This list is updated following each mini grant cycle (November, February, May, and August) as well as in April when the Humanities Council announces major grant awards. To-date this year, the Humanities Council has awarded $10,000 to three organizations and two individuals. Please check back regularly for the most current details of the public history, cultural heritage, civic education, and community engagement projects happening throughout the state.
Public Project Grants: In support of organizations and projects that enrich and enliven the life of our state through public humanities programs which include civic engagement and education components to cultivate the civic leaders of future generations.
MAJOR GRANT AWARDS
Firstworks, Raise Your Voice: “Outsider” Perspectives and Performance – $8,250
Support for public discussions and performances exploring the roles of gender and sexuality in shaping historical representative and artistic production. A performance reimagining the history of American music through a queer lens will be recorded and shared with audiences statewide.
The Wilbury Theatre Group, The Olneyville Expo: A Chautauqua-Style Celebration of Olneyville Past, Present, and Future – $12,000
Support for a neighborhood-based program engaging artists, scholars, and community members in a celebration of all that is Olneyville. Connecting to the annual PVD Fringe Fest, the Chautauqua will be family-oriented an explore topics such as history, cultural heritage, community, and artistic production.
Providence Public Library, Within a Lifetime: Immigration and the Changing City – $6,895
Support for a conversation series exploring the complexities and universalities of immigration to Rhode Island as reflected in the history of the Pond Street Neighborhood. The series focuses on six interrelated themes: education, law enforcement, citizenship, voting rights, worker rights, and housing.
New Urban Arts, Art Inquiry: The Immigrant Story – $12,000
Support for a robust summer education program at NUA rooted in humanities learning and skills. The interdisciplinary program engages low-income youth from Providence public high schools. Students’ research and artmaking connects to experiences of immigration and the demographic and cultural legacies of the Pond Street Neighborhood of Providence.
Warwick Center for the Arts, Public Educational Exhibit Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Passage of the 19th Amendment – $5,000
Funds support the planning stages of a program series celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment. The planning stages of the project result in the creation of a project plan, partners list, and detailed list of resources required to explore 100 years of women’s suffrage in 2020.
newportFILM, newportFILM OUTDOORS 2019 – $8,250
Funds support the 10th annual outdoor documentary film series held weekly in the summer at venues across Aquidneck Island. The project deepens public engagements with the films’ humanities themes through moderated post-film conversations, online video content, and a blog series.
Pushed Learning and Media, Curriculum Implementation and Long-Term Curricular Design in Rhode Island Public Schools – $12,000
Support for public programs connecting students with performers and educators who utilize hip hop and humanities learning to explore the state’s economic, racial, and cultural divisions. School-wide performances, individual classroom work, instructional videos, and afterschool programs allow students to understand the varied life experiences of fellow Rhode Islanders who live so close but are worlds apart.
Providence Children’s Museum, Cultural Connection at the Providence Children’s Museum – $10,230
Funds support the cultural connections program at the Providence Children’s Museum that brings local artists and humanists to the museum for family-oriented programs exploring history, heritage, identity, and culture. The programs take place the first Saturday of every month.
Rhode Island Historical Society, EnCompass: A Digital Archive of Rhode Island History – $10,465
Funds support seven additional chapters for the online Rhode Island digital history textbook EnCompass. Working with partner scholars and institutions, new chapters cover topics ranging from indigenous history to the Gaspee Affair, women’s suffrage, and the Civil Rights Movement.
State House Restoration Society, A State House of the Future – $5,000
Support for the planning stages of a civics project creating and exploring the “state house of the future.” The project challenges architects, designers, and the public to consider the histories of state houses and ways that the buildings can and should be adapted to serve the civic needs of a 21st Century population.
Community MusicWorks, Traces – $11,000
Funds support a history-based performance project tracing the “sonic memory” of the neighborhood and new home of Community MusicWorks–the West Side of Providence. Working with students and community members, a public scholar facilitates to collection of oral histories that inform the development of several sound installations and performances.
Generation Citizen, Improved Civics Education for English Language Learners – $11,000
Support for the adaptation of Generation Citizen’s extant educational materials for English language learners (ELL). Working with scholars from Rhode Island College, Generation Citizen’s new civic education materials are piloted with ELL teachers and students in Providence and Central Falls.
MINI GRANT AWARDS
GEAR Productions, Knowing Home – $2,000
To support a production of Knowing Home, a musical about the varied history and experiences of those who have called South Kingstown home. Featuring roles for children of all abilities, the production introduces 150+ novices to the thrill of performance and the value of local history.
