The Maryland Humanities Council Awards $53,300 in Major Grants to Area Nonprofit Organizations

December 22, 2015

The Maryland Humanities Council (MHC) has awarded major grants to eight nonprofit organizations in its recent grant cycle for public humanities programs. Nonprofit organizations that received support are the Baltimore Museum of Industry; Black Mental Health Alliance for Education and Consultation; Center Stage; Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center; Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center; University of Baltimore Division of Legal, Ethical, and Historical Studies; University of Maryland College Park Department of Art; and the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Salisbury University.

Projects range from a series of events and workshops to exhibitions and public discussions covering unique topics such as deindustrialization in Baltimore neighborhoods, the school-to-prison pipeline, inclusion and diversity in the theater, local African-American photography, visual storytelling of the Baltimore Uprising, and the traditional food-ways, crafts, work, and other traditions of the people of Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

The Maryland Humanities Council provides grants to nonprofit organizations that use the humanities (literature, philosophy, art history, anthropology, history, etc.) to engage Marylanders in lifelong learning. Grant categories and criteria encourage free public programming in many forms, using the humanities as the central tools to explore and understand the complexity of our human experience. Grant awards aim to engage diverse audiences and serve Maryland communities that are not currently served by other MHC programs. MHC Grants have two funding levels: up to $10,000 for Major Grants, and up to $1,200 for Opportunity Grants. To learn more about MHC’s Grants Program and eligibility and deadlines, visit


Baltimore Museum of Industry
Then & Now: Baltimore Neighborhoods in the Public Eye
Award: $9,000
Baltimore City

The Baltimore Museum of Industry will present a temporary exhibition that will compare historic neighborhood photographs from Baltimore Gas and Electric’s archival collection with contemporary images of the same locations submitted by local residents.  The crowd-sourced exhibition will include interpretive text describing the history of the neighborhoods and the economic changes they have experienced during the past century.  The exhibition will be on display from February 5th through the end of 2016.  Accompanying programming will explore the impact of deindustrialization in Baltimore’s neighborhoods and will include an oral history project/presentation, two lectures, and the screening of the documentary film Mill Stories: Remembering Sparrows Point Steel Mill.  All programming will include a Q&A session and time for audience discussion.

Black Mental Health Alliance for Education and Consultation, Inc.
Baltimore Rising: Summoning the Village
Award:  $8,860
Baltimore City

Between January and June 2016, the Black Mental Health Alliance (BMHA) will present a monthly speaker series featuring researchers and scholars who will share their knowledge and recommendations on creating a model of healing for those impacted by violence in Baltimore. Before each session, members of BMHA will conduct a survey in a neighborhood impacted by the issues of unemployment, high dropout rates, low birth weights, etc. to access perceived needs and resources currently available and determine plans for positive change in the community.  Following each lecture, there will be an opportunity for public facilitated discussion of the topic presented by the speaker.

Center Stage Associates
Anna Deavere Smith: The Prison Pipeline Project
Award: $7,120
Baltimore City

In December, Center Stage Associates hosted a documentary theater performance featuring Anna Deavere Smith that investigated the school-to-prison pipeline – the cycle of suspension from school to incarceration that is prevalent among low-income children of color. Having interviewed hundreds of people with varying degrees of participation in the pipeline, Ms. Smith performed a monologue based on those conversations.  After the performance, facilitators led small group discussions with those in attendance.

Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
Black Theatre Symposium
Award: $2,500
Prince George’s County

On April 2, 2016, the University of Maryland School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center will host the third Black Theatre Symposium to include panel discussions, workshops, and performances. Theater professionals, scholars, and students will convene to discuss and take action around the topics of inclusion and diversity.

Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center
“Our Baltimore”
Award: $9,000
Baltimore City

In February and March 2016, the Eubie Blake Center will present an exhibit by three generations of photographers from the Phillips family, African-American photographers who worked as freelancers for the Afro-American and Baltimore Sun newspapers. The black and white photographs span from 1940 to the present and highlight urban communities in Baltimore. Companion activities include photo ID sessions, adult storytelling, a panel discussion with photojournalists, a youth photojournalism class, a jazz concert and spoken word event.

The University of Baltimore Division of Legal, Ethical, and Historical Studies
The Uprising in Focus: The Image, Experience, and History of Inequality in Baltimore
Award: $3,070
Baltimore City

The University of Baltimore, in partnership with the National Council on Public History and the UMBC Department of History, will present “The Uprising in Focus,” a facilitated panel discussion designed to engage the public in a conversation about the historical roots and public image of the protests and civil disobedience in Baltimore that surrounded the death of Freddie Gray in police custody.

University of Maryland College Park Department of Art
Portraits of Baltimore
Award: $7,750
Prince George’s County

Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts students will collaborate with graphic design students from the University of Maryland to share stories of the uprising, Baltimore history, news media accounts, literature and other sources of information to build a collective narrative of the uprising and its impact on West Baltimore’s high school youth. This will form the foundation for an exhibition to be installed in the Reginald F. Lewis Museum that will coincide with the one-year anniversary of Freddie Gray’s death.

Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Salisbury University
The Delmarvalous Festival: An Eastern Shore Folklife Festival
Award: $6,000
Wicomico County 

The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Salisbury University will present the Delmarvalous Lives speaker series, an eight-part educational program focusing on the traditional food-ways, crafts, work, and other traditions of the people of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The speaker series will be based on ethnographic fieldwork by the Museum’s Folklorist, and feature tradition bearers representing different aspects of life on the Eastern Shore (e.g., boat building, baking, crabbing, decoy carving, and Native American traditions). In addition to formal presentations and demonstrations, these tradition bearers will provide interpretive displays and interactive activities to help the visiting public learn about the region’s important folkways.

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