Humanities Nebraska

$10,000 grant to support Humanities Nebraska Core Programming

Humanities Nebraska (HN) produces and supports many different programs each year, serving thousands of people of all ages. From encouraging high school students to examine global issues, to building literacy in underserved families. The funding provided for several Humanities Nebraska mainstays, including Prime Time Family Reading Time, Capitol Forum on America’s Future and Community Conversations. Prime Time Family Reading Time is designed for low-income families in communities where student-reading scores do not meet state standards. Capitol Forum provides an in-depth civic education and engagement program to high school students, and Community Conversations to encourage interactive dialogue for adults of all ages in non-traditional venues.

Nebraska Folklife Network

$8,000 grant to support the Folklife of Nebraska Landscapes through a Fieldwork Survey of Traditional Artists

The Nebraska Folklife Network (NFN) was established to foster, sustain, and increase awareness of Nebraska’s living cultural heritage. Cooper Foundation supported a fieldwork survey project to document traditional artists and culture bearers in western Nebraska, showcasing the rich cultural diversity of the state. NFN chose Natural Resource Districts as a geographic focus in order to discover any existing connections between the landscapes in which people live and the types of traditional art they create or perform. Over 30 traditional artists were interviewed and videotaped, representing a variety of arts and crafts, including: bluegrass and old time music, clock making, saddle making, silversmithing, western hat making, spinning and weaving, quilting, wheat weaving, cattle auction bid calling, mule driving, taxidermy, traditional Mexican dance, Lakota beadwork, Greek, Japanese and Volga German foodways, Greek religious traditions, Japanese needlework and paper crafts, hooked rug making, fur trapping, and dowsing (water-witching).

Nebraska Writers Collective

$15,000 grant towards Louder Than a Bomb, the Great Plains Youth Poetry Festival

Louder Than a Bomb: the Great Plains Youth Poetry Festival (LTAB), is the largest youth poetry festival in the region, serving thousands of middle and high school students at 42 high schools, middle schools, and youth organizations throughout Nebraska and western Iowa. The goals of the program include increasing students’ feelings of self-worth and empowerment, fostering communication and understanding within a diverse community, increasing student academic achievement, and providing employment opportunities to local poets as teaching artists.

LTAB includes introductory workshops for students and develops teams with 8-10 students each who work with teachers/mentors over 8 months. Over 4,000 high school students in Nebraska and Iowa attend introductory workshops, and those who continue on in the full program form teams of 8-10 students. They work after school with talented teaching artists and world-renowned touring artists who provide 50-100+ hours of mentoring in the art of performance poetry, helping students achieve mastery of the form and develop a lifelong appreciation for the written and performing arts. Thousands of students and community members attend performances from those teams at school assemblies, tournament bouts, and the Team and Individual Finals events.

“LTAB: Great Plains is an exercise in personal empowerment and community building through the creation and shared performance of original poetry. It is a response to students no longer having the opportunity for creative self-expression, and whose voices are increasingly marginalized by test-driven school curricula. It is an attempt to re-establish a sense of belonging in a world that is increasingly divisive and comprised of insular groups. And it is a powerful tool for retaining talented artists in our community and attracting talented artists to our community by helping them make their living by practicing their art.” – Matt Mason, Nebraska Writers Collective

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