International Tennis Hall of Fame, In Your Court: Black Tennis and Social Justice Then and Now – $2,000
To support a planning grant to expand the Tennis Hall of Fame’s K-12 educational offerings focused on the history of sport and race in the United States. Working with Rhode Island Black Storytellers and local teachers, the Hall of Fame will infuse its current curricula with storytelling and performances.
The Providence Athenaeum, Ravenous: The Enduring Legacy of Poe – $2,000
To support a program series shedding light on the complex connections of Edgar Allen Poe to the City of Providence and the lasting cultural legacy of his work. Through family programming, the series connects adults and students with the complex social circles of Poe and his literary contemporaries.
Providence Biennial for Contemporary Art, ReSeeding the City: Ethnobotany in the Urban – $2,000
Funds support a one-day forum and month-long series of exhibits focused on the entwined lives of humans, plants, and other life forms existing in New England’s urban spaces. Presentations and installations highlight the diverse perspectives, philosophies, and sciences through which we can better see and understand our day-to-day environment.
Social Enterprise Greenhouse, Collective Memories: Mount Hope, Planning a Digital Archive – $2,000
To support the research and planning stages of an online archive to preserve and showcase oral histories, documents, and photographs gathered through Mt. Hope Empowerment Dialogues for Community Action. The project culminates in a tactical work plan that maps out the creation of a digital archive.
Touro Synagogue Foundation, New Perspectives on the History of Touro Synagogue – $2,000
To support a program series exploring the historic culture and community of Touro Synagogue. The programs are geared toward bringing together Newport’s diverse faith organizations over scholarly lectures and a community dinner. The series engages the community in conversations about American interpretations of the “holy land” and food pathways of Jewish-American culture.
Warren Preservation Society, Sowams Heritage Area Site Visit Support – $2,000
Funds support the development of five self-guided tours of early colonial history in Sowams. The traditional home of the Wampanoag, Sowams includes the land and waters of Warren, Bristol, Barrington, East Providence, Providence, and Bristol County, MA. The project seeks to educate the public about the people, places, and events significant to indigenous culture and colonial settlement in the region.
Documentary Film Grants: In support of documentary films that preserve Rhode Island’s stories and bring its history to life.
MAJOR GRANT AWARDS
Center for Independent Documentary, Blood and Watershed: The Scituate Reservoir – $5,000
Funds support the scripting phase of a documentary film exploring the creation of the Scituate Reservoir and its current role as Rhode Island’s largest freshwater resource. The final film examines the multidimensional role and impact of the Reservoir on Rhode Island culture, economics, infrastructure and citizens’ sense of civic agency.
Futuro Media Group, UNLADYLIKE2020: Sissieretta Jones and Annie Smith Peck – $11,910
Funds support the production and premiere of two documentary shorts exploring the life and times of acclaimed vocalist Sissieretta Jones and internationally-renowned mountaineer Annie Smith Peck. The videos are part of the larger UNLADYLIKE project, celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage and the accomplishments of Progressive Era women. The series culminates in a national broadcast, educational programs, and public dialogues.
Rhode Island Public Broadcasting System, The Missing Season: Race and Community in Rhode Island’s Golden Age of Baseball – $11,000
Funds support the production and premiere of “The Missing Season: Race and Community in Rhode Island’s Golden Age of Baseball.” The film focuses on Providence’s early 20th-Century Black community and the interwoven threads of race, money, sport, and social power as they affected the “national pastime” in Rhode Island.
MINI GRANT AWARDS
Rhode Island College, Anna and Ahana – A Contemporary Adaptation of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper – $2,000
To support a short film adaptation of the The Yellow Wallpaper, an early feminist work by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Altering the time period and culture of the protagonist, the film explores issues of isolation, alienation, and abuse within immigrant communities in the United States.
Research Grants to Individuals: In support of independent research that captures and illuminates Rhode Island’s stories.
MINI GRANT AWARDS
Shai Afsai, “Serviceable to People in all Religions” – American Religious Liberty, the Art of Virtue, and Judaism – $2,000
To support research exploring the intersection of American religious liberty, Benjamin Franklin’s Art of Virtue, and historic and contemporary Jewish ideals and practices. Diving into local and regional collections, the project will shed light on the lasting cross-cultural impact of colonial America’s shared ideologies and community values, in the context of religious liberty.
Daniel Denvir, Slavery’s Hinterlands – $2,000
To support research contributing to a podcast episode and a public symposium exploring Rhode Island’s deep connections to the historic institution of slavery. The research and symposium will explore, through a socialist lens, the challenges of capitalism and the economic practices that supported slavery, and the continuing social injustices of the United States.