Innovation in cultural and humanities-based programming continues to grow across the state, and Wyoming Humanities is proud to announces that it has provided thousands of dollars in Spark Grants and general sponsorships to several organizations across the state during the past four months.
Projects are selected based on communities’ needs and programs designed to spark new insights and perspectives. Funding is provided by the state of Wyoming through the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources. Grantees, who receive up to $2,000 with this opportunity, provide equal or greater matching funds and in-kind contributions. WYH grants generate significant social and economic impact five times greater than state funding.
The latest Spark Grant recipients are:
• Alliance for Historic Wyoming, Showcasing Preservation of Historic Mining Sites: This project showcased an ongoing historic preservation project to restore and interpret the Lemley Mill and the Miner's Delight Cabin in the South Pass Historic Mining District, including a webinar exploring the preservation projects and a tour of the two project sites to see the preservation work already accomplished.
• Big Horn Basin Nature & Discovery Center Joint Powers Board, Wyoming Discovery Days Folk Festival: This two-day festival demonstrated Wyoming’s unique folk life and folk art, while teaching the importance of preserving our culture and heritage, including a tribute to Willie LeClair. In a heritage rich with western history, visitors came away with a clearer understanding of who we are, what we do and where we live and where we come from.
• Colorado Chamber Orchestra, Environmental Humanities: Pop-Up Operas: These two short, pop-up operas ask serious questions in an inviting and accessible manner about environmental ethics, with the premiere performances taking place in Laramie before performing at the Teton Valley Arts Festival. The focus of the project is the environmental humanities, but it also draws on literature and religion.
• Grace United Methodist Church, Exploring Our Implicit Bias with Native Americans: Through introducing concepts, the program fostered dialogue to help participants explore their own biases around race, culture, and privilege. The goal was to practice dialogue around difficult topics so that participants are better equipped for civic engagement.
• Vista 360, Exploring Wyoming’s Cowboy Artisan Traditions: This multi-day event provided an opportunity to educate and increase appreciation for, Wyoming traditional cowboy artisans to assure perpetuation of these traditions – past, present and future.
• Jackson Hole Writers, Historical Writing Workshop with Robert Righter and Sherry Smith: This in-person writing workshop educated local writers on how to better incorporate primary viewpoints and thorough research into their historical narratives, giving local writers access to new knowledge and skills they might not otherwise have access to learning. The workshop was conducted by two professional historians, who discussed writing processes involved in creating historical narratives.
• Nicolaysen Art Museum, Archival Support: Vital to safeguarding and promoting the cultural heritage of the museum, this project required that the museum purchase software and transfer permanent collection records of thousands of pieces to the cloud. The newly-hired specialist is expected to play a crucial role in sorting through a vast collection of documents and ensuring their long-term preservation to the benefit of students, academics, professors, and the general public.
• Sunrise Historic and Prehistoric Preservation Society, Exploring the Earliest Cultures in the Americas: Experts from South American collaborated on research at the rare and highly significant Powars II Paleoindian red ochre mine. While here, they made public presentations about their work and about the cultures in their home countries and how it compares with ours in the U.S.
• Theatre of the Poor, Reintroducing Senator Preston Plumb, Rediscovering “The Senator”: The program addressed various themes, including history, theatre history, politics and political figures as portrayed in the play “The Senator,” written in the 1880s. This history is also featured in an exhibit at the Fort Caspar Museum. Scholars discussed the real senator’s life and how he advocated for the Wyoming territory.
• Wyoming Wool Growers Association, Wyoming Sheep & Wool Festival 2023: Featuring arts, educational and cultural programming that celebrates Wyoming’s sheep and wool heritage, the festival provided the public with opportunities to meet the sheep and shepherds on the migration trail, view sheep wagons, attend art and woolcraft shows, watch demonstrations, and dance to live music. Attendees discovered how such a small domestic animal so greatly benefited humankind.
For more information about Wyoming Humanities and its grants or sponsorship opportunities, visit thinkwy.org/grants.