SC Humanities Awards $74,000 in Major Grants

The South Carolina Humanities Board of Directors awarded more than $74,000 in Major Grants to 9 cultural organizations after a February 17, 2023 Board Meeting in Florence.

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 9 awarded projects totaled: $108,100.

A list of awarded grants is provided below:

Sponsoring Organization: South Carolina New Play Festival
Project Title: South Carolina New Play Festival Town Hall: Revealing the State of American Theater and New American Plays
Project Director: West Hyler
Awarded: $7,500;  Cost-share: $14,980
The South Carolina New Play Festival will present their second annual event on August 11 – 13, 2023 in Greenville. The festival celebrates engaging and dynamic new plays and musicals from across the United States. One event during the festival will be a public town-hall event with a virtual livestream on “Revealing the State of American Theater and New American Plays.” The panel will feature Kimberly Colburn (manager and producer of digital, hybrid, and in-person events for Soulpepper Theatre in Toronto), Annie Weismann (a Los Angeles-based playwright, screenwriter, and producer), Travis Ballenger (Broadway producer and former Associate Artistic Director of The Globe Theater in San Diego), and West Hyler (Executive Artistic Director of the SC New Play Festival). They will discuss the role of live theater and new theatrical works in the post-COVID landscape of America, the contemporary American theater scene, and the new play development process. The panel will be free and open to the public, and the livestream will be turned into a video-on-demand that will be available for a month after the event.

Sponsoring Organization: Friends of Coastal South Carolina
Project Title: Historic Background Research and Identification of Heritage Resources for Hasty Point Interpretation
Project Director: Grace Gasper
Awarded: $9,778; Cost-share: $9,778
The Friends of Coastal South Carolina is working on the public interpretation experience for Hasty Point in the Plantersville community of Georgetown County. The 800-acre historic property dates to 1732 and is documented to have had more than 100 enslaved laborers. They intend to make a thorough survey of existing historical records and to identify heritage resources on the property. They will work with Brockington Cultural Resources Consulting to complete this survey in approximately 8 months. The products will be a comprehensive archival record and a schedule for completing a Heritage Resources Management Plan.

Sponsoring Organization: Anne Frank Center/University of South Carolina Research Foundation
Project Title: Building a Youth Network of Anne Frank Ambassadors in South Carolina
Project Director: Morgan Bailey
Awarded: $9,885; Cost-share: $14,800
The Anne Frank Center at the University of South Carolina will coordinate a program for high school students in five underserved, Title 1 schools. “Building a Youth Network of Anne Frank Ambassadors in South Carolina” is a program with three stages that will take place over the course of 12 months. After the five schools are identified, the first step is to coordinate field visits for approximately 40 students from each school to the Anne Frank Center. In the second step, staff from the Anne Frank Center will travel to the schools to conduct a two-day “Peer Guide Training” for 20 students at each school that will deepen their knowledge of Anne Frank and the Holocaust and help them develop engagement and presentation skills to share this difficult content. The final stage is that each school will host the traveling exhibit “Anne Frank: A History for Today” for 4-6 weeks, during which time the trained peer guides will serve as exhibit docents for their fellow students and the community. The field trips will take place in March – May 2023, and the Peer Guide Training and traveling exhibit portion of the program will take place during the next academic year, September 2023 – April 2024. Each participating school will also receive three follow-on visits from Anne Frank Center staff to facilitate student reflection.

Sponsoring Organization: University of South Carolina
Project Title: Women and Gender Studies: Past Into Future
Project Director: Stephanie Y. Mitchem
Awarded: $8,670; Cost-share: $9,750
The Department of Women and Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina will host a two-day conference in honor of their 50th anniversary in Fall 2023. The goal of the conference is to reflect on the history of the program while looking toward future goals and initiatives. The conference will include presentations by as many of the program’s founding faculty as can be secured, young scholars’ presentations, a keynote speaker, graduate student panel, and table discussions. The intended audience is past and current students and faculty of the program and their families, partnering organizations, and the wider Columbia community. Components of the conference will be free to the public.

