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Virginia Humanities awards 19 grants totaling $205K

Virginia Humanities is awarding 19 grants totaling $204,827 to fund humanities endeavors by nonprofit groups across the commonwealth.

The humanities council, which recently relocated from the University of Virginia-owned Boar’s Head Resort in Albemarle County to the Dairy Central office building in Charlottesville, announced the grants on Monday.

“Each of these projects contributes to our understanding of a different facet of Virginia’s story,” Virginia Humanities Executive Director Matthew Gibson said in a statement. “And they will help us better understand issues that impact the lives of Virginians in the present day.”

Virginia Humanities was founded in 1974 by Congress as one of 56 humanities councils, funded in part through the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities. It aims to support the humanities throughout Virginia, with initiatives including the Virginia Festival of the Book and Encyclopedia Virginia.

The projects that received grants between January and March are:


Douglass Cemetery Oral History Project, Office of Historic Alexandria, $20,000: Preservation and documentation of the history of Alexandria’s African American community’s cemetery and the individuals buried there, using oral histories and a digital humanities platform.


Loud and Clear-Amplifying HERstory in the Classroom, Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation: $16,622: Production of educator resources for grades 6-12 focused on telling underrepresented stories of military women’s roles in American history, using the archival collection of the Military Women’s Museum.


Juneteenth Festival, Josephine School Community Museum, $5,000: A festival to educate and inform the public about the African American experience from 1865 to the present, through exhibits, videos, speakers and performers.


Queer Appalachia: LGBTQ Narratives of Southwest Virginia, Blacksburg Museum & Cultural Foundation, $5,000: An immersive history exhibition documenting the LGBT history of the region.


Locks Opened Series: Community Connections, Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterways History Foundation, $4,690: A seven-part series of performance and discussion programs using stories from the past including themes related to the Underground Railroad to initiate conversations about contemporary issues.


Voices From 1965, Goochland County Historical Society, $2,290: An oral history project interviewing eight of the surviving students who integrated Goochland High School in 1965 and a public lecture on Virginia’s Freedom of Choice program.


A Child’s Life in the Steamboat Era, Steamboat Era Museum, $5,000: A new exhibit designed to showcase the lives of children during the “Steamboat Era,” building on existing work by adding children’s stories and expanding educational opportunities.

Locus Grove

Discovering Catina, Germanna Foundation, $20,000: Co-curated scholarly research into the life of Catina, a Siouan-speaking woman enslaved by Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood during the early 18th century.

Newport News

Reasonings of Resilience, CAN Foundation, $5,000: A project working with youth to explore lived experiences with gun violence and promote well-being and healing.


Virginia Voices, Hampton Roads Educational Telecommunications Association, $5,000: Expansion of Virginia Voices into a monthly podcast and digitally published feature to increase its reach across specific news deserts in Virginia, building on a series first produced in 2020 to provide unique perspectives on Virginia’s news.

Loving v. Virginia Opera, Virginia Opera Association, $20,000: Production of the first phase of an original documentary film that will expand on the operatic retelling of the Loving v. Virginia case, exploring its relevance to contemporary issues of race, identity and social justice.


I Have a Name, Fluvanna County Historical Society, $9,500: Creation of a memorial for the enslaved individuals buried at Oak Hill Cemetery and a documentary that captures the work done to restore and preserve historic Black cemeteries in the region.


Six-Month Poetry Night, Gallery 5, $5000: A program exploring diverse voices in poetry and spoken word in the Richmond area, through poetry readings that subvert traditional historical narratives and uplift underrepresented voices.

Women’s Work, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, $20,000: An exhibition showcasing a unique botanical collection, largely created by Black women in the 1930s through a Works Progress Administration-funded native flora conservation project.

Framing Agnes, University of Richmond, $2,000: A public screening and discussion of the documentary “Framing Agnes,” which explores trans care and features conversations with trans scholars and cultural workers.

Loose Parts-Exploring the Public Humanities of Child-Directed Adventure Play, Virginia Commonwealth University, $14,925: This project will explore the interdisciplinary area of adventure play studies and fund community conversations, screenings and pop-up adventure play experiences to support the construction of a permanent, artist-activated adventure play space.


David Ramey-Perspectives on the Historic Vibrancy of Roanoke’s Gainsboro Neighborhood, Taubman Museum of Art, $20,000: A free public exhibition of illustrations by artist David Ramey Sr. depicting the historic Black Gainsboro community in downtown Roanoke, including related narratives and educational programming.


Fossil Tales-Connecting the Appalachian Mountains to Dragon Folklore, Roanoke College, $20,000: Production of a child-focused exhibit connecting the natural history of Appalachia to stories of other areas and cultures.


2023 Annual Lecture Series, American Frontier Culture Foundation, $4,800: Six free public lectures on Indigenous, colonial and early American history and culture, with talks by humanities scholars on topics including maps of early America, migration and the making of the United States.


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