Celebrating Michigan Rich Cultural Heritage

CONTACT: Kate Kolenda

Tel: 517-372-7770

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 21 , 2011

Michigan Humanities Council Awards Local Grants for 14 Cultural & Historical Projects

LANSING – The Michigan Humanities Council announces its recent major grant awards totaling $193,167 to 14 different humanities projects throughout Michigan. The projects were funded through the Council’s Major Grants Program “Michigan People, Michigan Places; Our Stories, Our Lives”. The program emphasizes collaboration among cultural, educational and community-based organizations to provide public humanities projects.

The Plainwell Downtown Development Authority will receive $2,000 for a “Plainwell Historic Interpretive Plaque Exhibit” showcasing several buildings within Plainwell’s historic business district through the installation of 12 historic, decorative plaques and the development of a “walking tour” and brochures.

The Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University has been awarded $15,000 for the project, “Native Americans in the Civil War,” which includes the completion and dissemination of The Road to Andersonville: Michigan Native American Sharpshooters in the Civil War, a film documenting the history of the Native American soldiers of the 1st Michigan Sharpshooters during the Civil War. The film will be publicly shared through PBS television, local showings and an interactive website.

The Muskegon Museum of Art (MMA) will receive $15,000 to provide public programs to support the Smithsonian American Art Museum exhibition, 1934: A New Deal for Artists,” which will be at the MMA from Feb. 16 – May 6, 2012. The MMA will add works from its collections to this exhibit that pertain to 1934, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Depression, and will examine the impact of the Depression era in West Michigan and throughout the state with varied events and programs.

The Saint Andrews Society of Detroit was awarded $14,982 for its project “Preservation of Scottish American Cultural History in Storytelling and Dance” to be held at the Kilgour Scottish Center in Troy. The Center will host presentations and recitals by humanities professionals who are experts in the fields of traditional storytelling , history and dance. The programs will be professionally videotaped and edited, with DVDs added to the Kilgour Center’s library and made available free to the public.

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force, Inc. will receive $15,000 for the development of an interactive, traveling African-Mexican exhibit entitled “Rekindling the Michigan African-Mexican Connections,” which will provide information and an illustration of the timeline and escape routes used by the enslaved Africans who escaped to Mexico with the help of the Underground Railroad. The exhibit will be unveiled at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, followed by display at the Southfield Public Library and the Southfield Field Zone Youth Community Center.

Northwestern Michigan College Foundation – Dennos Museum Center was awarded $15,000 for speakers, films and discussions related to the traveling exhibit, “Art in War, which will be at the Dennos Museum Center from April 15 – June 10, 2012. The exhibition features the photography of Benjamin Busch, a resident of Reed City, from his 2003 and 2005 tours of Iraq as a member of the United States Marine Corps serving in combat units. Programs will be conducted for the general public and students.

The Grand Rapids Public Museum received a $14,991 grant for “The Grand History Lesson Project,” aimed at incorporating new, museum-based educational strategies relating to humanities concepts. The project will focus on the West Michigan region and incorporate aspects of the museum’s “Life Along the Grand” program, emphasizing student skills in collaboration, communication and problem solving, and will serve as a model for local and regional museum education.

The Troy Historical Society received $12,535 to implement a series of public programs entitled “A Heritage So Richly Woven” at the Troy Historic Village, including storytelling, reading aloud and lectures by Michigan humanities professionals. These interactive programs will focus on the different cultures that comprise the diverse population of southeast Michigan, with the goal of uncovering the shared humanity of the region’s various ethnic groups by sharing their stories with each other. Components are included for children and youth, adults and older teens, and visitors of all ages.

The American Museum of Magic (AMM) was awarded $15,000 for “Magic in Michigan,” a virtual exhibit on the AMM website. The exhibit will highlight the factors that made south central Michigan a haven and respite for some of the 20th century’s most famous magicians, how magicians affected the identity and economics of the region and their impact on the Michigan small towns and big cities they visited. The web exhibit will utilize the extensive collections housed at the American Museum of Magic in Marshall, and record oral histories and videos of 10 elderly, prominent Michigan magicians. The project includes free public programs in conjunction with the launch of the virtual exhibit.

The Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) will receive $15,000 to develop and implement “Setting Our Table,” an interpretive exhibit focusing on Arab American food ways concepts and customs as a gateway to culture. The exhibit will be on display at the Arab American National Museum from July through December 2012 and will explore the culinary diversity of the Arab world and how foods have changed as Arab immigrants acclimated to life in Michigan and America. Various public programs are included as part of the project and include multicultural dialog, a video component and a cell phone audio tour.

Con/Vida Popular Arts of the Americas will receive $15,000 for “Long Road to Freedom: African Heritage in Salvador and Detroit.” The project includes production of an exhibition catalogue and companion K-12 materials to help enrich and expand the public and student experience related to the exhibition “Bandits & Heroes, Poets & Saints – Popular Art from the Northeast of Brazil.” Theexhibitionis scheduled to open at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in the winter of 2013 and will remain at the Museum for six months. The project highlights the history and culture of the area northeast of Brazil as it relates to the African American population of Detroit, and the commonalities and differences in history and experiences.

Northern Michigan University: Beaumier UP Heritage Center was awarded $13,659 for “Scattered to the Winds: the Vanished Community of Cable’s Bay,” an exhibit based on an archaeological dig conducted by NMU students and faculty at two sites on Beaver Island in Lake Michigan. The exhibition will use collected artifacts, images and interpretive panels to tell the story of the former fishing village that was located on the island and include audio recordings and video footage. The exhibition will be on display at the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center at NMU from late April to August 2012 and will then be housed at the Beaver Island Historical Society to be on display beginning in the late spring of 2013.

The International Documentary Association (IDA), in conjunction with Michigan Technological University was awarded $15,000 to support production of the documentary “Yoopera!” based on film footage shot during the production of the opera, Rockland, in Houghton. This original opera is based on a historical event from Michigan’s mining history. The documentaryalso covers the work of community artist Mary Wright as she implemented “The Story Line Project’ in conjunction with the premiere of the opera.

The Peter White Public Library will receive $15,000 to support events associated with the “U.P. Book Tour 2012” featuring writers from Michigan and the Midwest who write about Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. The tour will partner with libraries, book stores, community colleges, community centers and other organizations to bring at least 20 authors to at least 15 different small, rural communities throughout the Upper Peninsula during June and July of 2012.

About the Michigan Humanities Council

The Michigan Humanities Council is a private, nonprofit organization created to foster a better understanding of each other and our state through local cultural, historical and literary experiences for all. The Council was founded in 1974 and is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and individual donors. For more information on future programs, upcoming grant opportunities or how you can support these efforts, please visit www.michiganhumanities.org or call (517) 372-7770.

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