SDHC Funds Eight Grant Projects Totaling $36K

Funding Distributed for Projects Taking Place After Dec. 1

The South Dakota Humanities Council awarded grants for eight humanities-based research and discussion programs that will be launched in the coming months.

The board of directors of the statewide non-profit, whose sole mission is to deliver humanities programs to South Dakotans, distributed $36,000 at its latest board meeting for programs taking place after Dec. 1, 2019. Successful applicants involve humanities professionals and include the humanities as a central focus of their program, event or research project. Grant requests for more than $1,000 are considered twice a year; the next deadline is Feb. 28 for programs after May 1, 2020. Requests under $1,000 are considered on a rolling basis. 

South Dakota Poet Laureate Christine Stewart at the South Dakota Festival of Books.

South Dakota Poet Laureate Christine Stewart at the South Dakota Festival of Books.

South Dakota State University Department of English in Brookings received $3,350 for "South Dakota in Poems: An Anthology." As South Dakota Poet Laureate, Christine Stewart will edit "South Dakota in Poems: An Anthology," which features poems by South Dakotans about the people, landscapes, and cultural life of our state. The South Dakota State Poetry Society (SDSPS) will publish this book, and Dr. Stewart will use this anthology to promote the reading and writing of poetry across the state in her four-year tenure as poet laureate. Any profit made from the sale of the anthology will be reinvested in SDSPS and used to off-set the travel and promotion expenses of the South Dakota Poet Laureate. Stewart will launch the anthology at the SDHC's South Dakota Festival of Books Oct. 2-4, 2020 in Brookings and will host additional readings and workshops across the state throughout the rest of the year.


Historic Adams House in Deadwood.

Historic Adams House in Deadwood received an SDHC grant to update its tour script.

Deadwood History Inc. in Deadwood was awarded $4,253 for "Historic Adams House Tour Script," which will fund the creation of a new tour script for the Historic Adams House. The current script is 20 years old; since its publication much information about the house, the contents, and the residents has been discovered and will be crafted into a script that is lively, informative, engaging, and entertaining, giving visitors to the Historic Adams House an unforgettable experience. In addition, a public program (date and time TBA) will be offered to describe the script-writing process and what visitors can expect when they take a tour at the house as presented with the new script.


2018 Young Readers author Kara LaReau speaks at the Washington Pavilion, which just received an SDHC grant for its Performance Insights program.

2018 Young Readers author Kara LaReau speaks at the Washington Pavilion, which just received an SDHC grant for its Performance Insights program.

Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science in Sioux Falls was awarded $1,320 for "Performance Insights at the Washington Pavilion" lecture series hosted by the Washington Pavilion, where patrons gather for conversation with local scholars about the history and significance of the presented performances. Hosted by Dr. Clinton Desmond and Mr. Eric Parrish in the Jerstad Gallery of the Pavilion's Visual Arts Center 45 minutes before each performance, these events are free and open to the public and will serve an estimated 1,650 patrons. Performance Insights began as a small gathering of devoted followers and, with the support of SDHC, has blossomed into one of the largest arts-based discussion programs in the state. Unless indicated otherwise, all presentations will take place at 6:45 p.m. Discussion Topics TBD.

  • "The Color Purple" - Three performances: Jan. 14-16, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.
  • "A Bronx Tale" - Three Performances: Feb. 8 and 10, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 9 at 2 p.m. (1:15 p.m. Performance Insights)
  • "An American in Paris" - One Performance on Feb. 14, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.
  • "Rent" - Two Performances: Feb. 25 and 26, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.
  • "Waitress" - Three Performances: March 9-11, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.
  • "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical" - Four Performances: April 30-May 2 at 7:30 p.m.; May 2 at 2 p.m. (1:15 p.m. Performance Insights)

Black Hills Community Theatre received an SDHC grant for an upcoming reading and discussion series.

Black Hills Community Theatre received an SDHC grant for an upcoming reading and discussion series.

Black Hills Community Theatre in Rapid City received $3,200 for "Black Hills Community Theatre Play Reading & Discussion Series." The 2020 Play Reading & Discussion Series consists of three separate evenings of play readings followed by discussions led by scholars who will conduct interactive civil conversations on issues such as family relationships, sexuality, work, community, grief and violence. All three plays will be read at the Performing Arts Center of Rapid City in the Studio Theater. All readings begin at 7:30 p.m. The plays and performance dates are Jan. 10, Feb. 21 and May 22.


