SC Humanities Awards $128,000 in Grants

The South Carolina Humanities Board of Directors awarded a total amount of $128,000 in grants to 11 cultural organizations after a February 23, 2024 Board Meeting in Columbia.

The awards were selected through a competitive application and review process and are made possible by SC Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Matching community support for the 11 awarded projects totaled: $285,876.

A list of awarded grants is provided below:

Sponsoring Organization: Chester County Historical Society
Project Title: Miss Ann Davidson’s Autograph Collection
Project Director: Bill Marion
Awarded: $15,000; Cost-share: $33,520
The Chester County Historical Society has obtained a unique collection of autographs compiled in the late 1930s by a Chester family. The collection includes autographs from Franklin Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, Helen Keller, Babe Ruth, and many other notable names. One particularly rare piece is all of the 1939 inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame on a first cover, one of only 7 that has been identified. The Chester County Museum will create an exhibit on display panels that will be installed at the Historical Society Museum, a digital guided tour of the collection, and they will offer a lecture series in October 2024 on “Sports Figures, Politics, and the Rich and Famous.” The Historical Society’s annual meeting on October 10, 2024 will feature an autograph expert and scholar Dr. Edward Lee.

Sponsoring Organization: South Carolina New Play Festival
Project Title: Josh White Presentation and Town Hall
Project Director: West Hyler
Awarded: $5,500; Cost-share: $41,590
The South Carolina New Play Festival will hold a special presentation and town hall event featuring Josh White, famous musician and Greenville native, as part of their 2024 festival, scheduled for August 8 – 11, 2024. The evening event will include the performance of a scene from a new play, song performances, and a panel discussion about the role that Greenville played in Josh White’s life and success. The playwright, Donetta Lavinia Grays, was asked by the Josh White Commission to create the play about his life. She has interviewed relatives and done other research. The town hall discussion will also include David Sims, director of the Greenville Music History Project, and Douglas Yeager, Manager of the Josh White Estate. The Josh White event will be free and open to the public and widely promoted as part of the festival’s 2024 schedule. It will also be recorded.

Sponsoring Organization: South Carolina Philharmonic
Project Title: Arts Capacity Prison Program
Project Director: Susan Cafferty
Awarded: $5,000; Cost-share: $15,000
The SC Philharmonic will administer an arts and humanities program for up to 200 inmates at the Camille Griffin Graham Women’s Correctional Institution in Columbia. The “Arts Capacity” program will include three sessions in which musicians perform for and lead discussions about music criticism, theory, and history with the inmates. The sessions will take place in September 2024, December 2024, and March 2025. The anticipated outcomes are improved mental health and behavior for inmates and decreased recidivism. The SC Philharmonic musicians and staff will be trained as facilitators by the Kansas-based nonprofit Arts Capacity, which has been doing this type of programming for nine years.

Sponsoring Organization: Georgetown County Library
Project Title: Georgetown County Library 225th Anniversary Celebration
Project Director: Trudy Bazemore
Awarded: $15,000; Cost-share: $20,410
The Georgetown County Library will present a series of free public programs from April – fall 2024 to celebrate their 225th anniversary. The programs will look at both Georgetown County’s past and present and will include topics on ethnic diversity, religious traditions, foodways, civil rights, and more. Some of the confirmed programs include “Uncovering the History of the Long Black Freedom Struggle at Hobcaw Barony” on May 7, presented by Madison W. Cates; “Francis Marion and Georgetown County” on May 14, presented by Paige Sawyer; and “Game Changer: The Influence of Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Julia Mood Peterkin” on June 4, presented by Ann-Chadwell Humphries. They expect to present approximately 20 programs in total. Many of the programs will also be recorded and uploaded to Georgetown County Library’s very active YouTube channel.

Sponsoring Organization: Lake Hartwell Country
Project Title: Cultivating Legacies: Unearthing African American Contributions in South Carolina’s Agricultural Tapestry
Project Director: Josh Johnson
Awarded: $15,000; Cost-share: $15,000
The Bart Garrison Agricultural Museum in Pendleton, SC will create a new exhibit that will illuminate the significant role of African Americans in South Carolina’s agricultural history, from the time of slavery through the present day. They also plan to create a collateral art installation including visual art, multimedia displays, and artifacts. When the exhibit opens, they will host a lecture series and will present historical demonstrations of trades like indigo dyeing and blacksmithing. The exhibit is expected to open in early 2025, and the programming series would begin shortly thereafter.

Sponsoring Organization: Historic Columbia
Project Title: A Witness to Many Lives: Interpretive Changes at the Robert Mills Site
Project Director: Katharine Allen
Awarded: $15,000; Cost-share: $18,569
Historic Columbia is in the process of reinterpreting the historic Robert Mills House as a series of experiential spaces that will highlight untold and overlooked stories. This application asks for support for the redesign of one room, the 1820s warming kitchen, with hands-on learning opportunities, audio narration, and other sensory elements. Once this room is completed, it will be intensively evaluated, and the data will be used to inform the reinterpretation of the rest of the house. The redesigned warming kitchen will be open to visitors in February 2025, and the evaluation process will take place in Spring 2025.

