Humanities Council Invests $57,486 in Cultural Projects Statewide

Laura Hope Gill, Director of Asheville Wordfest

The North Carolina Humanities Council has awarded $57,486 in grants for projects in the humanities. All funded programs are free and open to the public.  

The Durham Library Foundation will receive $9,916 for Bull City Soul Revival, a collaboration of musicians and scholars to showcase the history of Soul in Durham. This month-long community project debuts March 27, 2012. It includes a display of artifacts, lecture/discussion, and the gathering of oral histories, some of which will be broadcast via television or the Internet. Dwandalyn Reece, Curator of Music History at the National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Smithsonian Institution, will overview the historical context of Soul music and its national legacy.  Bull City Soul Revival culminates in live performances that pay tribute to Durham’s musical traditions, past and present.

Contact: Project director Carter Cue at ccue@durhamcountync.gov or 919.560.0270.

The North Carolina Museum of History Associates in Raleigh will receive $9,649 for Al Norte al Norte: Latino Life in North Carolina, a yearlong photography exhibition at the North Carolina Museum of History, opening May 4, 2012. Bilingual descriptions will accompany photographs by Pulitzer Prize-winning José Galvez, and selected artifacts will complement photographic content. Galvez, José Villalba, Sandra Gutierrez, and David Moore will explore with guests North Carolina’s distinctive Latino history and culture in a four-part lecture series.

Contact: Project director Diana Bell-Kite at Diana.bell.kite@ncdcr.gov or 919.807.7955

The Touring Theatre of North Carolina of Greensboro will receive $9,540 in support of the performance of Look Back the Maytime Days: From the Pages of Fred Chappell, a stage production of author Fred Chappell’s family stories in Western North Carolina. Look Back the Maytime Days had its beginnings in the Touring Theatre’s commissioned performance at the North Carolina Humanities Council’s 2011 Caldwell Award celebration honoring Chappell, who for over forty years taught in the creative writing program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Look Back the Maytime Days combines Chappell’s prose and poetry with Appalachian music to create an oral tapestry of Western North Carolina’s hills and hollows.

Contact: Project director Brenda P. Schleunes at bps@ttnnc.org or 336.272.1279.

The North Carolina Folklife Institute in Durham will receive $9,400 in support of Blazing the African American Music Trail, providing digital training for members of eight eastern North Carolina counties in support of the African American Music Trail, a heritage tourism initiative. Scholars will offer community partners instruction in digital technology and ethnography to create Internet-destined documentation of North Carolina’s distinctive African American musical traditions, events, and venues.

Contact: Project director Sally Peterson at sally.peterson@ncdcr.gov or 919.807.6507.

The Mountain Area Information Network (MAIN) of Asheville will receive $7,000 for the fifth annual Asheville Wordfest, a multicultural poetry festival presented in collaboration with Grateful Steps Publishing House and Bookshop and the YMI Cultural Center. On May 3-5, 2012, poets and citizen-journalists from varied cultural backgrounds will gather to explore the theme of home. Festival programming includes workshops in Geopoetics, Imaginature children’s events, film showings, and the presentation of The Elumenati Dome. Wordfest’s poetry readings are webcast live and archived in an online video library.    

Contact: Project director Laura Hope-Gill at laurahopegill@aol.com or 828.242.7372.

The Traditional Voices Group of Burnsville will receive $4,681 to support planning and programming for the fifth annual RiddleFest in February 2012. RiddleFest celebrates with performance and lecture the life and art of Yancey County resident Lesley Riddle (1905-79), African American musician of significant relevance to mountain music culture. Riddle had a major impact on the development and dissemination of old-time string and country music. He influenced the Carter family through sharing and collecting the music in travels with A.P. Carter, as well as introducing them to various styles, including the Piedmont Blues. Visiting scholars include Kathy Bullock, music department chair at Berea College in Kentucky, traditional blues guitarist Scott Ainslie, and Riddle biographer and Amherst College professor Barry O’Connell.

Contact: Project director Larry Howell at howelllarry@gmail.com or 828.682.9654.

Central Piedmont Community College of Charlotte will receive $3,800 for The Fight for Education Equality: A First-Hand Account, an interactive panel discussion that in April 2012 will transport participants to the events of the mid-twentieth-century school integration movement. Presenters offering personal testimonies and scholarly accounts of the period include Ophelia De Laine Gona, who experienced integration first-hand and whose father was instrumental in the movement; Albert Diaz, the first Hispanic judge to serve the Fourth Circuit; and award-winning broadcast journalist Steve Crump. Tom Hanchett, staff historian of the Levine Museum of the New South, will moderate the panel. Two traveling museum exhibits, COURAGE: The Vision to End Segregation, the Guts to Fight for It and Para Todos Los Niños, will be on display at CPCC in April to help the audience further explore connections between integration-era efforts for educational equity and the state of public education today. Coinciding with the panel discussion and exhibits is Sensoria, an annual multidisciplinary arts festival hosted by CPCC.

Contact: Melissa Vrana at Melissa.vrana@cpcc.edu or 704.330.6309.

The Apprend Foundation of Research Triangle Park will receive $3,500 for the development of a mobile tour of the Thomas Day (1801-61) furniture exhibition at the historic Union Tavern, home and shop of the acclaimed free African American cabinetmaker. The downloadable audiovisual tour will create an enhanced visitor experience. It will also incorporate new research on Day’s family and social circle and explore his lasting legacy as artisan/entrepreneur in antebellum America.  

Contact: Laurel C. Sneed at seasneed@aol.com or 919.405.2326