Humanities New York (HNY) today announced more than $360,000 in ARP Act funding to 43 New York cultural nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. HNY “SHARP” (Sustaining the Humanities Through the American Rescue Plan) Action Grants, which range from $5,000 to $10,000, provide implementation funds for humanities projects that serve audiences throughout New York. These grants support honoraria for humanities experts, staff time, space rental, marketing, and other expenses for projects that respond to community needs and interests.
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer applauded these new awards, saying, “As Majority Leader, I was proud to champion and pass the American Rescue Plan, which provides this funding for New York’s cultural nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic did not extinguish our thirst for cultural education and this critical funding will strengthen New York’s rich cultural and local history for some time to come.”
HNY reviewed nearly 200 applications from cultural organizations requesting almost $1.8 million in funding. Just over 22 percent of applicants were funded. HNY prioritized equitable grantmaking by considering geographic location, mission, and the importance of reaching underresourced communities in its funding decisions.
Timothy Murray, Chair, said from Ithaca that he was “highly impressed by the quality of the humanities projects that cultural organizations have developed amidst the pandemic” and he applauds “the efforts of cultural workers to use the humanities to promote dialogue and connection — even as gathering in person remains a challenge.”
Grantee organizations will explore a range of topics and themes, from the history of silent film to the community response to the AIDS crisis. Several projects harness the power of storytelling to amplify marginalized voices and promote dialogue. Drawing on its oral history archive, the Coney Island History Project will produce a second season of its popular podcast, Coney Island Stories. Also in New York City, DE-CRUIT will use the works of William Shakespeare to foster conversations between military veterans and civilians.
Three grant projects aim to increase awareness and understanding of Native American history and culture. The Seneca Nation of Indians will implement a “Cultural Sensitivity Enhancement Project.” Over the course of four presentations, Dr. Joe Stahlman, the director of the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum, will trace the generational trauma that the Seneca have experienced and overcome. In Corning, Seven Generations of Stewards will host the Native Nations Festival. The 2022 festival will have a special focus on Native foodways and nutrition. The Hurleyville Performing Arts Centre, located in the Mid-Hudson region, will host an Indigenous Women’s Voices Summit, celebrating contemporary Indigenous women-identified artists and scholars and sparking dialogue on Indigenous history and leadership through a month of programs and public discussions.
Highlighting local Black history is the focus of five grants. In the Southern Tier, Corning Painted Post Historical Society will work with Black community leaders to create a new interpretative plan for the 225-year-old Benjamin Patterson Inn. In the Finger Lakes, the Center for Teen Empowerment will develop “Clarissa Uprooted: Intergenerational History Ambassadors Exhibit” to share stories about a once-thriving African-American residential, cultural, and business community in Rochester’s Third Ward.
View the full list of grants awarded.
HNY has a demonstrated track record of distributing emergency and recovery support. This special Action Grant round supplements $1.2 million in SHARP operating support that HNY awarded to 120 cultural partners earlier this fall. In 2020, HNY awarded nearly $1 million in CARES grants to 197 organizations across the state.
By sustaining the cultural sector, these funds bolster New York State’s civic infrastructure and its economy—in 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that the arts and culture sector contributed $119.9 billion to New York’s economy, representing 7.8% of the state’s GDP and 466,926 jobs. More recently, the Economic Impact of Coronavirus on the Arts and Culture Sector Survey from Americans for the Arts shows over $338 million in pandemic-related losses to date for New York State.
“To ensure that recovery funding reaches diverse institutions, HNY prioritizes its resources to smaller organizations,” stated Sara Ogger, Executive Director. “These partners are creative, nimble, and responsive to the needs of their audiences. SHARP funds will help sustain them as they chart a way forward.”
About Humanities New York:
Using dialogue, reflection, and critical thinking, Humanities New York applies the humanities to strengthen democratic society. Established in 1975 as the state aliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Humanities New York is a private 501(c)(3) organization that may receive federal, state, and private funding.
About SHARP: HNY SHARP (Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan) is made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities via the federal American Rescue Plan Act.