Sponsoring Organization: Lancaster County Council of the Arts
Project Title: Linking Lancaster: Connecting Communities with Humanities Public Programs
Project Director: Eric Grace
Awarded: $10,000; Cost-share: $15,775
The Lancaster County Council for the Arts will implement a multi-faceted series of programs that will connect the arts and humanities to public audiences in Lancaster County. Plans include the creation of a report about the history of public art in Lancaster County, which will be printed and freely distributed around the county; an exhibit of historic artworks by local residents displayed at the historic Springs House; the creation of a pop-up exhibit featuring works of Lancaster artists and profiles of inspirational locals that can travel to schools and municipal buildings; downtown window displays and guided walking tours; and a series of public lectures, including one with former Executive Directors of the Council and one with the humanities scholars. The majority of these programs will come to fruition in Spring 2025.

Sponsoring Organization: Bullets and Bandaids
Project Title: Bullets and Bandaids: A Living Veteran Anthology
Project Director: Robert LeHeup
Awarded: $10,000; Cost-share: $13,200
Bullets and Bandaids is a nonprofit organization that works with veterans through interviews, collaborative storytelling, and artwork. Veterans are paired with civilian writers and artists to create a unique combination of oral history, story, and art that is crafted into a traveling exhibit and accompanying book. Between April 1, 2024 and February 28, 2025, they will present 20 3-hour community dialogue events at four bars around the state: the Art Bar in Columbia (11 events), Bourbon in Columbia (4 events), RJ Rockers Brewing Company in Spartanburg (4 events), and The Isle of Palms Exchange Club in Charleston (1 event). Each bar will host an installation of the artwork during the program, which will include one of the featured artists speaking about their experiences in creating the art and one veteran speaking about their lived experience, followed by a lecture from the humanities scholar, Ann-Helene McBride.

Sponsoring Organization: Summerville Orchestra
Project Title: History and Music Combine: Celebrating Summerville Orchestra’s 20 Years
Project Director: D. Kathryn Pressman
Awarded: $7,500; Cost-share: $7,500
The Summerville Orchestra will commemorate their 20th anniversary by creating an exhibit and offering a series of public lectures. The exhibit will have two versions: a mini version will be installed at the Summers Corner Performing Art Center by May 18, 2024 for the orchestra’s last performance of the season and then installed at the Summerville Orchestra office over the summer. A larger version of the exhibit will be created for permanent display at the new Dorchester Heritage Center, which is slated to open in Fall 2024. Additionally, they will present an interactive summer lecture series in Summer 2024; dates and program details are to be confirmed. The “20 Years of Summerville Orchestra” exhibit will include three sections: “Humble Beginnings,” “One Small Step for Music,” and “The Sound of Summerville.”

Sponsoring Organization: AfroSouth Film Festival
Project Title: When Porgy Came Home – Documentary Film
Project Director: Lauren Waring Douglas
Awarded: $15,000; Cost-share: $21,000
“When Porgy Came Home” will be a two-hour feature length documentary about the history of “Porgy and Bess” – from novel in 1925 to the opera’s first production for an integrated audience in 1970 in Charleston. In partnership with AfroSouth Film Festival, the filmmaker will produce a fifteen-minute sample video that will be used to raise money and apply for other grants. The documentary outline currently has received tentative interest from the executive producer of PBS’s American Masters. Funding would support four final interviews with humanities scholars and the expenses for an editor to create the 15-minute sample reel. The long-term timeline has the sample clip completed in Summer 2024 and the full documentary completed by early 2026.

Sponsoring Organization: PURE Theatre
Project Title: Septima Clark Chautauqua Event Piccolo Spoleto
Project Director: Sharon Graci
Awarded: $15,000; Cost-share: $15,000
PURE Theatre will present a two-evening series about Civil Rights heroine Septima Clark in June 2024 as part of Charleston’s Piccolo Spoleto Festival. The programs will include a moderated discussion featuring four participants: Dr. Patricia Dockery, scholar of black history and author of the play Septima; Sharon Graci, artistic director of PURE Theatre; Donna Factor, Director of the Charleston Chapter of the League of Women Voters; and a representative of the Progressive Club of Johns Island. The moderator Zania Cummings will portray Septima Clark Chautauqua-style, in costume and in character. Each member of the audience will receive an annotated copy of the script of Septima that will include photos and historical information. The annotated script will also be available digitally, and the presentations will be recorded to accompany future performances of Septima. Tickets are $30 for adults and $10 for students.

For more information about any of these grant-supported projects, please contact T.J. Wallace at 803-771-2477.