simply sit and watch it all unfold. I can’t think of a better way, or place, to spend this season. Can you?