Arizona Humanities, a statewide nonprofit that supports public humanities programs across Arizona awarded 10 Project Grants totaling $68,609 to local and regional cultural organizations, educational institutions, and non-profits.

Brenda Thomson, Executive Director of Arizona Humanities remarked, “From mini operas composed by Native youth, to examining the Asian Pacific American experience in the borderlands, to multi-generational neighborhood oral histories transformed into community performances…all of these projects promote understanding and appreciation of the human experience. Arizona Humanities is proud to support these vibrant cultural programs.”

Read below for more information about each awarded Project Grant. Organizations interested in learning more about Arizona Humanities grants can visit our Grant Opportunities page and register for upcoming free webinars. For questions, please contact Dr. Nicole Blalock, Grants Manager at 602-257-0335 x23.

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Arizona State University – English Department
RED INK Indigenous Cultural Series for Teens
Tempe, AZ
Total Grant Award: $4,976

The RED INK Indigenous Cultural Series for Teens is one of five projects of the RED INK Indigenous Initiative for All. Native American authors, poets, playwrights, and cultural performers will engage Indigenous students in discussions and activities revolving around the intersection between Indigenous issues/ways of knowing and the various genres of the presenters (fiction, poetry, dance, drama, film, etc.). A partnership between ASU and several central Arizona high schools serving American Indian, Alaska Native, and Indigenous students, this event encourages an estimated 1,000 Native American teens to think critically and express their thoughts articulately on issues close to their hearts and lives.

Project Director: Professor James Blasingame 480-552-7671

Arizona State University – School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies
Lost Boys Found – Phase II
Tempe, AZ
Total Grant Award: $5,000

“Lost Boys Found” is an interdisciplinary project that seeks to preserve the histories, stories and images of the Lost Boys/Girls of Sudan and present them to the general public in an engaging and comprehensive medium. Arizona has the largest relocation of Lost Boys/Girls, who were forced out of Sudan when civil war broke out. This project seeks to preserve the oral histories of these Arizonans, not only as part of Arizona’s history, but also for the world.

Project Director: Julie Amparano 602-460-1372

The Harvey Girls Documentary New Interviews and Screening and Discussion Programs
Los Angeles, CA
Total Grant Award: $6,500.00

Expanding on Katrina Parks’ hour-long documentary “The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound” this program includes three screenings followed by a 20 minute presentation of new edited interview segments which are part of the on-going Harvey Girls Oral History project, segments include Navajo, Hopi and Japanese-Mexican Harvey Girls. These stories are particularly relevant to Arizona’s rich Harvey Girl legacy and add diversity to the narrative of the Harvey Girls.

Project Director: Katrina Parks 323-203-5968

Diné be’ iiná, Inc.
Sheep is Life: A Celebration of Traditional Navajo Shepherding and Weaving Culture
Window Rock, AZ
Total Grant Award: $6,500

Diné be’ iiná presents the 20th Annual Sheep is Life Celebration where participants will be immersed in traditional, historical and contemporary perspectives on Navajo culture, sheep and wool production, fiber arts, textiles and culinary arts Diné be’ iiná Inc.(DBI) , a grassroots organization, seeks to preserve, protect and celebrate the Navajo way of life. DBI is dedicated to conserving the Navajo-Churro Sheep breed and promoting fiber arts to enhance self-sufficiency and improve quality of life. The event features workshops, demonstrations, discussions, films, museum displays, youth activities and presentations.

Project Director: Aretta Begay 505-406-7428 

Heard Museum
The Stories We Tell
Phoenix, AZ
Total Grant Award: $4,663.75

On April 16, 2016, the Heard Museum is presenting the public premiere of The Stories We Tell, mini-operas composed by American Indian youth who participate in the Grand Canyon Music Festival’s Native American Composers Apprentice Project. A celebration of Native culture and music uniquely expressed through the art of classical opera the pieces will be performed by Arizona Opera artists accompanied by a chamber ensemble and pianist. The goal is to demonstrate how, through the challenging discipline and empowering artistic experience of opera, Native composers express their own voices and use this platform to express themselves as 21st century Native citizens. The evening’s activities will include a reception for the composers and the performance which will be followed by a conversation session between the composers and the audience.

Project Director: Dianne Baker 602-251-0249

Museum of Northern Arizona
Museum of Northern Arizona Zuni, Hopi & Navajo Heritage Insights
Flagstaff, AZ
Total Grant Award: $10,000

The Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) Heritage Insights programs will take place during the 26th Zuni, 83rd Hopi, and the 67th Navajo Festivals of Art and Culture. MNA’s goal for each festival is to illuminate, explore, and share humanities-based topics tribal members have determined are important to their community, in order to promote cross-cultural understanding and heighten appreciation for the history, philosophies, life ways and journeys of these three tribes. Through the Heritage Insights programs visitors are able to learn directly from a tribal expert, educator, or elder in-depth perspectives about the story, history, and traditions of the Zuni, Hopi, and Navajo tribes.

Project Director: Anne Franke 928-774-5211

Northern Arizona University – Philosophy in the Public Interest
Hot Topics Cafe 2016
Flagstaff, AZ
Total Grant Award: $5,970

The Hot Topics Café will provide a forum for civil, rational, compassionate discussion about issues of contemporary concern. Philosophers from northern Arizona will facilitate eight discussions in Flagstaff and Sedona community venues in the spring and fall of 2016. The Hot Topics Café does not aim to achieve consensus. Rather, it seeks to give community members an opportunity to explain the reasoning behind competing positions. This civil discourse initiative builds tolerance for difference, which is a desirable feature of a stable democracy.

Project Director:  Dr. Andrea Houchard 928-274-8737

Tolani Lake Enterprises, Inc.
Metal Road III
Winslow, AZ
Total Grant Award: $10,000

Metal Road, a public television documentary, explores the dynamics of Native American labor on the American railroads through the lens of a Navajo trackman in a world linked by social, economic and political ties. This project will elicit, record, and help preserve Navajo oral tradition with integrative applications across social, cultural, and economic spheres of community life. Metal Road challenges viewers to reengage relations between American narrative and Indigenous peoples, and gives a human face to wage laborers balancing traditional Native life and western values.

Project Director: Stephanie Hall 928-266-5342 

Tucson Chinese Association d/b/a Tucson Chinese Cultural Center
Asian Pacific American Heritage Festival
Tucson, AZ
Total Grant Award: $10,000

During spring, 2016, the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center (TCCC) will host an Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Festival, a series of events, culminating on May 7th, to encourage community reflection, interpretation and discussion of topics of importance to Tucson’s (and other) APA communities. Its backdrop will be the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition, “I Want the Wide American Earth, An Asian Pacific American Story,” on display at TCCC. The festival is an invitation to engage with the exhibition. Activities include performances/food/arts/crafts/displays and explanations of aspects of APA life in the borderlands.

Project Director: Robin Blackwood 520-292-6900

Rising Youth Theatre
Living Room
Phoenix, AZ
Total Grant Award: $5,000

Rising Youth Theatre, a Phoenix company dedicated to creating plays that start community conversations, will produce “Living Room,” a site-specific community theatre and dialogue project, engaging a multigenerational, diverse group of people in a conversation about home, family, and the place where we live. Plays will be developed through interviews and conversations in the Garfield neighborhood in Phoenix, Arizona and performed at Verde Park with post-performance dialogue. Further, this project will bring young artists into collaboration with adult artists, starting a community dialogue with youth voices at the center.

Project Director: Sarah Sullivan 602-370-5560

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This post was updated March 31, 2016

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