Encouraged by figures from its inaugural outing, members of Experience Quad-Cities are looking ahead to the 2013 East West Riverfest.
Surveys taken after the 2012 edition, which took place Sept. 7-16, showed that 90 percent of the 80 organizations participating in the umbrella festival had increased attendance from the same period a year earlier.
-- Quad-City Arts reported that 350 people attended an opening in its gallery, far more than usual.
-- Riverfront Pops attendance for the Quad-City Symphony Orchestra show increased by 20 percent from 2011.
-- Numbers also were higher for Brew Ha Ha, the Celtic Highland Games and the St. Patrick Society’s Quad-Cities Irish Festival.
-- At the Figge Art Museum, 1,229 people came through during that 10-day span. At the same time last year, the number was 553.
This year’s East West Riverfest will expand to cover three weekends, from Sept. 6 to 22.
Although people from Chicago and Des Moines attended last year, officials said more promotion is needed outside the Quad-City area.
“We have a lot more to do to get that message across,” said Lisa Lockheart of the Rock Island Public Library and a member of the advisory board.
Lockheart said the inaugural festival was “tangible proof of our collaboration” and its success.
At its fourth annual meeting Wednesday in Rock Island, members of Experience Quad-Cities heard from representatives of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, Illinois Arts Council and Arts Alliance Illinois.
The latter two announced that a biennial gathering, One State Together in the Arts Conference, will take place June 23-25 in the Illinois Quad-Cities.
More than 300 arts advocates from across the state will sample the culture of the Quad-Cities over those three days. A kickoff party will be held at the John Deere World Headquarters in Moline.
Mary Cownie, the executive director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, praised the Experience Quad-Cities group and the East West Riverfest.
“It’s a perfect example of how to come together,” she said. “You challenged yourselves to think big, and look what’s come of it.”