Virginia Foundation for the Humanities

Charlottesville, VA—Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH) announces $56,950 in grants to seventeen nonprofit organizations in support of public humanities programs for audiences throughout the Commonwealth and beyond.

The VFH Grant Program responds directly to the interests and concerns of local communities in Virginia, as well as to the needs of the educational organizations that serve them. Since 1974, VFH has awarded more than 3,500 grants, bringing scholars and citizens together to promote a greater understanding of the humanities.

VFH grant projects reach an estimated annual audience of 1.5 million, with an average 4:1 dollar match. Rob Vaughan, founding president of VFH, comments: “The Foundation’s work touches every city, county, and district across the state and beyond. Our grants are often the initial source of funding, helping ambitious projects find a foothold and supporting small organizations that encourage connections and discoveries at the most local level.”

As a result of VFH grant funding, exhibits, public forums and discussions, media programs (film, video, radio, and digital media), publications, research, teachers’ institutes and seminars, oral history projects, lectures and conferences, and other kinds of programs have harnessed the power of the humanities to address important issues and enrich the cultural life of the state.

The following organizations received grants from VFH between August 2016 and January 2017:

APVA/Preservation Virginia (Richmond): $2,000

Public screening and discussion of a documentary film exploring the history of the Rosenwald school building program, presented as part of the 2016 annual Virginia Preservation Conference. 

Blue Ridge Literacy (Roanoke): $1,500

Two panel discussions and a public reading/conversation using the novel The Submission by Amy Waldman as a springboard in addressing issues of religious diversity, immigration, and community identity.   

Cape Charles Historical Society (Cape Charles): $6,000

An exhibit, film screening/discussion and related program on the history of Rosenwald education in the U.S., with a focus on the history of the Cape Charles Rosenwald school.

Chesterfield County Public Library (Chesterfield): $1,000

A one-day book/literary festival, held in Chesterfield County and featuring Kristen Green, the author of a book about the history of desegregation in Prince Edward County, Virginia, as the keynote speaker.

Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg): $3,000

Two public presentations and a local heritage tour of Harrisonburg-area sites, offered as part of a four-day conference on the role and experience of women in Anabaptist faith traditions.      

EVS Communications (Washington): $7,500

Production of abbreviated versions of the award-winning documentary film Harvest of Empire, on the history of Latin American immigration to the United States, designed for use in school classrooms and community discussions.

Furious Flower Poetry Center (Harrisonburg): $7,000

A week-long series of lectures, readings, and discussions designed primarily for Virginia high school teachers, focusing on the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa.

Historic Smithfield (Blacksburg): $1,200

A series of historic tours connecting Blacksburg-area residents with sites related to the Preston family, whose influence on Virginia and American history was profound.

Library of Virginia Foundation (Richmond): $3,000

A public program blending historical narration and interpretive performance to explore the musical legacy of the Prohibition Era in Virginia. 

Local Colors of Western VA (Roanoke): $5,000

A series of interpretive dance performances, focusing on dance traditions from Mexico (Veracruz), Cuba, and the Philippines, to be presented as part of the annual (2017) Local Colors Festival in Roanoke. 

Louisa County Historical Society (Louisa): $4,500

A multi-faceted local history initiative using information about African American burial sites to help create a new way of understanding race and slavery in Louisa County.

Riverviews Artspace (Lynchburg): $4,000

An eight-part film discussion series exploring the history, issues, contributions, and challenges faced by LGBTQ persons in American society.

Southern Documentary Fund (Durham): $2,500

A documentary film examining ways that Appalachia and Appalachian people have been represented and portrayed in film, television, and photographs, often using stereotypes and clichés. 

St. John’s Church Foundation (Richmond): $2,500

Planning to assess current interpretation at St. Johns Church in Richmond, site of Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty” speech, and recommend new approaches that will enhance the experiences of both real and “virtual” visitors to St. John’s.   

Virginia Wesleyan College (Norfolk): $2,500

A series of community forums and discussion programs exploring issues central to the 2016 Presidential campaign.

William King Museum of Art (Abingdon): $1,250

A speakers’ series titled “Art in Appalachia, Appalachia in the World,” focusing in part on Appalachian identity and the globalization of Appalachian culture.  

WTJU (Charlottesville): $2,500

Production of a series of 100 radio programs, to be broadcast throughout 2017, celebrating the 100-year history of jazz in America.