The Maryland Humanities Council Announces Second Round of Grantees for the Humanities Fund for Baltimore
Local Nonprofits Address Need for Community Dialogue on April Unrest
The Maryland Humanities Council (MHC) has awarded grants to six nonprofit organizations in the second round of its new special grant program, the Humanities Fund for Baltimore. Nonprofit organizations that received support are Center Stage; Eubie Blake Cultural Center; New Lens; Penn North Kids Safe Zone; Out for Justice, Inc.; and Wide Angle Youth Media.
The Humanities Fund for Baltimore was developed to support local nonprofit organizations that will create public programs that use the humanities to respond to, interpret, and shed light on the unrest of April 2015. Funded programs bring people together to understand the many contexts for the unrest, support humanities programs that educate young people and adults about the history and the roots of economic and racial inequality in communities of color in Baltimore City, and tap into and build on work already being done by others in the community.
“Both the peaceful protests and the violence in Baltimore that followed the death of Freddie Gray in police custody this past April responded to decades of structural racism and inequity in housing, education, and economic opportunities. The Maryland Humanities Council believes that the equity that needs to be created here in Baltimore, and across much of the nation, can begin with the humanities. The humanities—especially history, the law, ethics, and philosophy—can give us the contexts for understanding and addressing these problems. We are certain that these six inspiring projects, along with the five grantee projects from the first round, will help move us toward a better future in Baltimore,” said Phoebe Stein, executive director of the Maryland Humanities Council.
The first round of grantees was announced on January 11, 2016. Nonprofit organizations, community associations, and faith-based organizations were eligible to apply for funding for both rounds. In order to qualify, all projects had to be rooted in one or more disciplines of the humanities, engage communities impacted by structural racism in Baltimore, enlist the participation of humanities scholars or experts, and be free and open to the public.
To learn more about MHC’s Humanities Fund for Baltimore, visit www.mdhc.org/grants/humanities-fund-for-baltimore.
The Humanities Fund for Baltimore is supported in part by the state of Maryland and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the “Common Good,” an NEH initiative that seeks to bring the humanities into the public square and foster innovative ways to make scholarship relevant to contemporary issues. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this release do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Second Round Grantees
CS Mobile Unit: Pilot Program – Incubator Phase
Inspired by Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah’s work with the NYC Public Theatre’s Mobile Shakespeare Unit, the CS Mobile Unit will feature professional, high-quality, touring productions that will travel to prisons, juvenile detention facilities, homeless shelters, and assisted living facilities free of charge for the partner organizations and their populations.
Eubie Blake Cultural Center
Urban Express/Baltimore is a literary series that will focus on writing as a powerful tool of expression. Targeted to young audiences– ages 21–35 years — this series will specifically feature noted authors of nonfiction works to engage the young people of Baltimore. Audiences will hear from national authors and be inspired to tackle the persuasive skill of writing in the hopes that literary expression will be a first step to action for change.
Blackonomics: Housing Event
The “Blackonomics: Housing” event consists of a film screening, panel, and audience discussion on housing equity issues in Baltimore, issues that are among the root causes of the April 2015 unrest and uprising. The event will invite expression through spoken word performances and interactive audience discussion around how to change the status quo.
Penn North Kids Safe Zone
Our Road to Freedom “A Child’s Journey from the Uprising”
The Penn North Kids Safe Zone will used mixed media—including paint, personal writings, spoken word, and photography—to illustrate and demonstrate each child’s journey from the Baltimore uprising to present with the goal of giving each child a “voice” to express how their lives were forever changed to an audience of elected officials, community leaders, parents and peers, at a performance and exhibit.
Out for Justice, Inc.
Out for Justice Community Dialogues
Out For Justice seeks to elevate the voices of the community, including the socially disenfranchised voices of racial minorities, the poor, and ex-offenders. Two forums will feature audience interaction and engagement as well as a moderated discussion with panelists. Each event will be facilitated by Robert Rhudy, an active community member, lawyer, and professional mediator. The first session will focus on the relationship between victims and perpetrators in the city, and the second session will be focused on the relationship between the police and Baltimore City residents. These forums are unique in their emphasis on community engagement and role-playing as a form of community conflict resolution.
Wide Angle Youth Media
Wide Angle Youth Photography Traveling Exhibit
As protests took place in April 2015, youth producers at Wide Angle Youth Media began documenting the thoughts of young people in Baltimore through portrait photography and short interviews. Wide Angle will curate a traveling exhibit showcasing these young residents and their stories. The goal of the exhibit is to use creative curation to spark interest in a large and diverse audience to learn more about the positive attributes of Baltimore youth. Selected photographs and writing samples will be debuted in a book to be distributed to community, historical, and educational organizations throughout the city.