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V.I. Humanities Council Announces Community Grants

Dec. 11, 2008 – The Virgin Islands Humanities Council over the course of its 2008 fiscal year (Nov. 1, 2007 to Oct. 31, 2008) has awarded $66,345 to the following eight community organizations:
Major Grant Awards
The Women's Coalition of St. Croix was awarded $8,100 for "A History of Me." The pre-performance of "Square Peg Syndrome" and series of hiphop-inspired workshops for students and teachers shares oral history and philosophy about the Virgin Islands. Project director: Sue Diverio.
Strength to Strength was awarded $10,000 to research, film, document and edit a marketable trailer for "Liberated Minds," a film that traces the concept of mental slavery from Ghana, Denmark and now as it has developed in the Virgin Islands. Project director: Oliver Harboe.
The St. John Foundation of the Virgin Islands was awarded $9,350 for "Celebrating Our Ancestors Kulu Mele," the theme for the 17th annual Folk Life Festival, which included a lecture and discussion on V.I. icon Edward Wilmot Blyden, and workshops in West African dance by Kulu Mele. A link between the traditional bamboula dance, Moko Jumbie performance and V.I. heritage was established. Project director: Denise Georges.
The Island Center of St. Croix was awarded $10,000 for "Listen and Learn at the Center," a workshop series led by local musicians and visiting professional entertainers in quelbe, keyboard, drumming, Afro-Caribbean dance and including sound and lighting, with a focus on history and development of the art form. Project director: Eugene Petersen.
The Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts was awarded $10,000 for "A Woman's View of Frederiksted 1898-1913," an exhibition of over 65 black and white historical photographs developed by Emilie Langkjaer in the current museum building. The project includes lectures by two Danish researchers, an intergenerational workshop and art classes. Project director: Candia Atwater.
Mini Grants Awards
The American Legion District No. 10 was awarded $3,495 for research and $3,500 for the production of "Proudly We Served: Virgin Islands Veterans of World War II," a media project documenting Virgin Islands veterans' experiences with racial segregation. Project director: Joan Keenan.
Children learned how to write their own poetry, short stories and plays in the "VISCWP Young Writers Camp," a summer writing camp held at Julius E. Sprauve School through a $3,500 grant. Project director: Coreen Samuel.
Archival film footage, photographs and experimental film blended together in "Maroon Mountain: Nanna Debois Buhl's Virgin Islands Records," a presentation of recent artworks concerning colonial history and collective memory by the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts with the help of a $3,500 grant. Project director: Candia Atwater.
Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts was awarded $3,500 for "Political & Cultural Critique of Colonial Art & Exhibition" for discussions with artists Luis Camnitzer and Selby Hickey on how the arts can be used to express political viewpoints and the ways that culture impacts art and writing. Project director: Candia Atwater.
Teacher Incentive Grant Award
Central High School received $750 for students and chaperons to present literary dramatizations for the "We the People Book Club" held in May at the Reichhold Center for the Arts on St. Thomas. Project director: Vanda Espinosa.
Additionally, in December, the V.I. Humanities Council awarded $14,600 in grant funds to three community organizations as part of its 2009 fiscal year, which runs from Nov. 1, 2008 to Oct. 31, 2009:
Major Grant Awards
Crucian Heritage and Nature Tourism was awarded $6,100 to pay for the creation of a simulated walking tour video through Christiansted and Frederiksted as part of its "Historical Tour Guide Program." Project director: Frandelle Gerard.
Friends of the V.I. National Park was awarded $5,000 for the project, "Virgin Islands Culture: 275 Years Towards Determination" for the 18th Annual Folk Life Festival with a highlight on Virgin Islanders' struggles for self-determination from coal carrier strikes, to resistance to the naval administration, to migrations during the 1920s and 1950s. Project director: Denise Georges.
Mini-Grant Award
Manor School was awarded $3,500 for the "St. Croix Harlem Renaissance Event" in celebration of St. Croix's contribution to the Harlem Renaissance, through historical figures such as philosopher Hubert Harrison, stockbroker Casper Holstein and author Nella Larsen during the month of April. Project director: Suzanne Bensen.
The V.I. Humanities Council is a private non-profit organization affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities. Funding is made available to non-profit organizations six times a year for projects that examine the cultural heritage of the Virgin Islands. Disciplines such as history, philosophy, languages, literature, cultural anthropology, folk life studies, comparative religion, ethics, archaeology, jurisprudence, and the history and criticism of the arts are considered. Applications are accepted on the first working day of November, January, March, May, July and September.
For more information, call 776-4044 or visit the VIHC Web site at www.vihumanities.org.

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