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SDHC Awards $60K in Grants

July 9, 2022

Several grant recipients from left to right: Lakota Youth Development, South Dakota Shakespeare Festival (2), South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum

From Shakespeare to skateboarding, the humanities infuse events going on around the state this summer and fall. The South Dakota Humanities Council has awarded $60,759 to organizations providing humanities programs for South Dakotans.

The board of directors of the statewide non-profit, whose sole mission is to deliver humanities programming to South Dakotans, approved the grant applications of seven organizations at its latest board meeting.

Successful applicants submit projects led by humanities professionals and feature humanities as a central focus of their program, event, or research project. The following organizations received awards.

  • South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum in Brookings received $9,961 for “The Dust Bowl: Design/Build Phase.” When completed, this traveling exhibit will tell the story of the Dust Bowl through the photography and poetry of former South Dakota state soil scientist Joseph Hutton. As the drought that turned the topsoil into violent dust storms that blackened the sky in the 1920s and 1930s, Hutton was on the front lines documenting, with his camera, the devastation that led to an exodus of many farmers. He expressed the need for conservation through poetry and his radio program. Learn more at
  • Lakota Youth Development in Herrick received $4,375 for “Traditional Healing During and Recovering from the COVID Pandemic – A Lakota Culture Symposium.” This project, held June 12 in person and on Zoom, gathered elders, knowledge keepers, herbalists, and community members from across Lakota Country to engage in a conversation about traditional health systems and medicines. Speakers discussed how to practice Lakota spirituality and how to integrate traditional medicines into modern life during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery. Learn more at
  • Levitt at the Falls in Sioux Falls received $10,000 for “Innoskate 2022,” with activities in Sioux Falls and Pine Ridge. Levitt at the Falls is collaborating with the Smithsonian American History Museum’s Lemelson Center for Invention and Innovation, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the USA Skateboarding Federation (USA Olympic and Paralympic teams) and members of the Oglala Lakota Nation to produce the Innoskate festival. Discussions and live concerts will examine the deep connections between music, skateboarding, creativity, and innovation. Professional and Olympic skateboarders, inventors, scientists, artists, and local community leaders will engage audiences through a variety of demonstrations, conversations, and hands-on activities that explore the impact of skateboarding innovations in American culture. Learn more at
  • Lost&Found in Sioux Falls received $10,000 for “This is What Resilience Looks Like: #30Days30Stories 2022.” Building on its successful #30Days30Stories campaign during National Suicide Prevention Month in 2021, Lost&Found will once again share the stories of 31 youth and young adults from South Dakota who have discovered resources, resilience, and hope in the face of impacts from mental health conditions and suicide in their communities. “This is What Resilience Looks Like: #30Days30Stories” will use digital media (a landing page, social media platforms, and a podcast) and community events throughout the state to highlight the current needs for suicide prevention statewide and the hope to be found in shared stories. Learn more at
  • University of South Dakota Wegner Health Sciences Center in Sioux Falls received $10,000 for “Speaking of Health: A Pilot Speaker Series Featuring Health Humanities Books and Authors.” This project combines readings, discussions, and speaker events with the goal of making critical health humanities topics more accessible to South Dakotans, from medical students and health professionals to the public. Through a series of common readings, participants will consider differing perspectives on health humanities and the ways that these insights might apply to their own lives and communities. Author and book choices will be purposely diverse, selected to appeal to the broadest possible audience. Learn more at
  • Black Hills State University English Department in Spearfish received $9,423 for “Spring Sowings: A 6-Week Free Verse Poetry Virtual Workshop.” This virtual workshop for beginning to advanced poets of South Dakota culminated in a public, virtual poetry reading and discussion on June 18. Writers received instruction in the reading and interpretation of lyric and free verse poetry, studied the craft of poetry to produce up to five original poem drafts, participated in group discussion of peer writings, received extensive written feedback on their work, and discussed and read their poems during the closing event. Learn more at
  • South Dakota Shakespeare Festival in Vermillion received $7,000 for “2022 South Dakota Shakespeare Festival.” The 11th season of free Shakespeare performances and arts education programs in southeast South Dakota included four full-length performances of Shakespeare’s “Othello” June 16-19 in Vermillion’s Prentis Park. SDSF also facilitated a variety of discussions and educational outreach programs, strengthening community partnerships that include the Minnehaha Juvenile Detention Center, Sanford Care Center, Upward Bound, Sesdac, University of South Dakota, Vermillion Public Library, National Music Museum, and area schools. Programs were offered live and via digital platforms. Learn more at

South Dakota Humanities Council, a non-profit organization founded in 1972, delivers humanities programming to South Dakotans. As a steward of the state’s heritage, the Council promotes the exchange of ideas to foster a thoughtful and engaged society and the appreciation of South Dakota history, literature, and the humanities. The council works through grant-making and cultural programs, including the South Dakota Festival of Books and One Book South Dakota.

For information about SDHC grant opportunities, visit the Grants page.

Learn more about humanities programming in South Dakota by signing up for SDHC e-Updates!