SC Humanities Awards More Than $110,000 in Major Grants in September

The South Carolina Humanities Board of Directors awarded more than $110,000 in Major Grants to 16 cultural organizations after a September 25, 2020 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 16 awarded projects totaled: $272,342.

A list of awarded grants is provided below:

Sponsoring Organization: Congregation of Adath Yeshurun
Project Title: “A Source of Light” Centennial Celebration
Project Director: Steve Silver
Awarded: $10,000; Cost-share: $25,000
The congregation of Adath Yeshurun in Aiken will commemorate their 100th anniversary from March – May 2021 with a variety of public programs, including a physical exhibit on the history of the Aiken Jewish community in partnership with the Aiken County Historical Museum; a virtual exhibit on a specially designed 100th anniversary website; an exhibit catalog; the installation of a historic marker; panel discussions; and a Centennial Celebration weekend event from March 5 – 7. Some elements of the programming may be in person depending on health and safety conditions.

Sponsoring Organization: Hagood Mill Foundation
Project Title: On-Site and Virtual Field Trips at Hagood Mill
Project Director: Betty McDaniel
Awarded: $6,000; Cost-share: $10,000
Hagood Mill Historic Site will expand their on-site field trip options and also create new virtual field trip packages designed for 3rd – 8th grade students. On-site field trip topics include “Tour of the Historic Site,” “Tour of the Native Roots Trail,” “Tour of the Petroglyph Center,” and “Tour of the Mill”; they also often include demonstrations, hands-on activities, and interviews with experts. Grant funds would help formalize these on-site field trips to align them with standards and to include lesson plans and resources that can be used with educators. Additionally, Hagood Mill Historic Site will create four new virtual field trip kits on the topics “Living in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the 1800s,” “Finding and Identifying Early Appalachian Artifacts,” “Native American Way of Life in the 1800s,” and “Finding and Identifying Native American Artifacts.” The kits will include a short video about the historic site; a PowerPoint with the lesson plan, supply list, worksheets, assessment rubrics, and other items; a choice of one tour, and a choice of one demonstration/how-to video clip. Virtual field trips will begin rolling out in December 2020.

Sponsoring Organization: Georgetown County Library System
Project Title:
From Blue Hills to Green Sea: Representing South Carolina Foodways
Project Director: Trudy Bazemore
Awarded: $10,000 Cost-share: $10,920
The Georgetown County Library will present a major project on South Carolina food history and culture titled “From Blue Hills to Green Sea: Representing South Carolina Foodways.” The project will include three main elements offering the perspectives of both scholars and laypeople: a virtual symposium in March 2021 featuring many noted scholars from South Carolina and around the country; a digital video series featuring South Carolina chefs and other practitioners demonstrating preparation of culturally significant meals; and a digitization project of community cookbooks and other foodways ephemera to be archived in the Georgetown County Library System’s digital collections.

Sponsoring Organization: The Poetry Society of SC
Project Title: The Poetry Society of SC 100th Anniversary
Project Director: Danielle DeTiberus
Awarded: $5,000; Cost-share: $30,424
The Poetry Society of South Carolina will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2021 and will offer four readings and seven writing workshops from January – May by faculty Len Lawson, Joy Priest, Leslie Sainz, Valerie Nieman, Michele Reese, Chad Abushanab, and Keith Flynn. If possible, the programs will be both in-person and broadcast online; otherwise, they will be offered exclusively online. In addition to these programs, the centennial celebration will include a publication about the 100-year history of the society; an exhibit of photography and memorabilia that will be on display in Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville; a release of recordings from several decades of society readings; and the presentation of three Centennial awards.

Sponsoring Organization: Middleton Place Foundation
Project Title: Virtual Programming for K-12 Students: Understanding our Shared American History
Project Director: Carin Bloom
Awarded: $6,000; Cost-share: $21,516
Middleton Place Foundation will create free, virtual field trip opportunities for K-12 students based on their current curriculum and educational tours. Virtual field trips will include short recorded videos and resource materials. Live interactive Q&A sessions with interpreters and historians can be arranged directly with schools. The topics for the virtual field trips include “Meet the Breeds,” about agricultural practices and livestock; “Living History,” “Garden Overview,” “Middleton Place Virtual Tour,” and “Beyond the Fields: Slavery at Middleton Place.” The virtual educational programming is scheduled to launch by mid-November on a new educational website portal.

