Maryland Humanities Awards $53,000 in Grants

July 27, 2017

Seven Nonprofit and Educational Organizations Funded to Host Public Humanities Programs Statewide

(Baltimore) –   Maryland Humanities has awarded grants to seven area nonprofit and educational organizations in its recent major grant cycle for public humanities programming. Organizations that received support through the spring 2017 Major Grant round include CHARM/Writers in Schools, Docs in Progress, Fenix Youth Project, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, St. Mary’s College of Maryland Foundation, the Walters Art Museum, and the Washington County Museum of Fine Art. Projects funded include diverse programming like a free college course in oral history, a symposium on jazz as a historical tool for African American liberation, and digital storytelling for minority youth in the juvenile justice system.

Phoebe Stein, executive director of Maryland Humanities, said: “We can’t wait to see the dynamic and inspiring programming supported through these grants. The common thread through these projects is an engagement with the humanities and its unique ability to bring people together in and across communities to reflect on the past, understand the present, and shape the future.”

Maryland Humanities provides grants to nonprofit organizations that use the humanities (literature, philosophy, art history, anthropology, history, etc.) to engage Marylanders in lifelong learning. Grant criteria encourage free public programming in many forms, using the humanities as the central tools to explore and understand the complexity of issues affecting communities. Maryland Humanities grants have two funding levels: up to $10,000 for Major Grants and up to $1,200 for Mini Grants. To learn more about our Grants Program and eligibility and deadlines, visit

Spring 2017 Major Grant Awards

CHARM/Writers In Schools
CHARM & Writers In Schools Baltimore
Baltimore City

CHARM is Baltimore’s only student literary and arts magazine. It enables students in grades 2-12 from all over the city to read about each other’s experiences and consider different perspectives, conjuring empathy and connections along the way. Writers In Schools provides students with a copy of a local author’s book so that they can study it closely with their teachers and then welcome the authors into their classrooms for genuine conversations about writing. The program’s impact is twofold: students read more— and more deeply—from high quality literature, and they meet accessible, local writing role models who inspire them to tell their own stories. CHARM and Writers in Schools Baltimore will utilize a three-pronged project format of lecture (author visits to schools), conference (interactive workshops and community launch parties), and media project (published CHARM journal(s)).

Docs in Progress
Community Stories Festival
Montgomery County

Community Stories is an annual festival that connects both emerging and experienced documentary storytellers with audiences interested in discovering more about the people, places, and history of the Montgomery County region. Programming includes multiple days and nights of film screenings, talks, and interactive educational programs. Festival events include screening and discussion of short documentaries produced by adults and youth who have participated in documentary production workshops at Docs In Progress over the past year.

Fenix Youth Project Inc.
BARS: Stories of the System, A Youth Perspective
Wicomico County

BARS: Stories of the System, A Youth Perspective is a collaboration between Fenix Youth Project and StoryCenter, a nonprofit organization working nationally and internationally to create spaces for transforming lives and communities through storytelling. The BARS Project provides a unique way for minority youth impacted by the juvenile justice system to participate in public life, using media (digital storytelling) to elevate, disseminate, and discuss their lived experiences. They will broaden the role of minority youth in our communities by centering their digital stories in a public humanities-informed dialogue on juvenile justice occurring in multiple formats – a youth-led “Town Hall Remix” public screening and forum, on radio, in news articles, and online through blog posts, websites, and social media.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland
From Slavery to Freedom in St. Mary’s City: Engaging History to Strengthen Democracy with Jazz
St. Mary’s County

In 2016, St. Mary’s College uncovered archaeological evidence that St. Mary’s Female Seminary owned slaves in the 19th century. “From Slavery to Freedom” engages community members in historical, cultural, and philosophical reflection on the meaning of slavery in St. Mary’s City and beyond; how African Americans liberated themselves from oppression by “improvising” through jazz; and how through engaging this history, we can liberate ourselves for inclusive democracy. Programming will include a public symposium and lectures, demonstrations, and workshops.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland Foundation
St. Mary’s County Oral History Project
St. Mary’s County

The St. Mary’s County Oral History Project will be the first oral history project that focuses on recent foreign-born immigrants in St. Mary’s County. By focusing on the experiences of these individuals, the project brings to light a “hidden” history of rural immigration and offers an innovative approach to the tradition of local oral history collection. The project consists of the following public events and activities that are free of charge to members of the community: (1) a college course on oral history; (2) four workshops where students and community members engage in drafting interview questions and discussing relevant methodologies and strategies; (3) three public forums; and (4) a photo exhibition and contest.

Walters Art Museum
One West Mount Vernon Place at the Walters Art Museum
Baltimore City

The Walters Art Museum will tell the intersecting stories of the people who designed, built, occupied, and worked at One West Mount Vernon Place (1WMVP), and link the lived history of the house to the larger regional and national narratives that unfolded in 19th century Baltimore. A new digital platform will serve a vital role in connecting visitors with the 1WMVP offerings and enable the interpretation of the house, its history, and the objects on display, to move away from the third-person, anonymous voice to a multi-perspective approach representing manifold human experiences. The interpretive content for these topics and themes will include text and images, and may include sound and video. Visitors will also be able to participate in various educational programs such as gallery talks, family festivals, workshops, and artist performances.

Washington County Museum of Fine Art
Painted Pages: Illuminated Manuscripts, 13th – 18th Centuries
Washington County

The exhibition, Painted Pages: Illuminated Manuscripts, 13th-18th Centuries, includes 38 framed folios from European, Persian, Armenian, and Hebrew manuscripts. Painted Pages explores the golden age of handmade books, some of which employed gold leaf decoration and intricate ornament. The exhibition includes examples from medieval European Bibles, psalters, books of hours, choir books, missals, breviaries, and lectionaries. French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Flemish, English, Armenian, and German examples will be included in addition to non-Western pages, including 17th and 18th century leaves from Hebrew texts, the Koran and the Shahnameh, the Persian illustrated Book of Kings. The Washington County Museum of Fine Art will provide a variety of interpretive programs and classes associated with the exhibition.

Maryland Humanities is a statewide, educational nonprofit organization that creates and supports educational experiences in the humanities that inspire all Marylanders to embrace lifelong learning, exchange ideas openly, and enrich their communities. For more information, please visit Maryland Humanities is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the State of Maryland, private foundations, corporations, small businesses, and individual donors.

Press Release