AHF awards more than $80,000 in latest grant-giving

Alabama Humanities Foundation awarded $80,831 in major and mini-grants across the state in its latest rounds of giving. From public discussions to exhibits to film projects and reading programs, dozens of grants were awarded.

AHF’s grants are awarded three times per year to museums, historical societies, libraries, civic clubs, religious groups, social service organizations, schools, colleges and universities, television and radio producers, state and local government agencies.

The latest grant recipients and their projects are:

Birmingham Industrial Heritage Project – Birmingham Industrial Heritage Project, $10,000
Through an interpretive signage system and an intuitive, robust mobile app loaded with video, music, oral histories, and historic photos, the Birmingham Industrial Heritage Trail project will unite core Birmingham landmarks – including Sloss, Vulcan, Tannehill, Railroad Park and Ruffner into a broad narrative with appeal to individuals, families, and student groups and to both residents and out-of-town visitors alike.

Troy University – 2017 Alabama Book Festival – Public Discussion, $5,000
The Alabama Book Festival celebrates the pleasures of reading and the cultural importance of books with a free, day-long festival that annually draws 4,000-5,000 attendees from throughout the state to Montgomery, Alabama’s Old Alabama Town. Featuring a mixture of panels by published authors across all genres, writing workshops and crafts and activities, the event is a family-oriented affair that appeals to readers of all ages and tastes.

University of Alabama at Birmingham – 2017 Red Mountain Writing Series – Public Discussion, $7,500
Red Mountain Writing Series is an afterschool program that seeks to provide students with the opportunity to develop their passion for writing and to develop their skills as writers, not only for pleasure but also across the curriculum through writing communities or groups.

Alabama Southern Community College – 20th Annual Alabama Writers Symposium – Public Discussion, $5,000
The Writers Symposium is an annual gathering of Alabama writers, scholars, and admirers in Monroeville, the Literary Capital of Alabama, for two days of workshops, readings, and discussions. Highlights include the presentations of the Harper Lee Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer and the Eugene Current-Garcia Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Literary Scholar.

Vulcan Park and Museum – Alabama’s Auto Racing Legacy – Exhibition, $2,500
The Alabama Auto-Racing Legacy exhibit will advance knowledge and understanding of Birmingham’s history and culture by displaying pieces of Birmingham’s auto-racing history and culture as seen in the Birmingham area.

Alabama Shakespeare Festival – Shakespeare in Schools – Student/Teacher Program, $3,750

ASF will tour its production of Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona to schools throughout the state. Each performance will be followed by a question-and-answer session and an interactive workshop. The educational activities are designed to foster students’ critical thinking and analytical skills.

Troy University Dothan Campus – 2017 Wiregrass Blues Festival – Public Discussion, $4,248
The 2017 Wiregrass Blues Fest will feature blues music history in public discussions which include mini documentary film screenings on blues musicians. Through these events, the Wiregrass Blues Fest hopes to inform participants and promote a deeper understanding of the unique and unsung blues tradition of the Alabama Wiregrass region as well as the entire state.

Shelby County Arts Council – Writing Our Stories – Public Discussion, $7,500
Writing Our Stories is a proven anti-bullying creative writing program taught in the 7th grade English classroom. The program was developed by The Alabama Writer’s forum and is administered to the schools through The Shelby County Arts Council at no cost to the student or school. A published poet and teaching writer guides the students through a 10 week session at the end of which they receive bound anthologies of their own poems. These students leave the program as published authors.

University of North Alabama College of Arts & Sciences – Limestone Prison Program – Discussion, $2,244
UNA will establish humanities-based educational programming at Limestone Correctional Facility. The topic of this interdisciplinary pilot course is Crime and Punishment in American Culture.

Historic Blakeley State Park – The Eastern Shore: Place and People – Exhibit, $4,379
A special year-long, multi-faceted, multi-venue, collaborative program, this exhibit is designed to encourage the greater Eastern Shore and Mobile Area community to discover and explore the rich natural and cultural heritage of the region. The program will focus on history and cultural heritage resources associated with the area’s prehistoric settlement, its colonial and early American experience, its Civil War years, and postwar, its growth.

Friends of the Alabama Archives – 2017 Food For Thought – Public Discussion, $3,265
Food for Thought is a monthly Alabama history lecture series held on the third Thursday of every month at noon at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. Food for Thought presentations feature humanities scholars discussing a wide variety of topics relating to the State of Alabama.

Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities, Auburn University – WWI Speaker Series – Public Discussion, $3,750
The center will sponsor a statewide speaker series on World War I from April 2017 to November 2018. This series will commemorate the centennial anniversary of the state’s involvement in the war and enliven an important period of history which often goes overlooked.

University of South Alabama Department of Communications – An Alabama Family Remembers the Civil War, $9,952
Memory of war has become the subject of intense study among humanities scholars in recent decades. Its fascination has captured scholars from the disciplines of History, English, and Journalism. University of South Alabama humanities scholars, under the auspices of the university’s Center for the Study of War and Memory, is producing a documentary project with the goal of engaging the Alabama public in a dialogue about how the Civil War has been remembered in Alabama.

September 2016 Mini Grants

Landmarks Foundation – The Alabama Territory in Becoming Alabama – $1,500
In 1817, Congress divided the Mississippi Territory, creating the State of Mississippi as the western portion and the Alabama Territory as the eastern portion of the vast landmass. The Alabama Territory is the topic of this project with humanities scholars discussing some of the “characters who were active and influential during this period, contributing to the later establishment of the State of Alabama in 1819.”

Mobile Opera, Inc. – Orpheus’ Son: The Life of Sidney Lanier, $961
Mobile Opera will host a lecture and narrative program of Sidney Lanier’s poetry and the story of his life. On Friday, January 13, 2017, at 10 a.m., Jeffrey Goodman, PhD, and Gran Wilson, MM, will speak at the Mobile County Public Library on the literary works of Sidney Lanier and at 7 p.m. at the Larkins Music Center in downtown Mobile. Mobile Opera will continue the study of Sidney Lanier with “Orpheus’ Son: The Life of Sidney Lanier,” an original work written by Mr. Wilson.

Mobile Symphony – Take Note! Pre-Concert Discussions, $1,500
Mobile Symphony Orchestra will offer free, 40-minute pre-concert lectures before each of its classical concerts that explore the historic contexts around the music and composers featured on that day’s concert. Lectures include information about other art forms created in the same period, such as visual arts, dance and literature, and biographical details about the composers’ lives.

University of North Alabama Writers Project – University of North Alabama Writers Series: Reading by Peter Balakian, $1,500
Peter Balakian, author of Ozone Journal, the winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for 2015, will be reading from his work at the 2015 University of North Alabama’s Writer’s Series on March 16, 2017. Dr.Balakian, who is chair of the English Department at Colgate University, is also the author of the memoir, Black Dog of Fate. The University of North Alabama’s Writer’s Series was established in 1983.

Monroeville Main Street Program – Celebrating the Party of the Century: Capote’s Childhood Hometown Pays Tribute, $1,465
Monroeville celebrates the 50th anniversary of In Cold Blood and Capote’s Black and White Ball on Nov. 18, 2016, at the Old Courthouse Museum with Melanie Benjamin, author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue, Marlin Barton, winner of the Truman Capote Prize for Short Fiction, and archival films and photographs of Capote and his fans and friends. Speakers will explore the explosive launch of the nonfiction novel and Capote’s trajectory from Monroeville to Manhattan.

ArtsRevive – With Music and Justice for All: An Evening with Frye Gillard and Ann DeChant, $1,075
Southern author Frye Gaillard and award-winning Nashville recording artist Anne E. DeChant team up for an evening of stories and song titled, “With Music and Justice for All.” Gaillard maintains that great songwriters explore the depths of the human condition with all the subtlety and feeling of our finest novelists and poets. In these unique programs, Gaillard presents brief readings from his works, setting the context for an acoustic performance of original songs by DeChant.

Marengo County History & Archives Museum – Celebrating the Opening of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, $775
The museum will celebrate the opening of the National Museum of African American History & Culture during Black History Month 2017 through public discussion programming.

University of West Alabama – Belles’ Lettres 2 Tour, $1,500
Belles’ Letters 2: An Anthology of Alabama Women Writers is the second anthology of fiction to be published by Livingston Press (April 2017). The book consists of 36 short stories by veteran and new women writers. The press will tour 10 of the authors throughout the state to celebrate and inspire Alabama women writers.

Northeast Alabama Community College – Bringing It Home: Great Depression & the New Deal, $1,467
Northeast Alabama Community College Learning Resources Center will offer a teacher workshop titled “The Great Depression and the New Deal in Northeast Alabama,” the third in a successful series entitled “Bringing It Home: Utilizing Local History in the K-12 Classroom.” Four dynamic scholar-presenters will be in provide local K-12 teachers with materials and pedagogical ideas related to the Great Depression and New Deal that they can use in their classrooms.