Sponsoring Organization: University of South Carolina
Project Title: Wood Basket of the World: Lumbering, Manufacturing, and Conserving South Carolina’s Forests – Conference & Traveling Exhibit
Project Director: Jessica Elfenbein
Awarded: $10,000; Cost-share: $30,000
“Wood Basket of the World: Lumbering, Manufacturing, and Conserving South Carolina’s Forests” will be a major conference held in Sumter on April 21 – 23, 2023 that will feature scholars and industry professionals exploring the history of lumber, wood products, and forest conservation in South Carolina. The conference will also feature field trips to important lumber-related sites. Additionally, the project team will work on the development of a traveling exhibit titled “Wood Basket of the World” that is tentatively scheduled to open in Sumter in Spring 2024 before becoming available to travel the state. The exhibit will incorporate the scholarship of the 2023 conference and inform South Carolina citizens about the important role that wood manufacturing has played in the state’s history. Other potential projects might grow from the initial conference, including a published anthology, an oral history project, and an archival effort.

Sponsoring Organization: Charleston Library Society
Project Title: Howard Reich, “Prisoner of Her Past” Documentary Screening and Conversation
Project Director: Laura Pelzer
Awarded: $4,300; Cost-share: $4,300
The Charleston Library Society will host a film screening and discussion of “Prisoner of Her Past” by filmmaker and journalist Howard Reich on September 27, 2023. “Prisoner of Her Past” looks at the life of Reich’s mother, Holocaust survivor Sonia Reich, and how the trauma of her childhood follows her into the present when she begins to show signs of PTSD. The Huffington Post called it ““One of the most emotionally wrenching yet rewarding films I have recently seen.” Howard Reich and the film’s producer Joanna Rudnick will travel to Charleston for the screening and discussion, which will be widely promoted to the Charleston community, especially to Jewish organizations and synagogues. The Library Society will create a guide with further resources for those interested in learning more about the enduring impact of the Holocaust.

Sponsoring Organization: University of South Carolina
Project Title: Promoting Civil Discourse in South Carolina Through Debate of the Fairness Doctrine
Project Director: Susan C. Bon
Awarded: $9,200; Cost-share: $9,500
The University of South Carolina will coordinate an educational student debate program and competition with five high schools in Title 1 districts. The topic of the debate will be the Fairness Doctrine, the policy of the Federal Communications Commission that required holders of broadcast licenses to present both sides of controversial issues. The policy was introduced in 1949 and abolished in 1987. The year-long project will begin with the identification of 5 South Carolina high schools to participate. In April – May 2023, the Project Director will host online and in-person informational sessions at the selected high schools and identify students who want to participate in the program. From September – December 2023, the project personnel will host monthly school visits to share information about the Fairness Doctrine and historical resources related to it and to teach debate skills. Final preparation and debate practices will take place from January – February 2024, leading up to the public debate hosted at the University of South Carolina in March 2024. While more students may participate in the initial stages of the program, they anticipate having 5 teams of 2-4 students at the final debate. The goal of the program is to engage students in understanding civil discourse while promoting awareness about South Carolina history, essential constitutional values like freedom of speech, and the importance of civic engagement.

Sponsoring Organization: Columbia Museum of Art
Project Title: Resurgence and Renaissance: Art of the Catawba Nation Since 1973
Project Director: Jackie Adams
Awarded: $10,000; Cost-share: $10,000
The Columbia Museum of Art will present the exhibit Resurgence and Renaissance: Art of the Catawba Nation Since 1973 from June 10 – September 3, 2023. The exhibit is a major 50-year anniversary exhibition, building off the original 1973 version that showcased Catawba potters. The new exhibit will celebrate the tribe’s long history and will feature basketry, quilt works, and photography in addition to pottery. A variety of dynamic public programs are planned to go along with the exhibit, including podcast episodes, book talks, several “Let’s Talk Race” panels in partnership with Richland Library, an artists and makers panel, gallery talks and tours, a virtual conversation with the curators, and more. The programs will be widely promoted, and some will be archived on the museum’s website.

Sponsoring Organiation: Women Make Movies
Project Title: Hope of Escape
Project Director: Amy Gerber-Stroh
Awarded: $5,000; Cost-share: $5,000
“Hope of Escape” is a feature-length docudrama that tells the story of Diana Williams, an enslaved woman on Rice Hope Plantation in Moncks Corner, and her journey to escape slavery with her daughter Cornelia and son-in-law Wilby through the “above-ground railroad.” They are real historical figures, and the film writer/director/producer, Amy Gerber-Stroh, is a descendent of the Williams family. The film started production in June 2021 and is now in post-production. The application requests $5,000 for promotional costs like graphic design, posters, and electronic press kit items. They anticipate that the film will be ready to premiere in mid-2023, and they plan to submit the film to the Charleston International Film Festival and screening it at several non-festival venues in South Carolina.

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