Best of the CRANDIC 2021: Community

The results are in! Browse the winners of Little Village’s 2021 Best of the CRANDIC competition in the Community category, representing readers’ favorite organizations, attractions and services in the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City area.

Best Art Gallery or Museum

Cedar Rapids Museum of Art

410 3rd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-366-7503,

Cedar Rapids Museum of Art — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Best Arts Nonprofit

Public Space One

229 N Gilbert St, Iowa City, 319-855-1985,

PS1 Executive Director John Engelbrecht stands in the Close House parking lot, in front of the carriage house. — Jason Smith/Little Village

“I love a good, solid art museum experience, but PS1 has been kicking ass over the past 24 months with buying their space(s), expanding programming, adapting beautifully to pandemic life (virtual classes! VR exhibit!) and then thoughtfully reopening.”

—Andrea T.

“It serves the community by offering classes for the non-artist. They bring joy and art into this community!”

—Rebekah D.

It’s hard to walk by the Close House and not feel the urge to peek inside its huge, dome-topped windows. The idea of throwing open the doors to the community is certainly attractive to Public Space One’s board. “You don’t have to pretend like you’re buying a fancy sofa,” [Executive Director John] Engelbrecht said of a PS1-owned Close House. “If you want to come and walk around our gallery, it will be open and free to visit.”

(From the article “Public Space One purchases historic Iowa City mansion” by Emma McClatchey, published Oct. 4)

Best Community Advocate

Iowa Freedom Riders

Facebook: @iowafreedomrider
Twitter: @IAFreedomRiders
Instagram: @iowafreedomriders

United Action for Youth

1700 S 1st Ave #14, Iowa City, 319-338-7518,

Best Elected Official

Mayor Bruce Teague

Mayor Bruce Teague, Iowa City’s first openly gay mayor, speaks at Pride after participating in the Unity March. Adria Carpenter/Little Village

Best Environmental Advocate

100 Grannies

A member of 100 Grannies, an Iowa City organization that advocates for climate action, participates in the 2021 Unity March. — Adria Carpenter/Little Village

Best Historic Building

Old Capitol Building

University of Iowa Pentacrest, Iowa City

Humanize My Hoodie co-founder Andre Wright speaks during the Saturday, May 30, 2020 rally on the UI Pentacrest. — Jason Smith/Little Village

Best LGBTQ+ Hangout

Studio 13

13 S Linn St, Iowa City, 319-337-6464,

Best Library

Iowa City Public Library

123 S Linn St, 319-356-5200,

Best Local Facebook Page

Corridor Community Action Network

Facebook: @CorridorCAN

Corridor Community Action Network — Jason Smith/Little Village

“For derecho relief, housing assistance, public actions and more, nothing beats it.”

—Jane S.

Best Local Hero

Willie Ray Fairley, Willie Ray’s Q Shack

288 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-206-3806,

Willie Fairley, in front of Willie Ray’s Q Shack, 288 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids. — Izabela Zaluska/Little Village

“I’m not necessarily sure if I can consider myself a master, but I like to think I am,” Fairley said. His barbecue restaurant, located at 288 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, serves food through its drive-up and walk-up windows. Various smoked meats and sides are on the menu, along with daily specials. Fairley said he plans to give out the free meals for three to four more weeks “until everyone’s back on their feet.” If people are still in need after that, he said he’ll make sure they get food.

(From the article “Willie Fairley plans to feed derecho victims ‘until everyone’s back on their feet’” by Izabela Zaluska, published Sept. 3, 2020)

Best Local Twitter Account

Iowa City Police Log


Best Nonprofit Director

Andre Perry, The Englert Theatre

Andre Perry, outgoing Englert Theatre executive director, at Prairie Lights Books, November 2021. — Jason Smith/Little Village

“More than a decade of leadership helping build the greatest small city for the arts.”

—Nick B.

Best Nonprofit for Community Access

CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank

1121 S Gilbert Ct, Iowa City, 319-351-2726,

Best Place for a Kid’s Birthday Party

Iowa Children’s Museum

Coral Ridge Mall, Coralville, 319-625-6255,

Best Place to Volunteer

CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank

CommUnity’s food bank, in November 2020. — Jason Smith/Little Village

“CommUnity really cares about its volunteers. Even in the height of the pandemic, staff were finding ways to deliver vital services while still keeping volunteers safe. They really stepped up to the plate during an impossible situation.”

—Aiden R.

Best Public Restroom

Iowa City Public Library restrooms

“Downtown’s public restroom. Convenient and clean with a drinking fountain that has a bottle filler right outside.”

—Susan C.

Best Science or History Museum

University of Iowa Museum of Natural History

Macbride Hall, UI Pentacrest, Iowa City, 319-335-0480,

“Dunky,” a prehistoric shark at the Natural History Museum in Iowa City. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Best Shopping District

Downtown Iowa City

Best Tourist Attraction – TIE!

The Amana Colonies

Devonian Fossil Gorge

2850 Prairie du Chien Rd NE, Iowa City (off Coralville Lake)

Devonian Fossil Gorge — Jordan Smith/Little Village

Best View

Mount Trashmore

2250 A Street SW, Cedar Rapids

View of Cedar Rapids from Mount Trashmore — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Best Yard/Garden

Johnson County Historic Poor Farm

4811 Melrose Ave, Iowa City, 319-356-6000,

Best Youth Nonprofit

United Action for Youth

Arts Program Coordinator Lauren Linahon assembles art kits. — courtesy of UAY

Hardest Fightin’ Union

SEIU Local 199, the union of Iowa’s caregivers

332 S Linn #12, Iowa City 319-341-0112,

Most Trusted Funeral Home

Lensing Funeral and Cremation Service

605 Kirkwood Ave, Iowa City 319-338-8171,

Lensing’s Oak Hill

210 Holiday Rd, Coralville, 319-351-9362

Little Village’s Best of the CRANDIC is presented by City of Iowa City.

See who else won!