Humanities Grant Award Recipients
Fall 2021 Humanities Grant Awards – Total Amount: $151,280
Eastern Michigan University $11,900.00
Muriel Rukeyser’s Houdini and the Public Role of Poetry
Muriel Rukeyser was a prolific Jewish American writer convinced that poetry creates unique meeting places for readers, yet her voice and its contemporary relevance have been muffled. Here we focus on one example where Rukeyser incorporated poetry into popular forms: her musical Houdini. Challenging the locks and constraints that imprison us all and inviting us to overcome whatever fears entrap us, the play speaks incisively to our current moment as Americans face an uncertain future in an ever more divided nation. A series of public events will introduce this pioneering work, and Rukeyser, to a diverse and cross-generational Michigan audience.
Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities $15,000.00
On the Table (OTT): Stories of Food and Change
Through short documentaries and community forums, On the Table (OTT) gives agency to those telling their own stories about their intersections with food and community. Food and its relationship to community is changing dramatically in Northwest Michigan, creating both challenges and opportunities. By chronicling the area’s changing food landscape, OTT seeks to promote increased awareness of and engagement with our region’s food-related challenges.
Keiga Foundation $15,000.00
Advancing Children’s Cultural Literacy in Michigan
This project focuses on providing black and brown students in Detroit the opportunity to read books that directly speak to their cultural experiences to foster a deep sense of confidence and groundedness. Given the opportunity to see themselves and their cultures reflected in literature, students will want to read more, therefore increasing literacy. We will re-publish two fascinating children’s books authored by Dr. Walter Anthony Rodney and develop a virtual program including introductions to the books and readings by Dr. Walter Rodney’s family. The books and virtual programs will be distributed to select schools and organizations in Detroit so they can distribute widely in the community.
LGBT Detroit $15,000.00
Come Out! In Detroit
Come Out! In Detroit brings the story of Michigan’s first-ever LGBTQ Pride celebration in June 1972 to life through a full-color, 32-page nonfiction comic book for free distribution. Based on eyewitness primary sources, oral histories, and a cache of largely unseen photographs, the comic book will uniquely covey a spectrum of earlier queer lives from across the state joined together in protest and jubilation. A print run of 20,000 copies aims to reach a wide audience, accompanied by exhibits and public programs in Detroit, Ann Arbor, and East Lansing to mark the 50th anniversary of the event in June 2022.
Mason County District Library $15,000.00
Mason County District Library, together with the nonprofit Abondia Center, both in Ludington, request funds to support in part 15 of 18 events in the multi-discipline series SHIFTING LANDSCAPES. With humanists in diverse disciplines, the series will examine 6 topics where the ground beneath our feet has shifted as a result of, or at least during, the Covid-19 pandemic: Community, Science, Education, Race/Racism, Truth in Politics, and Economics. Three sessions will be devoted to each of the topics. The free series will run the first 3 Mondays of each month October-April (except December), 7-8:30 PM, live in Ludington and available by Zoom, with tapes available to the public.
Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit $15,000.00
Courage, Culture and Creativity
Mosaic will cultivate community activation and engagement through our theater production of The Epic of Mwindo and accompanying discussion series. Mwindo is a mythological tale of the Congo in Central Africa passed on from one generation to the next. Mwindo, born with magical powers, is an unwitting threat to his father, an evil Chief whose greed inflamed his pursuit of Mwindo’s death. Mwindo’s quest to thrive becomes a journey filled with incredible action and unimaginable adventures which Mosaic’s young artists will translate into performances featuring music and dancing paced by the vibrato of courage as expressed in Mwindo, inspiring audiences to discover their inner Warrior Spirit.
Northern Michigan University $8,230.00
Revealing Historical Collections of the Upper Peninsula
Northern Michigan University (NMU) proposes to use Michigan Humanities Council funds to support three community digitization scanning events in the Upper Peninsula conducted during Summer 2022. Each two-day event will occur during the months of June, July, and August distributed geographically with specific time and location TBA.. The Upper Peninsula Digital Network (UPLINK) will host each event at a selected heritage organization. Each two-day event will include two mobile digitization units, a morning workshop on digital preservation and the importance of community archiving, and two oral history recording booths .
PuppetART proposes PuppetART Conservatory, an initiative to virtually conserve and deliver PuppetART’s artistic programs to libraries, schools, and families throughout Michigan. Puppets engage children and offer multiple benefits for social/emotional development. Created virtual materials will serve as teaching tools and as introductions to live theater. A typical conservatory educates as well as conserves cultural traditions. In the same way, PuppetART Conservatory will help conserve the humanities in education and teach children about the human experience. Funding will be used to acquire technical expertise in video productions to enhance PuppetART’s online presence and its programming.
Shiawassee Arts Council $15,000.00
Pictorial History of Owosso Exhibition
The Shiawassee Arts Center (SAC), celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022, is offering a special 14-week exhibit, “Pictorial History of Owosso”, May 6 – August 14 along with a hardcover, high-quality book that mirrors the exhibit. This free exhibit will be a major event in our community. Partnering with the Owosso Public Schools, guided tours will be offered to hundreds of students who will be bussed in to view the exhibit and create art to take home. Historical guiding walking tours (with brochures) of Owosso & cemetery, lectures, a downtown Pop-Up art gallery and more will take place in partnership with City of Owosso, Historical Commission, Historical Society & Owosso Main Street/DDA.
The Vagrancy $5,050.00
BLOSSOMING: a new play reading series
BLOSSOMING, a Michigan based program, will commission and present three staged reading performances written and directed by a diverse group of Michigan-based artists to a broad Michigan audience. Each performance will be followed by a “talkback” between the audience and the artists, moderated by a local, award-winning, spoken word artist. The “talkback” fosters an open exchange that will cultivate a broader and deeper understanding of self and one’s connection to others.
Western Michigan University, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability $15,000.00
Eco-Cultural Applications of “Two-Eyed Seeing” in Great Lakes Lands, Waters, and Communities
This environmental humanities project centers on “Two-Eyed Seeing,” which places Indigenous ecological knowledges (one eye) equal to western science (the other eye) to better know, protect, and restore land and waters. Two program paths will facilitate knowledge sharing and community learning: (1) An outdoor exhibit at the Museum of Ojibwa Culture along with designs for a companion Ojibwe demonstration garden, plus
“Two-Eyed” workshops led by Sault Ste. Marie Tribal educators. (2) An eco-cultural Walkabout on Drummond Island with a team of historians and natural resource agents of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians and a Wiikwemkoong First Nation leader from Manitoulin Island.
Writers Series of Traverse City $6,100.00
Jason Reynolds: Starting the Conversation about Race and Discrimination
The Writers Series will host a virtual guest author event with Jason Reynolds, author of “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You.” The purpose of this event is an exploration of diversity and social justice, offered specifically for youth. Mr. Reynolds’ work looks at the history of racism in the United States and how it has shaped our present world, as well as how to move forward. This event is needed in our rural, largely white community—recently, northern Michigan has made national news for a slave trade Snapchat and parents who resist Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion resolutions in our public schools.