Indiana Humanities awards 31 nonprofits with nearly $125,000 in grants  

Dozens of schools, libraries and other organizations across the Hoosier State have received grants from Indiana Humanities to provide public humanities programs in their communities. Projects supported with Indiana Humanities grants include a reading-and-discussion program in Gary that…

Dozens of schools, libraries and other organizations across the Hoosier State have received grants from Indiana Humanities to provide public humanities programs in their communities. Projects supported with Indiana Humanities grants include a reading-and-discussion program in Gary that focuses on a Martin Luther King Jr. speech, a project in Mitchell that digitizes and makes available historic artifacts related to Spring Mill State Park, a statewide brochure highlighting Indiana’s historic barns, and more. 

From May to October 2020, Indiana Humanities awarded 16 Action Grantsfour Historic Preservation Education Grants, eight INcommon Grants, one Innovation Grant, and two Collaboration Grants.  

Altogether, Indiana Humanities awarded more than $1 million in grants in 2020, including $550,500 in operating support grants issued to cultural nonprofits as part of the CARES Act. 

Action Grants (up to $3,000) support nonprofit organizations that sponsor public humanities programs such as exhibitions, workshops, lectures and reading and discussion programs. 

Historic Preservation Education Grants (up to $2,500) fund activities that educate Indiana citizens about historic places and properties—and particularly about the need to preserve and protect them.  Indiana Landmarks partners on this grant and provides half the funds. 

INcommon Grants (up to $5,000) help Indiana nonprofits develop and implement public programs that look at the histories driving contemporary debates around immigration, gentrification, incarceration, policing, institutional racism, the legacies of segregation in housing and education, and more. The Indianapolis Foundation, a Central Indiana Community Foundation affiliate, provides funding for programs that take place in Marion County. 

Innovation Grants (up to $10,000) support the development and implementation of bold and creative public humanities programs that introduce new ideas, utilize unique approaches and/or reach underserved audiences. 

 Collaboration Grants (up to $20,000) encourage Indiana nonprofits to partner with other community organizations to deliver in-depth public humanities programming built around a core idea or theme. Partnerships may be among organizations within a community, within a region or even across the state 

 Indiana Humanities accepts applications for its grants at various times throughout the year. Guidelines and application deadlines are available at 

 We’re committed to providing people across Indiana with access to the humanities,” said Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities. “Even amid the pandemic, our partners have stepped up to provide their communities with a variety of educational and entertaining humanities programs, adapting their approaches to ensure participants remain safe. This year we’re especially proud to support their efforts through our grants program.  

 The following organizations received grants from May through October 2020: 

Action Grants 

  • Association for Educational Communications and Technology, Bloomington 
  • Association for the Wolf Lake Initiative, Whiting 
  • Carmel Clay Historical Society, Carmel 
  • Oakwood Foundation Chautauqua-Wawasee, Syracuse 
  • Friends of Spring Mill State Park, Mitchell 
  • Indiana University South Bend, South Bend 
  • City of Bloomington Council for Community Access, Bloomington 
  • Lakeshore Public Media, Merrillville 
  • Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, Indianapolis 
  • IndyHub, Indianapolis 
  • Landmark Columbus Foundation, Columbus 
  • Dani’s Dreams Innovation in Education Corp., Greenfield 
  • Allen CountyFort Wayne Historical Society, Fort Wayne 
  • Athenaeum Foundation, Indianapolis 
  • Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center, Indianapolis 
  • Allen County Courthouse Preservation Trust, Fort Wayne 

Historic Preservation Education Grants 

  • Indiana Barn Foundation, Indianapolis 
  • Indiana Lincoln Highway Association, South Bend 
  • The Indiana Album, Indianapolis 
  • Historic Fall Creek Pendleton Settlement, Pendleton 

“We are proud to support projects throughout the state that encourage Hoosiers to better appreciate and understand the history behind Indiana’s historic places,” said Marsh Davis, president of Indiana Landmarks.   

INcommon Grants 

  • Purdue University, West Lafayette 
  • Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, Indianapolis 
  • HealthVisions Midwest, Fort Wayne 
  • The Morning Bishop Theatre Playhouse, Gary 
  • Levi and Catharine Coffin State Historic Site, Fountain City 
  • Ivy Tech Community College, Kokomo 
  • League of Women Voters of Hancock County, Greenfield 
  • DePauw University, Greencastle 

 Innovation Grants 

  • Big Car Collaborative, Indianapolis 

 Collaboration Grants 

  • Spirit & Place, Indianapolis 
  • Cedar Lake Historical Association, Cedar Lake 


Here are descriptions of the projects: 


Action Grants 

The Civil War Era in the Union’s Heartland  
Association for Educational Communications and Technology, Bloomington 
Awarded: $3,000  
AECT will use grant funds to develop a 60-minute documentary that explores how the citizens of Greencastle and Putnam County, Indiana, responded to and were affected by the Civil War—and how the war affected the state more generally. The project will also produce accompanying print material designed to support teachers and facilitators in working with students and general audiences. 

