Celebrating Michigan Rich Cultural Heritage

$155,000 Awarded to 13 Humanities Projects

CONTACT: Scott Hirko, Public Relations Officer, 
shirko [at] mihumanities.org
, 517-372-0029 ext. 25

also in PDF

Communities with organizations receiving grants include: Hancock, Marquette, Paradise, Traverse City, Holland, Kalamazoo, Whitehall, Saginaw, East Lansing, Ann Arbor, Dearborn, Detroit

(LANSING)-----The Michigan Humanities Council has awarded $154,525 in grants to support 13 public humanities projects in Michigan. The grants emphasize collaboration among cultural, educational, and community-based organizations and institutions to serve Michigan citizens with public humanities programming.  Organizations awarded grants will generate an additional $358,580 in cost-share and other revenue in support of the projects.  In all, 19 applications were received that would have generated $715,874 in activity.

“The Michigan Humanities Council is pleased to provide significant funding to many community projects that promote the examination of culture and the understanding of sense of place,” said Janice Fedewa, executive director of the Michigan Humanities Council.  “We look forward to partnering with these communities to create quality cultural programs.”


The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society (Sault Ste. Marie) was awarded $15,000 to create 19 new interpretive panels at the main building at Whitefish Point.  The panels will share new shipwreck research, new paintings and images and respond to public input for expanded interpretation of Great Lakes shipwrecks.

The Pine Mountain Music Festival (Hancock) was awarded $8,090 for the Story Line Project, in which students from 10 local schools will research family histories and photographs to create a fabric story line panel about a miners’ strike in Rockland, Michigan, in 1906.  The project is inspired by the opera, “Rockland,” which showcases the miners’ heroic efforts protesting unsafe conditions and exploitation by the mining company.  Three-thousand story panels will be created and displayed at the premiere of “Rockland” at the Rosza Center for the Performing Arts in Houghton, July 2011.

Northern Michigan University (Marquette) was awarded $14,408 to produce and market a book-length anthology of Michigan Native American contemporary poems, short stories, memoirs, profiles, and creative nonfiction essays along with drawings, illustrations, and photographs.  The anthology will be published in March 2011, with public readings held in both the Upper and Lower Peninsula beginning in May 2011.


The Northwestern  Michigan College Foundation and the Dennos Museum Center (Traverse City) will receive $15,000 for two exhibitions presenting the theme of women’s roles, rites of passage, attributes, accomplishments, and spirituality on a global perspective. The two exhibitions are: Celebrating Women, a traveling photographic exhibit by photographer Paola Gianturco; and, One Woman’s Creating Journey, a fiber arts exhibit by designer Anita Mayer.  The exhibitions will open to the public with a reception on September 18 and remain until January 2, 2011.  During the tenure of the exhibit, both Gianturoco and Mayer will give presentations; several televised discussions will be broadcast in coordination with WCMU Public Broadcasting at Central Michigan University; musical, artistic, and cultural performances will be hosted at the Dennos Museum Center; and there will be several additional moderated dialogues on women as artists, women in social justice, and women in business and government.


The Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates (Holland) was awarded $15,000 to create a traveling exhibit, 45-minute film documentary, and curriculum guide about the sinking of the Thomas Hume and the lives of the people who sailed it.  The Thomas Hume shipped lumber to market in the late 19th century and the wreck is one of the most intact of its kind ever found in the Great Lakes.  The film and exhibit will debut at the Lakeshore Museum Center in Muskegon on May 21, 2011 – on the 120th anniversary of the sinking of the Thomas Hume.

Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo) was awarded $8,100 to support the 2010 Fort St. Joseph Open House in Niles based on the theme, Women of New France.  Events and demonstrations will pay particular attention to how colonial women lived and worked in the 1691-1781 period and the importance of their role on the frontier. Attendees will be able to watch archaeologists excavate and screen for artifacts, listen to lectures about women in New France by project researchers and guest speakers, and interact with knowledgeable living history re-enactors.  The event will be held August 14-15, 2010.

