When it comes to Indiana Humanities grants, I’m sort of like Joni Mitchell—I’ve looked at grants from both sides now.
Several years ago I was helping to lead a small group that was working to preserve and promote the history of the neighborhoods on Indianapolis’ near-east side. We didn’t have many resources, but we were committed to our community and telling its story.
In 2005 we decided to create a walking brochure of East Tenth Street, the neighborhoods’ commercial hub. While we had raised some money to support our work, we certainly didn’t have enough on hand to produce the caliber of materials we had in mind.
That’s where Indiana Humanities comes in.
Our history group applied for and received a Historic Preservation Education Grant for $2,000 from Indiana Humanities in conjunction with Indiana Landmarks. To some that may not sound like much money, but for us it was a lot; it supplemented our volunteer efforts, helping us to design and print a high-quality brochure. And though perhaps it wasn’t the most original way to tell our story, the brochure was popular, going through at least two printings.
Now, as the newly appointed Director of Grants at Indiana Humanities, I get to look at things from the perspective of the one giving out the money.
Though I’m still learning about our storied grants program, I’ve seen evidence of some important (and often creative) projects—like the group in South Bend who developed a driving tour of the city’s historic cemetery on CD. Or the Embassy Theater in Fort Wayne teaching preschool children about historic preservation by studying shapes in the lobby. Or Traditional Arts Indiana creating a multifaceted exhibit showcasing the diverse people of Indiana, past and present, who have been or are carrying on important cultural traditions.
I have experienced firsthand the value of Indiana Humanities grants, and now I see just how much they mean to people across the state. It’s a great joy for me to be a part of this program.
We’ll be giving out more grant money late this summer through our Humanities Initiative Grant program. The deadline for application in August 1. If you have in mind a humanities-related project that will benefit your community, I encourage you to apply. Learn more on our website or call me at 317.638.1500, ext. 128. I’ll be glad to tell you about the program—from the perspective of someone who has been on both the receiving end and now the giving side.