SDSU Department of Architecture in Brookings was awarded $6,939 to hold a symposium about building relationships between arts and labor.

SDSU Department of Architecture in Brookings was awarded a $6,939 SDHC grant to hold a symposium about building relationships between arts and labor.

SDSU Department of Architecture in Brookings was awarded $6,939 for "Building Arts and Labor: Connecting Craft in South Dakota." The grant will fund the "Building Arts and Labor Symposium" at SDSU aimed at reconnecting two groups: those who work in the history, criticism and theory of architecture, and those who work in the building trades themselves. A divide has developed between the two groups and it has reconfigured the crafts and their relationship to the politics of labor, eliminating relationships between architects and the trades. The symposium's focus on the history, theory, and criticism of labor in architecture and construction will promote discourse among the academy, the trades, the architectural profession, and labor-based organizations in South Dakota through the humanities. The program will be held Sept. 21 at 8:30 a.m. at SDSU's Volstorff Ballroom.


Dakota State University in Madison is a recent SDHC grantee.

Dakota State University in Madison is a recent SDHC grantee. 

Dakota State University Department of English in Madison received $5,720 for "South Dakota Writers Series," a series of readings featuring poets and writers who are from, currently living in, or who spent a meaningful part of their careers in South Dakota, and who have recently published significant work. Writers will travel to Madison and offer two readings during a visit: the first will be on the campus of Dakota State University, and the second at the Madison Area Arts Council (MAAC) "Brick House," which features visual, text, and performing artists for the Madison and surrounding communities, and is the oldest arts council in the state. South Dakota writers being featured at the events (free and open to the public) include:  

  • Pen Pearson, author of “Bloomsbury’s Late Rose,” a work of historical fiction about the Victorian poet Charlotte Mew. Pearson will do readings on Tuesday, March 3, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
  • Brian Bedard, former South Dakota resident, will do a reading of his South Dakota-based short stories on Wednesday, April 1 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
  • Dr. Joseph Bottum, DSU associate professor of philosophy, author of “The Decline of the Novel” and past Festival of Books presenter, will do a reading on Tuesday, April 21 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Three more readings will be held this fall featuring Christine Stewart, South Dakota’s current poet laureate and author of “Bluewords Greening” and “Untrussed”; Lee Ann Roripaugh, former South Dakota poet laureate, author of “Tsunami vs. the Fukushima 50: poems”; and John Nelson, author of poetry chapbook “West River."


Rapid City Public Schools Foundation received $3,900 from SDHC for “Indigenous Poetry Workshops – April Poetry Month.”

Rapid City Public Schools Foundation received $3,900 from SDHC for "Indigenous Poetry Workshops – April Poetry Month."

Rapid City Public Schools Foundation in Rapid City was awarded $3,900 for "Indigenous Poetry Workshops – April Poetry Month." The Department of Diversity, Equity, and Outreach for Indian Education at Rapid City Area Schools will use the funding to bring a series of indigenous poets to the Rapid City Area School district during the month of April (Poetry Month). They will host writing workshops and then host a reading event at Rapid Central High School for the indigenous writers who attended the various workshops in the schools. All parents and students will be invited to the event, which will take place in April 2020.


SDSU received a grant to host Bill McKibben for its Harding Lecture.

SDSU received a grant to host Bill McKibben for its Harding Lecture.

SDSU School of Communication and Journalism in Brookings received $7,000 for "Bill McKibben Harding Lecture." McKibben is an essayist, journalist and environmentalist (and as of 2017, when he published Radio Free Vermont, a novelist) who has published 18 books, many of which warn that environmental catastrophes will occur if citizens fail to respond to climate change. McKibben's lecture is entitled "Our Changing Climate: A Global Movement of Reform." In addition to this evening event, McKibben will offer a daytime talk to invited guests — including faculty and students from sponsoring and interested departments — and sign books after the evening lecture, which takes place April 13 at 7 p.m. at Larson Concert Hall, Performing Arts Center in Brookings.

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