Sponsoring Organization: South Carolina Writers Association
Project Title: SCWA Programs, Delivery, and 2021 Conference
Project Director: Mike Lee
Awarded: $7,500; Cost-share: $39,675
The South Carolina Writers Association will celebrate its 30th anniversary year with a series of programs designed to reach more South Carolinians. They will present 24 free virtual “Writing Conversations” sessions about craft and publishing and six free virtual “Become an Author” workshops from late 2020 – June 2021; they will update/optimize their website to make it more visible, particularly to underserved regions and minority groups; and they will present their annual in-person conference, featuring confirmed faculty Jeffrey Blount, Patti Callahan Henry, Cassandra King Conroy, and agent Marly Rusoff, in April 2021 in Columbia.

Sponsoring Organization: Sigal Music Museum
Project Title: CSI: Keyboards Lecture Series
Project Director: Thomas Strange
Awarded: $5,160; Cost-share: $5,160
The Sigal Music Museum will present a series of 5 free lectures from November 2019 – February 2021 titled “CSI: Keyboards” that will engage the public in learning about the history of musical instruments, instrument makers, musicians and their historical time periods, and more. The museum curator and other humanities scholars will discuss the restoration process for several historic keyboard instruments that are part of the significant Sigal Collection bequeathed to the museum in 2019, touching on humanities disciplines of art history, music history, and historical research. At least the first two lectures will be offered virtually; the final three lectures in 2021 will be offered in-person if conditions allow. The museum is also currently open to the public with an exhibit featuring the Sigal Collection on display.

Sponsoring Organization: RobinHood Group
Project Title: The past and future history of food in Union County
Project Director: Elise Ashby
Awarded: $7,250; Cost-share: $8,500
The RobinHood Group will work with Sims Middle School in Union to offer a student-family-community journaling and recipe history harvest project to document local foodways, family history and ancestry, and local history. From November 2020 – May 2021, project staff will work with teachers and students by offering virtual or in-person genealogy, local history, and writing instruction. Every student at the middle school will receive a journal to collect stories and recipes. These materials will be collected in April 2021, and an edited collection will be printed and distributed at the end of the school year. The goal of the project is to engage students in pride about their community and to encourage healthy relationships to food.

Sponsoring Organization: Hartsville Museum Foundation
Project Title: H.H. Butler – Grand United Order of Odd Fellows Digitization Project
Project Director: Andrea Steen
Awarded: $10,000; Cost-share: $15,931
The Hartsville Museum Foundation will oversee a major digitization project of an important collection of artifacts related to African American history in Hartsville, particularly the life of Henry H. Butler as well as the local chapter of the Grand United Order of the Odd Fellows. Between December 2020 and November 2021, they will assess, digitize, transcribe, and collect metadata for hundreds of documents that were found in the Mt. Pisgah Presbyterian Church in Hartsville. The digitized documents will be uploaded to the USC Digital Library for access and storage and shared with the public through social media, a lecture series, newsletter, and possibly through collections or an interactive computer kiosk at the museum.

Sponsoring Organization: Charleston to Charleston, Inc.
Project Title: The Charleston to Charleston Literary Festival 2020
Project Director: Leah Rhyne
Awarded: $6,000; Cost-share: $10,000
The Charleston to Charleston Literary Festival will take place in November 2020 with a combination of virtual and possibly in-person events. Virtual author conversations will be recorded with introductions filmed in areas of Charleston highlighting its history and cultural heritage. They have an excellent line-up of featured authors. The virtual programs will be archived on the festival’s YouTube page and shared widely, with an emphasis on reaching high school and college students in South Carolina.

Sponsoring Organization: WeGOJA Foundation
Project Title: Black Carolinians Speak: Portraits of a Pandemic
Project Director: Jannie Harriot
Awarded: $10,000; Cost-share: $18,750
The WeGOJA Foundation is in the process of conducting an oral history/history harvest project collecting stories, pictures, videos, and artwork related to black South Carolinian’s experiences during the pandemic. “Portraits of a Pandemic” is the pilot project for a larger oral history collection initiative titled “Black Carolinians Speak” that will be ongoing. Interviews and materials have been being collected since May 2020. Starting in November, they will “relaunch” the project with additional promotion; collect additional interviews; convene a team to curate what has been collected; and offer three public programs (possibly available in-person and also offered virtually). The three public programs will be a digital film screening and discussion about “Caught in ‘Le Grippe’: Black Carolinians and the 198 Spanish Flu” in February 2021, “Black Carolinians Speak: COVID-19 Stories” in May 2021, and “Black Carolinians Speak: Where Do We Go From Here” in October 2021. The “Portraits of a Pandemic” collection and the videos of the public discussions will be archived at the SC Department of Archives and History and in the future on a digital platform.