Calumet Revisited: A Monthly Forum on the Calumet 
Association for the Wolf Lake Initiative, Whiting 
Awarded: $2,025 
The Association for the Wolf Lake Initiative presented its annual “Calumet Revisited” series, a monthly discussion program that features guest speakers who shed light on the region’s rich cultural and environmental history. Talks explored the area’s Native American heritage, music in the steel mills, the history of the South Shore Arts and more.  

Fashionable Society: Civil War to Post-War Textiles of Carmel 
Carmel Clay Historical Society, Carmel 
Awarded: $3,000 
The Carmel Clay Historical Society developed Fashionable Society: Civil War to Post-War Textiles of Carmel, an exhibition that explored the history and evolution of fashion and clothing processes. The exhibit featured textile artifacts from the societys collections, along with histories, photographs and interactive displays. A series of public lectures provided additional educational programming. 

Women’s Suffrage Centennial Celebration 
Oakwood Foundation Chautauqua-Wawasee, Syracuse   
Awarded: $2,893 
To mark the centennial of womens suffrage in August 2020, the Oakwood Foundation presented a series of community events. Activities included lectures, children’s programming and a public celebration featuring presentations, an ice-cream social and reenactors. 

Documenting Spring Mill State Park’s History 
Friends of Spring Mill State Park, Mitchell 
Awarded: $1,774 
The Friends of Spring Mill State Park will create an online digital exhibition/archive for the park, making historic photos, oral histories, videos and other items available to the public for research and learning. To celebrate and promote the completed project, the group will host a presentation by Glory-June Greiff, who has studied and written a book on the history of the Indiana State Parks.  

Pop-Up University at LangLab: A Public Lecture Series to Engage and Inspire 
Indiana University South Bend, South Bend  
Awarded: $2,400 
IU South Bend will host a series of talks by faculty members on subjects with broad appeal. The goal is to introduce community members to the campus’s professors, to engage them in discussions on topics that affect their lives and to provide them with new ways of seeing the world. Talks will focus on core humanities subjects or use humanistic approaches to understand issues related to science, technology and other fields. 

Gather ’round the Table: An Evening of Community Conversations with Community Leaders 
City of Bloomington Council for Community Accessibility, Bloomington
Awarded: $3,000 
Bloomington’s Council for Community Accessibility will host a public conversation that explores issues related to accessibility and that helps participants to understand the challenges that people with disabilities face regarding access to accommodations, housing, programs and services. Participants will receive and read a copy of a book exploring accessibility issues, hear from the author and take part in a discussion facilitated by a scholar. 

Selling Happiness 
Lakeshore Public Media, Merrillville   
Awarded: $2,900 
Lakeshore Public Media will help produce and air Selling Happiness, a documentary illustrating how the automobile sparked sweeping changes in the way we live and interact as a society. The story will focus on three generations of auto dealers in the Midwest who connected cars to their community. In addition to airing the documentary on public television, the producers will make it available for showing at interested museums.  

Banned Books Week 
Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, Indianapolis 
Awarded: $2,250 
The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library recognized Banned Books Week with a series of programs focused on free speech and free expression. As part of the activities, poet and performance artist Manon Voice presented an original piece about censorship. Voice also joined Dr. Lasana Kazembe, assistant professor of education and Africana Studies at IUPUI, and other panelists to explore the role that protests have played in shaping civil rights movements and how they’re still an important tool for creating societal change. 

IndyHub Digital Book Club 
IndyHub, Indianapolis 
Awarded: $1,124 
The IndyHub Digital Book Club hosted two five-week-long virtual sessions that brought together participants primarily in the 20- to 30-year-old age group to meet, learn, discuss and grow through the shared experience of reading a book on the theme of civic engagement. A religious ethics scholar curated the texts and provided guidance to the community leaders who served as moderators.   

Exhibit Columbus 2020 Symposium 
Landmark Columbus Foundation, Columbus 
Awarded: $2,000
As part of its annual Exhibit Columbus program, the Landmark Columbus Foundation presented a free online symposium that explored the future of the “middle city.” Programs examined four topics—Futures and Technologies, Resilience and Climate Adaptation, Arts and Community, and Indigenous Futures and Radical Thinking. Exploration of each topic included a thematic conversation session as well as a “Columbus Conversation” session that centered on Columbus’s unique cultural heritage. 

