2019 Major Grant awards

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MHC Major Grants support a variety of larger humanities projects such as exhibits, conferences, films, and other initiatives.

$3,800 for “A Celebration of Local Native American History, Culture, and Heritage– Presque Isle Community Development Association

  • In recognition of National Native American Heritage Month, Presque Isle Community Development Association is partnering with the Arookstook band of Micmacs, the City of Presque Isle, and other local organizations to celebrate the local Native American Tribe with a variety of exhibits, lectures, workshops, and performances in November 2019.


$5,000 for “Indigo Arts Alliance Launch and Film Celebration– SPACE, Portland

  • Indigo Arts Alliance, an initiative to make a space by and for artists of African descent, is launching its inaugural programming at SPACE. This includes a film and discussion series in May 2019 along with other programming intended to spread awareness of contemporary issues in film.


$4,500 for “The First Coast: Jonesport-Beals Soundwalk and Exhibit– Fractured Atlas

  • This immersive, multi-sensory, site-specific audio tour, spanning from East to West Jonesport, ME, will bring the community together to celebrate, contemplate, and critique stories of the towns. A team of guides will leads a tour that transports the listener through space and time and through stories of the past, present, and future. A final culminating event will be held in October 2019.


$5,000 for “Climate Change in the Gulf of Maine: An Orchestral Exploration– Maine Discovery Museum, Bangor

  • The Maine Science Museum is commissioning The Warming Sea, a symphonic piece from Grammy-award winning composer Lucas Richmann that provides a musical exploration of the effects of climate change in the Gulf of Maine. A performance of this piece, created through a collaboration with scientists and students, is the 2020 Maine Science Festival’s Headliner Event.


$2,500 for “Maine Statehood and Bicentennial Conference”– University of Maine, Orono

  • In the Spring of 2019, the University of Maine is holding the Maine Bicentennial Conference which combines multiple scholarly and Public Humanities programs on the University’s Orono campus. This grant will provide support for public engagement activities that directly target participation of grade 6-12 students and teachers as well as local historical societies.


$4,000 for “Risky Business: Square Rigged-Ships and Salted Fish Exhibition and Catalog– Castine Historical Society

  • This exhibition for the 2019-2020 seasons will focus on new research surrounding the economic and social factors of transporting cargo around the world in Castine-built ships from 1820-1870. The exhibit will feature documentary evidence of the many risk factors involved in sea voyages at a time when maritime business activity in Castine was at its height.


$3,500 for “Tuesday’s with Morrie: Dialogue About the End of Life– Center Theatre for the Performing Arts, Dover-Foxcroft

  • In partnership with Pine Tree Hospice, Center Theatre will run summer 2019 theatrical productions of Tuesdays with Morrie, both at the Theater in Dover-Foxcroft and at Greenville High School. The performances will serve as a vehicle for facilitated discussions with the audience around end-of-life issues and loss.


$1,500 for “Rediscovering R.L. Stevenson”s Treasure Island in Literature and Theatre” – Maine State Music Theatre, Brunswick

  • In the summer of 2019 Maine State Music Theatre will presents the east coast premiere of Treasure Island, partnering with Curtis, Topsham, and Patten Public Libraries to make editions of the book available to a wide audience. The partnership will also offer public book discussions and create study guides and online reading lists.


$3,500 for “Digital Learning at the Abbe Museum and wolankeyutomon” – Abbe Museum, Bar Harbor

  • Abbe Museum staff will work with scholars and practitioners to expand digital access to humanities resources drawing on the museum’s current exhibit “wolankeyutomon: Take Care of Everything,” which highlights Wabanki voices and perspectives while examining the cultural, political, and environmental impacts of Wabanaki waterways both historically and in the present.


$3,000 for “Bounty” – Center for the Independent Documentary, Boston

  • Upstander’s project, Bounty, focuses on the hidden history of scalp bounty proclamations, particularly in New England. Funding supports research and development of educational materials to accompany a short film sharing modern day reactions to the proclamation by some members of the Penobscot Nation.


$4,000 for “Molly Spotted Elk: A Penobscot in Paris” – Penobscot Theatre Company, Bangor

  • Penobscot Theatre Company has commissioned a new play about the life of Mary Spotted Elk, a 20th Century Penobscot performing artist. The theatre is working with Penobscot playwright Maulian Dana to develop a script and host a developmental workshop in the spring of 2019 as well as a staged reading on Indian Island in August.


$3,000 for “Integrated Education, Artistic Development, and Community Dance Party Series” – Maine Center for Electronic Music, Portland

  • Created by a diverse group of artists for local communities historically excluded from mainstream art and historical canons, this initiative creates a monthly series of workshops and events exploring various forms of dance, dance music, and their historical and cultural context.


$1,500 for “Engaging New Audiences Through Translation” – Portland Stage

  • Portland Stage will provide show synopses from the 2019-2020 season for non-native English speakers in Arabic, French, and Portuguese as a part of their initiative to engage wider audiences. This project will also engage interpreters in existing discussion series and meetings for community groups serving Portland’s immigrant community.


$3,000 for “Points North Agora: Nonfiction Media in the Post-Truth Era” – Points North Institute, Camden

  • This series of public conversations at the Camden International Film Festival will examine the role of nonfiction storytelling in our current media landscape. Points North Agora engages filmmakers, media artists, journalists, scholars, students, and educators in a discussion of the changing nature of reality-based media-making, helping to build media literacy and informed citizenship.


$3,000 for “Inside Dance: Broadening Audience Engagement at the Bates Dance Festival” – Bates College, Lewiston

  • In July and August of 2019, Bates Dance Festival will host three scholars-in-residence to lead community discussions throughout central Maine, participate in the podcast Inside Dance, and create a portfolio of critical writing.


$3,000 for “Exhibition, Documentary, and Catalog Production for Multiple Exhibitions – Creative Portland

  • This grant supports the production of short documentary films about two significant, but often overlooked, Maine artists: Abby Shahn and Henry Wolyniec. Supporting materials, public viewings and discussions of their work and cultural importance are included in this year-long series.


$3,000 for “Dying to Know: Deepening our Experience with Death – Unity of Greater Portland, Windham

  • Unity of Greater Portland is offering a six-session program in the spring 2019 to prompt dialogue and a better understanding of death and dying. This program also includes three film screenings and a panel discussion.


$3,000 for “The Diseased Ship “ – Atlantic Black Box, Portland

  • A podcast from Atlantic Black Box, The Diseased Ship explores New England’s central role in the slave trade and slave economy. This grant supports the creation of two episodes, a trailer, and public events promoting the series launch.