Sponsoring Organization: Lander University
Project Title: Race and Identity Dialogue
Project Director: Alexis Carter Thomas
Awarded: $6,250; Cost-share: $8,050
Lander University will sponsor a series of free virtual discussions on race and identity for its campus and the wider community from January – April 2021. “Race and Identity Dialogue” will be comprised of nine virtual presentations and conversations designed to help participants learn about race through the lens of storytelling and to enhance civic engagement and dialogue. Each session will include required readings/materials, a virtual presentation, a moderated discussion, an online discussion board, and suggested materials for further reflection. The nine topics are “An Introduction to the Series,” “The Story of Dr. Benjamin E. Mays,” “Prejudice, Privilege, and Power,” “Personal Writing as Personal Reckoning,” “African American Voices – A Poetry Workshop,” “Letters on Blackness/Black Bodies in America – Writers Speaking to Younger Generations Exploring African American Literature,” “Parenting and Telling Stories to Children,” “Race, Politics, and Civic Action,” and “Civic Engagement and Your Own Story.”

Sponsoring Organization: The Friends of the Aiken County Historical Museum
Project Title: Aiken County Celebrates 150 Years
Project Director: Kathy Cunningham
Awarded: $6,000; Cost-share: $9,280
The Aiken County Historical Museum will create a new “County History” exhibit to be completed and unveiled in March 2021 in honor of the 150th anniversary of Aiken County’s founding. The refurbished exhibit will include new panels, new exhibit cases, the addition of interactive components including a touchscreen computer showcasing cultural tourism sites, and revised content to more accurately reflect Aiken County. The emphasis on the Civil War period will be reduced, and the new panels will expand the exhibit’s timeline beyond the county’s founding and into the modern era. In addition to the physical exhibit, the Aiken County Historical Museum will use the Omeka platform to create a corresponding online exhibit that will be launched by April 2021.

Sponsoring Organization: Spoleto Festival USA
Project Title: Omar Opera Discussion Series
Project Director: Nicole Taney
Awarded: $10,000; Cost-share: $27,250
Spoleto Festival USA will debut a new original opera “Omar,” written by Grammy winner Rhiannon Giddens and composer Michael Abels, on the opening night of the 2021 Spoleto Festival. “Omar” illuminates the life of Omar Ibn Said, a Muslim African scholar who was captured in 1807 and sold into slavery in Charleston; his 1831 autobiography is the inspiration for the opera. Leading up to the premiere of the opera, Spoleto Festival USA will offer a community discussion series from November 2020 – Spring 2021 exploring marginalized races and religions, particularly Islam, in Charleston’s history and in American opera. A diverse slate of scholars and practitioners have been invited to participate. Topics for the discussion series include “Otherness,” “Religion and Spirituality in Black Lowcountry Diaspora Networks,” “Exploring Omar,” and “Islam and Enslaved Africans in Early Charleston,” among others. The community discussions will be free; some will be virtual, and they hope that some in 2021 will be in-person. The virtual sessions will be recorded and archived on the Spoleto YouTube page.

Sponsoring Organization: Historic Columbia
Project Title: Expanding Digital Access to the SC Statehouse Monuments
Project Director: Robin Waites
Awarded: $2,500; Cost-share: $18,749
Historic Columbia will build on their “Connecting Communities Through History – SC State House Monuments” project, which created web-based and in-person, guided tours of the monuments at the SC State House. This new iteration of the project will create a three-part podcast, which will serve as a smartphone-accessible guided tour of the SC State House Grounds. The podcast will be written and recorded by Dr. Lydia Brandt. The three twenty-minute episodes will be on the following topics: “Memory vs. History” (focusing on the Washington, Confederate, Tillman, and Hampton monuments), “Monumental Processes: Who Makes a Monument?” (focusing on the African American, Law Enforcement, Armed Forces, and Palmetto Monuments), and “Monuments Forever?” (focusing on the Confederate Women, Thurmond, Lunsford grave, and Sims monuments). The podcasts will be available by January 2021 and will be widely promoted and accessible to people from around the state.

Sponsoring Organization: Hampton County Government
Project Title: Youth Documentary Project
Project Director: Heather Bruemmer
Awarded: $5,600; Cost-share: $13,146
Under the oversight of the county Art Director, Hampton County Government will sponsor a Youth Documentary Project for 16 students who participated in a film camp over the summer of 2020. They will be invited to take part in an advanced training opportunity about documentary filmmaking covering different documentary styles; different elements to tell stories; interviewing techniques; and technical elements like camerawork, lighting, sound, framing, and editing. The student participants will interview noted Hampton County artists and cultural practitioners from January – April 2021, using film kits purchased with grant funds. The project personnel will train the students in editing and help them craft one documentary film telling the stories of these local artists. The final film is expected to premiere in Hampton County by late May 2021 and will be shared online with support from the Nickelodeon Theatre.

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