 Growing Informed Citizens 
Dani’s Dreams Innovation in Education Corp., Greenfield 
Awarded: $3,000 
Dani’s Dreams Innovation in Education Corp. promoted media literacy through the study of the graphic novel The Birth of the First Amendment. As part of the associated programming, scholars and professional journalists led a series of multimedia communication, research, sourcing and writing projects to help high school students explore the role of journalists in protecting the First Amendment. Indiana Humanities used funds provided by the Indiana Newspaper in Education Foundation to award this grant. 

 2020-2021 George R. Mather Sunday Lecture Series 
Allen County–Fort Wayne Historical Society, Fort Wayne 
Awarded: $2,000 
The Allen County–Fort Wayne Historical Society’s George R. Mather Sunday Lecture Series features eight presentations focusing on history, archaeology, religion, visual arts, folklore and similar topics. Lectures are free to the public, and participants may enjoy the rest of the museum during lecture hours.  

The Origin of Fascism: Divide and Rule Tactics 
Athenaeum Foundation, Indianapolis 
Awarded: $3,000 
As part of the 2020 Spirit Place Festival, the Athenaeum Foundation presented “The Origin of Fascism,” featuring scholars that explored the use of “divide-and-rule tactics” throughout history and currently. The session provided audiences with information to have meaningful and effective conversations with others with whom they may believe they have nothing in common. 

People’s Planning Academy: 200 Years of Planning  
Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center, Indianapolis  
Awarded: $3,000  
In conjunction with the City of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center will offer the “People’s Planning Academy: 200 Years of Planning,” a training program to demystify city planning and equip residents with tools to shape the future of their neighborhoods. The curriculum will focus on the history of Indianapolis’s built environment, including the people, places and events that have shaped the city.   

Virtual Tour and Oral Histories of the Allen County Courthouse 
Allen County Courthouse Preservation Trust, Fort Wayne 
Awarded: $3,000 
The Allen County Courthouse Preservation Trust will create a virtual video tour of the Allen County courthouse, a National Historical Landmark noted for its architectural design and artwork. The video will allow viewers across the country to see the atrium, hallways and courtrooms as narrators provide historical context. As part of the project, team members will conduct oral histories from judicial officers, court employees, building workers, community leaders and conservators and incorporate them into the video tour. 


Historic Preservation Education Grants 

Indiana’s Heritage Barns, Their History, Uses, and Preservation 
Indiana Barn Foundation, Indianapolis 
Awarded: $2,500 
The Indiana Barn Foundation will publish an educational brochure about historic Indiana barns, describing the various types, their uses and their evolution. The brochure will describe specific architectural components and features and will include photographs and drawings to help illustrate concepts. 

Lincoln Highway Control Stations 
Indiana Lincoln Highway Association, South Bend 
Awarded: $1,720 
The Indiana Lincoln Highway Association will develop and place banners and historical panels at up to 10 locations along the Lincoln Highway, one of the nation’s earliest transcontinental highways, which runs through northern Indiana. The association will focus on placing the informational signage near historic control stations—red, white and blue markers that were located at prominent corners and/or landmarks and that provided mileage information to motorists. The panels will tell the story of the highway and the impact it had on the state and the local communities through which it passed. 

Historic Indianapolis Architects Directory 
The Indiana Album, Indianapolis 
Awarded: $2,500 
The Indiana Album will develop and publish a searchable online directory of 19th- and 20th-century architects who worked in Indianapolis. The directory will include data on the architects, their firms and the buildings they designed (along with locations, architectural styles, dates and more). The project directors will also present two public workshops outlining Indianapolis architects and their work based on the information they collect and make available. 

Dr. Benedict Pendleton Grove Lawn Cemetery Restoration Project 
Historic Fall Creek Pendleton Settlement, Pendleton 
Awarded: $2,500 
Historic Fall Creek Pendleton Settlement will host a five-day cemetery restoration workshop in Pendleton’s Grove Lawn Cemetery. It will film the workshop and create a series of short educational videos on proper cemetery restoration. Experts will explain the need for cemetery restoration, outline some of the legal issues involved and discuss techniques to reset, repair and clean headstones. 


INcommon Grants 

Talking Race: Peer Education and Community Empowerment 
Purdue University, West Lafayette 
Awarded: $5,000 
Through a three-part workshop series and a keynote from a distinguished humanities scholar, Purdue University will foster the skills and confidence of young adults in Indiana to facilitate peer-to-peer conversations about issues of race and inclusion. Project directors will train Student Diversity Officers at Purdue’s Honors College to conduct the workshops using tools and guidelines to engage their peers in productive discussions about issues of racial justice. 

