Published December 7, 2022

Today, Virginia Humanities announced 32 new grants totaling $238,244 to nonprofit organizations across the Commonwealth.

“The awarded projects span cultural celebrations, art installations, public conversations, live performances and more, each meaningfully exploring Virginia’s history, culture, and traditions,” said Matthew Gibson, Virginia Humanities’ executive director. “We are thrilled to support organizations that empower Virginians to connect with each other through the humanities, leading to stronger and more empathetic communities across the Commonwealth.”

To learn more about Virginia Humanities’ grants program, visit VirginiaHumanities.org/grants.

The following organizations received grants from Virginia Humanities between July and November 2022:

Belmead on the James, Inc. (DBA Drexel-Morrell Center): $5,000
Project: Ancestry 100: An African American Church Collaborative

Powhatan—Production of a digital file and a graphic exhibit that tell the stories of the African American churches in Powhatan from the 1800s to today, to be presented at Powhatan’s 2023 Juneteenth Celebration and permanently archived at the Drexel-Morrell Center.

Birthplace of Country Music: $3,784
Project: Summer Educator Fellowship Project at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum

Bristol—A summer educator fellowship program that will allow the organization to work directly with two teachers from the Bristol, VA and Tennessee school systems to accomplish various educational objectives.

Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia: $3,750
Project: I Am Worth It Youth Summit: Using History to Create a Brighter Future

Richmond—A summit designed for middle and high school aged youth and students in the Richmond Metropolitan Area with overarching objectives including youth empowerment, educational and cultural enrichment and leadership.

Cayambis Institute for Latin American Studies in Music: $2,715
Project: Three-City I-81 Tour and School Outreach

Blacksburg—A three-city tour of Cayambis Sinfonietta, the organization’s performing ensemble, in Blacksburg, Bridgewater and Radford, featuring an interactive educational program designed to introduce local public middle and high school students to Latin American classical music.

Descendants of Enslaved Communities at UVA: $5,000
Project: Documentary Educating First-Years at UVA on the History of Enslavement and Black Student Activism

Charlottesville—Development and production of a short documentary on Black student activism at UVA that will be part of a video series created under UVA’s Race, Place and Equity program.

Endstation Theatre Company: $5,000
Project: Community Stories in Community Schools

Lynchburg—Production of an original play about the 1961 desegregation—and subsequent filling in—of Lynchburg’s public swimming pools, to be performed in local high schools as part of a new initiative: Community Stories in Community Schools.

Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center: $15,000
Project: Voices Strong, Voices True: Our Untold Stories

Fredericksburg—Creation of a city-wide interpretive plan, K-12 student programming and a digital exhibition on African American history built around the community’s contested “Slave Auction Block.”

George Mason University College of Visual and Performing Arts: $20,000
Project: 1,001 Plays

Fairfax—Production of marketing and communications assets for a free annual 10-minute play festival that aims to use theater as a means for cross-cultural communication.

Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater: $5,000
Project: “To Life: Stories of Courage and Survival (Second Edition)”

Virginia Beach—Publication of an expanded version of “To Life: Stories of Courage and Survival” and production of companion resources including podcasts, lesson plans, an eBook and educational and community outreach.

Ivy Creek Foundation: $5,805
Project: Ivy Creek Foundation Education Interpretive Panels

Charlottesville—Production and installation of three educational interpretive panels to teach visitors about the farmhouse, barn and cemetery located at historic River View Farm in Charlottesville, home of formerly enslaved individual Hugh Carr and now called the Ivy Creek Natural Area.

Jewish Museum & Cultural Center (Friends of Chevra T’Helim Inc.): $6,502
Project: Berkley: A Look into the Heart of a Neighborhood

Portsmouth— Purchase of a digital touch screen display to enrich an existing exhibit on immigrant Jews who contributed culturally and economically to the larger Tidewater area, a vital center of Jewish life at the turn of the 20th century.

Literacy Volunteers of Charlottesville/Albemarle: $1,498
Project: “The Joy of Writing” Student Book

Charlottesville—Publication of “The Joy of Writing,” a collection of stories written by adult immigrant and refugee students learning to read, write and speak the English language, covering topics including personal histories, struggles of survival and cultural traditions.

Local Colors of Western VA: $3,000
Project: Local Colors Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration

Roanoke—Local Colors’ third annual Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration, which seeks to honor the Hispanic/Latino community in the Roanoke Valley and celebrate its heritage with special outdoor programming.

Menokin Foundation: $5,000
Project: Menokin’s Inaugural Descendants Day

Warsaw—Menokin’s inaugural Descendants Day seeks to honor the enslaved community by not only ensuring that their history is firmly rooted in the past, but that their descendants are supported and celebrated now and well into the future.

Patawomeck Indian Tribe of Virginia, Inc. 47-148131: $4,241
Project: Patawomeck Eel Pot Workshop

Fredericksburg—A hands-on workshop led by Dr. D. Brad Hatch, a master maker of the Patawomeck eel pot, an enrolled member of the Patawomeck tribe and member of the 2022-23 class of Virginia Humanities’ Folklife Apprenticeship program.

Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation: $10,000
Project: Red Hill Rediscovered-Live-Stream Programs, Fireside Chats & Community Forums Engaging New Audiences

Brookneal— Development and distribution of both streamed and live programming on topics related to Red Hill, Patrick Henry’s home in Charlotte County purchased in 1794, and its Quarter Place, where the enslaved community labored and was housed.

Radford University: $3,000
Project: Earthseed 2023: Octavia Butler’s “Parable of the Sower” at 30

Radford—A series of curricular and co-curricular book discussions around the 2020 graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler’s 1993 dystopian novel “Parable of the Sower,” which will empower the community to discuss the past, present and future of humanity itself.

Rappahannock Tribe of Virginia: $18,385
Project: In Our Own Words: Preserving Stories of the Rappahannock Tribe

Indian Neck—A radio-based project designed to address the “need to pass down wisdom and experiences of our elders” and to train (primarily) young people to document Tribal family stories for cultural restoration, identity and preservation, as well as to teach the public about Indigenous beliefs and traditions.

Shenandoah Valley Black Heritage Project: $4,510
Project: Enslaved in Page County, Virginia, Bethany Veney’s Narrative Read By Her Descendants

Harrisburg—A reading of the narrative of Bethany Veney, who was born enslaved in Page County, Virginia in the early 1800s, by her living descendants. Veney’s narrative is one of the most powerful descriptions of slavery in the Shenandoah Valley.

Springhouse Community School: $5,000
Project: “Just Mercy” Community Conversations

Pilot—A series of public, community-wide conversations and events centered on Bryan Stevenson’s novel “Just Mercy,” which focuses on injustices in the United States judicial system.

St. Luke’s Historic Church & Museum: $5,000
Project: 17th Century Isle of Wight County: Living History Event

Smithfield—An annual two-day event that aims to share the experiences of 17th century Virginians through period musical performances, thematic lectures and costumed interpreters.

The American Friends of Lafayette: $20,000
Project: The Bicentennial Commemoration of Lafayette’s 1824-25 Farewell Tour Visits to Cities and Towns in VA

Gaithersburg—Production of three web-based travelogues that follow Lafayette’s fifty stops in Virginia during his Farewell Tour across the United States in 1824–1825, to educate the public about Lafayette’s role in the American Revolution and his advocacy of human rights.

The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative: $15,000
Project: Unsettling Grounds

Charlottesville—A platform showcasing “experimental and monumental” works by Black, Indigenous and low-income artists with the goal of bringing diverse creative works and recovered histories to light.

The Origin Project: $18,278
Project: The Journey of Lifelong Learning: Teachers Refining Their Voices Through the Craft of Writing

Big Stone Gap—A writing workshop for teachers to facilitate stories about their familial origins, to be shared later with students as roadmaps for their own writing and published alongside the students’ stories in “The Origin Project, Book Nine.”

The Urban Renewal Center: $5,000
Project: Urban Renewal Center’s Black Sacred Arts Series

Norfolk—A series of five free performances of traditional African American religious music, serving as an avenue to explore, share, and learn about the history of slavery and civil rights in Hampton Roads, as well as the history of struggle, resistance, and celebration rooted in Black spirituals.

Tidewater African Cultural Alliance: $9,276
Project: African Diaspora Heritage Month Commemoration

Virginia Beach—The inaugural African Diaspora Heritage Month Commemoration inaugural event celebrates the local African Diaspora Community and its culture with programming that includes panel discussions, voter registration, and free health screenings.

Teens With a Purpose – The Youth Movement: $13,000
Project: Virginia Youth Poet Laureate Program

Norfolk—A program that enables Virginia Youth Poets to use their voices, their lived stories, and their original poetry as empowered voices, representing themselves, their communities, and Virginia through a partnership with the National Youth Poet Laureate Program (NYPL).

Unmarked Documentary, LLC: $4,000
Project: “Unmarked” Film Screening and Discussion

Lynchburg—A free, public screening of “Unmarked,” a short documentary that tells the stories of neglected African American cemeteries and enslaved burial sites across the Commonwealth, followed by a panel discussion.

Virginia Beach Art Center: $1,500
Project: Aware 2022 and The Feather Project

Virginia Beach—A ten-day experience designed to celebrate history and cultural diversity in the community through art, featuring a new community-based immersive art installation focused on local Native American history.

Virginia Commonwealth University Foundation: $5,000
Project: Building an Environmental Humanities Hub at the Humanities Research Center, VCU

Richmond—An incubator that catalyzes research conversations, including both humanist and natural sciences research, to build connections between the Richmond community and the university.

Virginia Opera Association, Inc.: $5,000
Project: Expanding LGBTQ+ Relationships Through Opera

Norfolk—Educational community outreach for the organization’s production of “Fellow Travelers,” an opera that details the “Lavender Scare,” a witch hunt resulting in mass firings of gay workers from the United States government.

Women Make Movies: $5,000
Project: “Hope of Escape”

New York—Post-production for “Hope of Escape,” an independently-made historical drama that champions enslaved American heroes and abolitionist allies who, leading up to the Civil War, were willing to take on immense risk in order to combat the wretchedness of slavery.

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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