Dozen Alabama organizations earn major humanities grants

Twelve recipients across Alabama have been awarded nearly $58,000 in federally-funded major grants from the Alabama Humanities Foundation. The grants, totaling $57,868.16, will help support initiatives in literature, poetry, theater, history, music, education and documentary filmmaking.

Winners and their projects are:

Mentone Bicentennial Commission–Town of Mentone
Mentone through the Years: A Video Time Capsule
DeKalb County

The Mentone Bicentennial Commission will produce Mentone through the Years: A Video Time Capsule, a 25-minute video history of Mentone, the picturesque town in the southern Appalachians. The documentary will celebrate and commemorate Mentone’s rich history and heritage in conjunction with Alabama’s Bicentennial.

University of North Alabama College of Arts and Sciences
UNA-Limestone Prison Programming Initiative
Lauderdale County

The University of North Alabama College of Arts and Science will administer two humanities-based programs at Limestone Correctional Facility: the IF Project Writers’ Workshop and the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. The IF Project uses expressive writing and creative truth-telling to help incarcerated men explore their feelings and life experiences surrounding imprisonment. The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program brings UNA students to Limestone to study literature alongside incarcerated learners.

Alabama Shakespeare Festival
Shakespeare in Schools 2018-2019
Montgomery County

The Alabama Shakespeare Festival will tour its production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It to 21 schools throughout Alabama.  Each performance will be followed by a question-and-answer session and an interactive, educational workshop.  The educational activities are designed to foster students’ critical thinking and analytical skills.

Alabama Symphony Orchestra
Martin Luther King, Jr.: Commemorative Concert Featuring the Alabama Symphony Orchestra
Jefferson County

The Alabama Symphony Orchestra and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) will collaborate to perform a concert in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King and his impact on the civil rights movement. This concert, to be held on the anniversary of his death, will include a reading of “Letter from Birmingham Jail” set to music, a pre-concert lecture, lobby display and additional educational opportunities at the BCRI following the concert.

Tuskegee University
The Tuskegee Reading Series
Macon County

Tuskegee’s literary history includes esteemed writers Ralph Ellison, Albert Murray and Claude McKay, to name a few. Tuskegee University will partner with the local community to establish and fund a reading series housed at the Jessie Clinton Arts Center that not only celebrates Tuskegee’s great literary tradition, but also expounds upon that history and generates a literary conversation in the broader Tuskegee community. The project’s goal is to spark a love for the literary arts in the heart of Alabama.

Alabama Writers Conclave
Magic City Poetry Festival
Jefferson County

The Magic City Poetry Festival works to cultivate a love of contemporary poetry to the Greater Birmingham area through community-focused, free programming. Last year, the Alabama Writers Conclave hosted open mics, a community conversation and keynote panel, featured poetry readings and a community poetry showcase. This year’s programming will include more neighborhoods and bring in poets of national prominence. Events are free and open to the public.

Friends of the Archives       
Food for Thought 2019
Montgomery County                                                           

Food for Thought is a monthly Alabama history lecture series held each month at the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH). Food for Thought presentations feature humanities scholars discussing a wide variety of topics relating to the State of Alabama followed by question-and-answer sessions with audience discussion. Presentations are recorded and available online through ADAH’s website and YouTube channel.

Shelby County Arts Council
Writing Our Stories 2019
Shelby County

Writing Our Stories is a proven anti-bullying creative writing program taught in seventh grade English. Developed by The Alabama Writer’s Forum, the program 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 will guide students through a 10-week session. Upon completion of the program, each student will receive bound anthologies of their own poems.

Troy University Libraries
Wade Hall Traveling Tourism Postcard Exhibit
Pike County                                                  

Troy University Libraries will produce a third traveling postcard exhibit based on the Wade Hall Postcard collections held at Troy University Libraries’ archives. Two exhibits have previously been produced based on this collection with funding from AHF and are on display around the state through the beginning of 2020. Because of strong public interest, a third exhibit will be created to match demand.

Troy University Department of English
2019 Alabama Book Festival
Montgomery County

The Alabama Book Festival will celebrate the pleasures of reading with its annual day-long festival that attracts as many as 3,000 book lovers to Montgomery’s Old Alabama Town. Featuring a mixture of panels across all genres, the event is a family-oriented affair that appeals to readers of all ages and tastes. This year’s festival will be part of a three-day celebration of the humanities designed to promote the state’s bicentennial commemoration, ALABAMA 200.

Sloss Furnaces National Historic Site
Partnership Workshop between Cultural Institutions and Special Education Teachers
Jefferson County

Sloss Furnaces seeks to form a network of mutual support between special education teachers and cultural institutions in Greater Birmingham. The workshop will serve teachers by showcasing how cultural institutions can support them and their students. The workshop will also serve the cultural institutions through an open discussion with teachers to learn, implement and strengthen practices for access and inclusion in their facilities.

Alabama Public Television
Alabama Black Belt Blues
Jefferson County

Alabama Black Belt Blues, a production of Alabama Public Television with independent filmmaker Robert Clem, will be a one-hour film telling the stories of the culture and music of Alabama’s Black Belt during the 1930s and 40s, as documented by WPA historian Ruby Pickens Tartt and recorded by father-and-son WPA folklorists John and Alan Lomax. Archival photos combined with current and historical film footage will tell the story of the Black Belt’s contribution to the nation’s cultural heritage.