The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts (KIA) was awarded $12,500 for The Camera Connects Us, a project centered around two historical photography exhibitions: National Geographic’s Greatest Portraits and selections from KIA’s photography collection, Capturing Time: 100 years of Iconic Photographs.  The project will include: guided gallery tours; an on-line essay contest of 200 words or less for middle school students, high school students, and adults; and, six scholarly presentations about the influence of photography and its importance as anthropological and historical resources.  The exhibit will debut in September 2010; events will occur between September and December, 2010. The Camera Connects Us is KIA’s contribution to a community-wide effort exploring race and its economic, political, and cultural impact.

The Nuveen Community Center for the Arts (Whitehall) was awarded $10,150 for a celebration of the sesquicentennial of Whitehall. The project includes: 1) period actors and humanities professionals for educational assemblies, workshops, and presentations from September to October, 2010;  2) Nuveen Community Center and teachers will facilitate conversations about Whitehall’s past, present, and future; and, 3) students will create art and stories among other projects as part of a month-long exhibit of student works, Whitehall – Past, Present, and Future. All Whitehall schools will participate.  In November 2010, the exhibition of student works will be held at the Nuveen Center and a public screening of digital media projects held at the Howmet Playhouse in Whitehall.

The Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum (Saginaw) was awarded $15,000 to create a new mixed media exhibition of original artifacts that explores the relationship of artists and architects from 1919-1941 in the Detroit area. Viewers will learn about the building boom in Detroit during the 1920s; understand some of the city’s major landmarks, major architects, and the circumstances that brought the artists and architects together. The exhibit will be on display from February 1 – May 27, 2011 and will include guest lectures, exhibit catalogue, and curriculum materials for K-12 school tours.

The Michigan State University College of Law (East Lansing) was awarded $15,000 to present a play about African American students at a Midwestern university during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.  The Black Law Students Association and other student groups will help facilitate the project. A follow-up symposium will consider questions of law, justice, and morality and place the play in a larger historical and cultural context. This is the first major grant since 1978 awarded by Michigan Humanities Council to a law school.  Rehearsals will begin in October; the performance will occur November 11 through 14, at 8 pm each day at the Arena Theatre at Michigan State University. It will be the first production of the college's Writer in Residence Program. 

The Kerrytown BookFest (Ann Arbor) was awarded $4,450 to support its 8th annual bookfest based on the theme, Great Lakes, Great Books, Great Kids.  The festival, which showcases Michigan’s heritage in book and printing arts, will be held September 12, 2010, at the Farmers’ Market Ann Arbor.

The Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit was awarded $15,000 to support Northern Light, an original play focusing on the 1966 student walk-out from Detroit’s Northern High School in protest of what was believed to be inferior school facilities and education.  It is intended to create civic dialogue and cause audiences to reflect on and learn from lessons of the past. A community forum will involve Mosaic Youth Theatre, Wayne State University’s Black Theatre Program, and University of Michigan-Ann Arbor’s Art of Citizenship Program. Two student matinee performances will have post performance talk-backs and targeted focus group discussions. It is intended to debut in May 2011 at the Detroit Institute of Arts.  The writing and development of the play is led by playwright Michael Dinwiddie, Associate Professor at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study.

The Henry Ford Estate at the University of Michigan-Dearborn was awarded $8,827 for a Cultural Landscape Symposium on October 1 and October 2, 2010, at the Ford Estate, Ford’s Benson Research Center in Dearborn, the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, Nichols Arboretum, the Bentley Historical Library, and Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor. The focus will be the historical context for Prairie Style landscape design in early 20th century southeast Michigan and its cultural contributions. Included also will be interpretation and teaching techniques being developed, additional resources in the field, and the future significance of this landscape style related to sustainability efforts.

The Michigan Humanities Council, founded in 1974, is an independent, non-profit organization funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities. For additional information, please visit: www.michiganhumanities.org or call 517-372-7770.

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