Michigan Humanities awards more than $210,000 for its cultural programming

MANISTEE — Michigan projects exploring a range of humanities topics, including a conference, festival, exhibits and oral histories, received a funding boost this month. A non-profit organization Manistee is one of them.

Michigan Humanities recently announced that $210,620 in grants have been awarded to 15 organizations in support of public humanities programs. The council strives to bring people together through stories, histories, cultures and conversations.

Manistee Area Racial Justice and Diversity Initiative received $15,000 for its “Journey of Discovery: Honoring the Contributions of African Americans in Rural Michigan” program.

“We are thrilled to fund such interesting and diverse projects in communities across Michigan with this series of humanities grants,” said Jennifer Rupp, president and CEO of Michigan Humanities, in a press release. “These projects shine a light on the untold stories of our communities that make up the fabric of Michigan’s history.”

The Manistee Group is planning a series of events for 2023.

“Black History Month provides us with an opportunity and an obligation to learn, reflect and elevate the experiences and influences of African Americans here in our region,” said Lisa Allen, a member of Manistee Area Racial Justice & Diversity Initiative writing the grant application, in an email. “In an effort to become a more just and inclusive community, knowing more about each other is essential and will engender greater trust and lead to more equitable, happy and meaningful lives for all of us.”

Manistee Area Racial Justice & Diversity Initiative, in cooperation with the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts in Mansiteewill feature a month of programming in February highlighting the contributions of African Americans, past and present, in rural Michigan.

Allen said via email that the project, “Journey of Discovery,” will begin with an exhibition of art by African-American artists from rural Michigan at RRCA’s Hardy Hall Gallery.

“Part of the opening of this ‘Voyage’, with the art exhibition, will be a performance by Detroit’s Mosaic Youth Theatera group dedicated to empowering and supporting young people through the use of the arts,” she said.

February’s events will also include a performance by solo artist Crys Matthews, a musician whose work is primarily centered on social justice, and an appearance by Dr. Anna-Lisa Coxan award-winning historian of 19th century America with special emphasis on race relations on the frontier and in rural Michigan.

Cox will speak to the RRCA about his research and books, and provide “an insight into the history of African Americans here in our own area of ​​northern Michigan.”

Two traveling exhibitions are also included in the series; both will be housed in Hardy Hall at the Ramsdell for the entire month.

One, of the Michigan State University Museumpresents the history of a very important resort community for African Americans in rural Michigan, named Idlewild, near Baldwin, Allen said. The other, from the Wright Museum, is an exhibit on Michigan’s Underground Railroad.

“This series is meant to highlight the impact and pioneering spirit of African Americans, past and present, here in rural Michigan,” Allen said.

Humanities Grants awards up to $15,000 per project to Michigan nonprofit organizations that work to support public cultural, educational, and community programs with a humanities component,” according to a press release.

“These grants play a vital role in sharing our diverse culture, state, community, and identities, and are intended to connect us to Michigan’s rich cultural heritage and historical resources,” reads in part. in a press release.

The full list of organizations receiving grants is as follows:

  • Alma College, The PBB Disaster at 50: A Conference to Commemorate and Learn from the Michigan Poisoning, $14,975;
  • Birmingham Museum (City of Birmingham), The Underground Railroad and Abolition Movement in Southern Oakland County—Travelling Exhibit/Website, $14,475;
  • Capital City Film Festival, Capital City Film Festival Humanities Lens Project, $10,000;
  • Detroit Historical Society, Modernization of interpretive tools in the “Streets of Old Detroit” exhibit, $15,000;
  • Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives, GRAAMA on the Road, $15,000;
  • Manistee Area Racial Justice & Diversity Initiative, Journey of Discovery: Honoring the Contributions of African Americans in Rural Michigan, $15,000;
  • Michigan State University, Jackie Kallen, aka “The First Lady of Boxing,” $14,965;
  • Michigan State University, The Art and Science Behind the Charlotte Web, $8,705;
  • MSU Museum, Sounds of Religion, $15,000;
  • Museum of Ojibwa Culture, Welcome to the Ojibwa World Before Colonization, $15,000;
  • Real People Media, Animated Stories of the Copper Country—Mining History, $15,000;
  • Saginaw Valley State University, museum exhibits and related programming that celebrates three Michigan Heritage Months, $15,000;
  • Shakespeare in Detroit, Black Classical Reading Project, $15,000;
  • SOAR LLI, SOAR Community Access Initiative: SOAR on the Road, $12,500; and
  • Cass County Underground Railroad Society, 2023 Underground Railroad Days, $15,000.

James C. Tibbs