Power Disparities and the Law: A Book Study and Thought Leader Series 
Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, Indianapolis 
Awarded: $4,400 
The Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic hosted Power Disparities and the Law, a four-part virtual reading-and-discussion series that explored legal issues around immigration, reentry, housing and faith-based social services. The clinic provided free copies of the book selected for each session and offered an expert to provide a deep-dive after each facilitated conversation. The clinic recorded each session and has made it available online. 

The Food Exodus Project 
HealthVisions Midwest, Fort Wayne 
Awarded: $4,970 
HealthVisions Midwest is creating a 20-minute documentary that explores the evolution of food deserts in Fort Wayne, their racial roots and their impact on people of color. Through online and in-person screenings, HealthVisions will use the documentary as a tool to jumpstart discussion, ideas and solutions surrounding food-desert issues and will ultimately produce a website and informational packet for continuing education. 

Dr. King’s “The Other America” Speech (A Discussion Program) 
The Morning Bishop Theatre Playhouse, Gary 
Awarded: $5,000 
The Morning Bishop Theater Playhouse will use one of Dr. Martin Luther King’s lesser-known speeches, “The Other America,” to engage the public in discussions around racial disparities, including in the areas of housing, economic opportunities and human rights. Organizers will prepare discussion guides targeted for different age levels and will utilize experienced facilitators to lead conversations at various community gatherings, including via a radio broadcast. 

Redeeming Uncle Tom: The Josiah Henson Story 
Levi and Catharine Coffin State Historic Site, Fountain City 
Awarded: $2,800 
The Levi and Catharine Coffin State Historic Site will air a documentary on Josiah Henson, an escaped slave who served as the basis for the title character in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and who helped to establish a community in Canada that focused on providing former slaves with educational and vocational opportunities. After the screening, filmmaker Jared Brock will discuss his research (he also published a biography of Henson) and lead participants in a conversation about the film’s themes. 

Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Movie Night 
Ivy Tech Community College, Kokomo 
Awarded: $3,207 
Ivy Tech’s Kokomo campus will host an outdoor screening of The Infiltrators, a movie based on a true story of young immigrants who purposefully get arrested by the border patrol and placed in a for-profit detention center to document what goes on inside and to prevent deportations. The film deals with themes of immigration, policing and deportation, and organizers will allow audience members the opportunity to discuss these ideas in groups and via a conversation with the filmmakers. 

Pass-It-On Just Mercy Community Read and Conversation 
League of Women Voters of Hancock County, Greenfield 
Awarded: $5,000 
The League of Women Voters of Hancock County will distribute free copies of Bryan Stevenson’s acclaimed book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption to the general public and to high schools in the county. The league will then work with experienced facilitators to lead a community conversation around the book’s themes of race and the criminal justice system with a focus on how they play out locally. The project concludes with a screening of the movie version of Just Mercy, followed by a panel discussion. 

The Cultural Legacies of the Great Migration Symposium 
DePauw University, Greencastle 
Awarded: $5,000 
DePauw University will host a two-day symposium exploring the Great Migration, the movement of six million African Americans from the rural South to Midwestern and northern cities between 1910 and 1970. Speakers will present on a variety of topics that explore how the migration transformed the social, political and cultural life of the cities and the lasting impact it had. Question-and-answer sessions and breakout-room discussions will allow for conversation and dialogue among participants. 


Innovation Grants 

Words and Music: An Audio Exploration of the Life and Work of Indiana Writers 
Big Car Collaborative, Indianapolis 
Awarded: $10,000 
Big Car Collaborative will produce Words and Music: An Audio Exploration of the Life and Work of Indiana Writers, a series of eight hour-long programs that highlight poetry and creative prose. A variety of well-known Hoosier writers will serve as cohosts and will explore history and contemporary culture through the lens of Indiana-connected writers. Big Car will broadcast the series on its Indianapolis radio station and will make it available via podcast. 


Collaboration Grants 

Corona Dialogues 
Spirit & Place, Indianapolis 
Awarded: $10,000 
The Corona Dialogues will produce humanities-centered community discussions on the disparate impacts of Covid-19, including topics ranging from food access and healthcare to education and criminal justice; a “pandemic plan for change” that offers several options for civic engagement; and documentation of resulting community impacts. Scholars from three universities will curate humanities source materials, and facilitators will lead discussions using the Civic Reflection Dialogue method. 

Steam through History 
Cedar Lake Historical Association, Cedar Lake 
Awarded: $20,000 
The Cedar Lake Historical Association will partner with the Hesston Steam Museum to bring a historic steamboat to Cedar Lake for history tours. Activities will include rides on the boat; talks about the history of steam power and the science behind it; exhibitions and presentations on the lake’s natural history, its development as an early-20th-century resort, and its role in the broader history of the Calumet Region; and more. 

Indiana Humanities will announce 2021 grant opportunities and deadlines later this month. For more information about the grant program, contact George Hanlin at 317.616.9784