Published February 16, 2021

Charlottesville, VA—Virginia Humanities announces $181,500 in recent grants to twenty-five nonprofit organizations in support of public humanities programs for audiences throughout the commonwealth and beyond.

The Virginia Humanities Grant Program provides communities with the resources to shape and share narratives of their own histories and initiate conversations around the topics that are most relevant to local residents today. Virginia Humanities has awarded grants to museums, historical societies, and other cultural nonprofits across the state since 1974, reaching every corner of the commonwealth.

“Even amidst the challenges that this year has brought to communities and individuals across the state, these projects are inspiring in what they seek to do and accomplish in looking at history and to a future where we learn from one another’s experiences,” said Matthew Gibson, Virginia Humanities’ executive director. “These projects embody Virginia Humanities’ mission of serving everyone in the commonwealth, and we’re proud to support them.”

Virginia Humanities grant projects reach an estimated annual audience of 1.5 million, with an average 4:1 dollar match. More than half of these twenty-five organizations are first-time recipients of a grant from Virginia Humanities. Eleven grants are directly focused on the experiences, past and present, of African American people and communities in Virginia. Three engage specifically with economic circumstances in the commonwealth, two with Virginia’s ecosystem and natural environment. Three explore the intersection of the arts and humanities. Crucially, all twenty-five projects involve an educational component.

All participating projects agree to follow current Commonwealth of Virginia and/or CDC guidelines regarding social distancing in all grant-supported activities in effect at the time these activities take place.

The following organizations received grants from Virginia Humanities
between July 2020 and January 2021:

Affordable Housing Corporation/Studio Pause: $7,000
Arlington, VA

Creation and distribution of a handmade book of personal reflections on the year 2020, set in historical context; to be distributed to every household in the Gates of Ballston affordable housing community, whose residents are the primary authors

Blue Earth Alliance: $5,000
Seattle, WA and multiple locations in the Chesapeake Region              

Research and planning for a multi-faceted project exploring the “changing lives and identities” of three communities along the Virginia portion of the Chesapeake Bay, focusing on “tradition bearers” in these communities and their efforts to “retain cultural identity” in the face of rapid, climate-driven change

Chesapeake & Ohio Historical Society Inc.: $4,000           
Clifton Forge, VA

Publication of a book on the history of the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Railroad as seen through the eyes of the industrial photographer William Rittase, focusing on the years 1943—1950 and the importance of the C&O to the economic development of Virginia and neighboring states

Chincoteague Cultural Alliance: $8,000
Chincoteague, VA

A film on the history of Chincoteague Island from pre-European contact to the building of the Assateague Lighthouse

Christiansburg Institute: $7,000
Christiansburg, VA

Republication of two books on the life, achievements, and legacy of Edgar A. Long, C.I.’s longest-serving principal

Encore Stage & Studio: $6,000
Arlington, VA

Adaptation of an existing theatrical production, introducing elementary school students and their families to the history of public-school desegregation in Arlington

Enrichmond Foundation: $4,000               
Richmond, VA

A series of artistic portraits and interviews with 24 immigrants (from 24 countries) now living in the Richmond area, highlighting the diversity of languages and cultural backgrounds they have brought with them and their perspectives on learning a new language and finding “voice” in their new country

Eugene Martin LLC (Promise Land Communications): $6,000
Charlottesville, VA

A series of podcast episodes depicting the lives of five Black professors at a predominately White university in the rural South        

Fractured Atlas: $10,000
New York, NY and Chesapeake, Emporia, Richmond, and Staunton, VA

A film exploring issues raised by mass incarceration in the United States through the lives of three inmates and the annual father-daughter dance at the Richmond City Jail

George Mason University (The John Mitchell, Jr. Program for History, Justice, and Race): $8,000
Fairfax, VA

A digital exhibit on the life and career of journalist John Mitchell, Jr., the longtime editor of the Richmond Planet and his collaborations with Frederick Douglass and Ida B. Wells

Hampton Roads Education Telecommunications (WHRO): $7,000
Norfolk, VA

A series of podcasts and radio segments on the life of Willis Hodges, a free black resident of Princess Anne County (now Virginia Beach), and the “mechanics” of the Underground Railroad in Hampton Roads

Helping Hand Cemetery Club     : $10,000
Courtland, VA

A multi-faceted project exploring the history and stories of African American life in Courtland, Virginia through the lens of the Helping Hand Cemetery

Library of Virginia: $15,000
Richmond, VA

A multi-site, multi-platform institute for Virginia K-12 teachers on the history of Virginia’s constitutions, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the 1971 Constitution

Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation: $8,000
Brookneal, VA

Research, collection of oral histories, and community outreach focusing on the history of the enslaved community at Patrick Henry’s Red Hill

Pocahontas Reframed Storytellers Film Festival: $5,000
King William, VA

An experimental short film representing indigenous cultures from different parts of North America, projecting an alternate history where genocide and conquest were not the outcomes of European contact

Public Housing Association of Residents: $3,000               
Charlottesville, VA          

Planning for an oral history project designed to document and make accessible the experiences and perspectives of public housing residents in Charlottesville, with a particular focus on the history of grassroots organizing by members of this community

Rappahannock Tribe of Virginia: $15,000
Stephens Church, VA

A series of exhibits, research, a publication, and a Youth Day event focusing on Virginia Indian history—and the history of the Rappahannock Tribe in particular—in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the Tribe’s incorporation

Red Dirt Productions: $8,000
Charlottesville, VA

A multi-media “toolkit” designed to complement a documentary film titled At the Common Table: The Hidden History of Southern Food, exploring the ways that food connects people across racial lines

Richmond Hill: $5,000
Richmond, VA

Research and a series of public programs on the history of enslavement and African American life at Richmond Hill, currently functioning as a retreat center in the heart of Richmond

Semilla Cultural: $7,000
Fredericksburg, VA

Three interpretive performances and panel discussions on the history of Puerto Rican Bomba, its ties to Africa, and its continuing evolution as a musical tradition

Stone Soup Productions: $5,000
Washington, D.C. and locations Statewide

Research and production of one episode in a multi-part series of podcasts considering stories that were uncovered by the WPA Writers and Artists project, particularly as they pertain to race in Virginia

Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community: $10,500
Suffolk, VA

Research and production of the first two episodes in a larger series of podcasts exploring issues, challenges, and opportunities facing rural communities, agriculture, and food systems in Virginia, with a focus on Western Tidewater

The John Mitchell, Jr. Program for History, Justice and Race: $5,000
Arlington, VA

Research toward development of a digital exhibit on the life and career of journalist John Mitchell, Jr., longtime editor of the Richmond Planet and one of the country’s leading anti-lynching advocates during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The National Society of the Colonial Dames (Wilton House Museum): $8,000
Richmond, VA

Production of a digital version of an exhibit on the story of enslavement at Wilton House, built by members of the Randolph family and moved in 1933 from its former site in Henrico County to Richmond’s West End, where it currently functions as a museum

Virginia Organizing, Inc. (Beloved Community C’ville): $5,000
Charlottesville, VA

Development of a virtual tour of sites related to African American life and history in Charlottesville

Vanessa Adkins, right, is apprenticing under her cousin Jessica Canaday Stewart learning the finer points of traditional Chickahominy dancing. Photos taken at the Fall Festival and Pow Wow in Charles City on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012.

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