April 16, 2021 – The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities is pleased to announce major grant awards to 15 public projects and documentary films that showcase the power of the humanities to connect communities and strengthen civil society.
Video messages from Senator Jack Reed, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman David Cicilline, and Congressman James Langevin speak to the role of the humanities to bring people together, especially in times of crisis, and congratulate this year’s grant recipients. In 2020, their continued support and leadership in Congress helped to bring $840,000 to Rhode Island in federal relief funds from the National Endowments for the Humanities and Arts. Additional relief funding for humanities and arts is expected through the American Rescue Plan, and details about those opportunities will be available later in May.
“This past year has presented so many obstacles to humanities organizations, to scholars, and to artists. Nevertheless, this community has adapted to the pandemic and risen to the challenge to reach people through the humanities, to contend with the past and to be part of a movement for justice. The humanities are showing the way to a renewed civil society. This year’s major project grants promise to do this in bold and creative ways,” said Elizabeth Francis, Executive Director.
Short video clips from 2021 major grantees and the Congressional delegation will be available here on the Council’s website and social media channels (@rihumanities) throughout the week of April 19 – 23 as we continue to celebrate and advocate for the role of public humanities in our civic life. Watch the Council’s website and calendar for updated information about grantee events in the coming months.
The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities seeds, supports, and strengthens public history, cultural heritage, civic education, and community engagement by and for all Rhode Islanders. As the only dedicated source of funding for public humanities in Rhode Island, we are proud to support museums, libraries, historic sites, schools, preservation and historical societies, community and cultural organizations, individual researchers and documentary filmmakers to bring Rhode Island’s stories to life and to amplify the state’s many diverse voices. A private nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, the Council is supported by federal funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as by individuals, corporations, and foundations. Visit www.rihumanities.org for more information.
Read on for a full list of this year’s major grant projects.
2021 MAJOR GRANT AWARDS
In support of organizations and projects that enrich and enliven the life of our state through public humanities programs.
Generation Citizen / Generation Citizen DEI Curricular Initiative, $11,707.00
Supports the evaluation, redesign, and implementation of Generation Citizen’s Action Civics curriculum to center diversity, equity, and inclusion through a culturally responsive, anti-racist, and strength-based lens.
Little Compton Historical Society / Everyone Was A Farmer: Permanent Exhibition, $12,000.00
Supports the development and implementation of a new permanent exhibition, Everyone Was a Farmer, in the historical society’s dairy barn exhibition space. The exhibition will include four centuries of agricultural histories, including stories of enslaved farmers of African descent, Indigenous farmers, and present-day local farmers, and will have related programming and virtual components.
Manton Avenue Project / MAP Adapts!: Plays by Young People to Create Connection and (Re)Imagine Past, Present, and Future, $12,000.00
Supports a series of playwriting programs for 3rd-to-8th graders. Each program will include playwriting instruction and a humanities-focused adaptation project that will ask participants to reimagine stories from visual art, literature, and history into performance texts and mini exhibitions.
newportFILM / newportFILM Virtual, $11,997.50
Supports the implementation and execution of the newportFILM Virtual program. The program includes free streaming of newportFILM’s documentary selections, post-film online Q&As with filmmakers and scholars, and blog posts by a humanities scholar.
Operation Stand Down Rhode Island / Providence Clemente Veterans Initiative, $12,000.00
Supports two faculty members’ participation in as well as printing expenses for the Providence Clemente Veterans Initiative 2021-22 program. The PCVI provides free humanities courses to all RI veterans that can be taken for college credit.
South County Museum / Ohh!: Oral History Hub Pilot, $5,000.00
A pilot oral history collection project to document the experiences of 10 members of the Point Judith commercial fishing community. As part of the project, the project team will train community oral history interviewers, find a digital repository for interviews, offer a lecture, produce an article, and incorporate the collected oral histories into an exhibition on Point Judith fishermen.
Teatro ECAS / ECAS en Casa, $7,400.00
Supports ECAS en Casa, a virtual program in which Teatro ECAS Executive Director Francis Parra interviews artists and scholars from across the Spanish-speaking world about humanities topics connected to the theater. Programs will be in Spanish with English-language subtitles.
United Theatre / The United Theatre Podcast Education Program, $10,000.00
A podcast education program for both youth and adults in partnership with the Public’s Radio. Participant podcasts will be distributed on a newly created United Theatre Podcast Network.
What Cheer Writers Club / Dear Rhode Island, $9,099.00
A two-month-long letter-writing exchange connecting pairs of Rhode Islanders, with a particular focus on populations experiencing increased social isolation due to the pandemic. The project will distribute letters from humanities scholars to all participants with each letter-writing round, and will also include a Letter Writing Bee event and a closing panel with the scholars.
The Womxn Project Education Fund / The Civics Project, $10,800.00
Supports the creation and distribution of a video series and social media campaign on the rules, norms, and systems of Rhode Island’s civic landscape. The target audience for the series and campaign is marginalized communities in Rhode Island, with the goal of increased civic and democratic participation in these communities.
In support of documentary films that preserve Rhode Island’s stories and bring its history to life.
Blackstone Valley Tourism Council / Slatersville: America’s First Mill Village, $12,000.00
Post-production of Slatersville: America’s First Mill Village, an eight-part documentary on the history and legacy of Slatersville that is contracted to premiere on Rhode Island PBS in 2022.
Frequency Writers / How We Remember, $10,475.00
Production and post-production of a documentary investigating the historical and cultural impact of the digitization of media, and how that affects personal memory and history as well as archival documentation in Rhode Island.
Rhode Island Black Heritage Society / Legacies of Slavery and Freedom: A Family Journey through the Atlantic World, $11,700.00
Production of a documentary that traces the history and legacies of slavery, freedom, and reparations through one enslaved African boy’s journey from Ghana to Jamaica to Rhode Island.
Rhode Island Latino Arts / Nuestras Raíces/Aquí Me Quedo, $5,000.00
Supports the research, planning and development phase of Nuestras Raíces/Aquí Me Quedo, a one-hour documentary about the Latino community on Providence’s Broad Street, and more generally, in Rhode Island. During the project timeline, the team will develop a Latinx film team; create a storyboard, timeline, and script for the documentary; and produce and screen a 3-5 minute trailer during Hispanic Heritage Month.
The Sanctuary Theatre, Inc. / Project Saudade, $10,500.00
Production and post-production of an animated short exploring the psychic and social toll of contemporary pandemic-era disconnectedness, and the paradoxes of living in the most networked time.