Humanities Tennessee Annual Report 2021-2022

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HumanitiesTennessee OurStories.OurState. 2021-2022AnnualReport


I am pleased to share this annual report with you on how Humanities Tennessee (HT) has impacted the State of Tennessee during the 2021-2022 fiscal year Like so many others, this time period found us anticipating the ‘other side’ of the pandemic a time when we could again gather safely. Didn’t it take longer than we all thought possible?

During such uncertainty, our staff and board continued to prioritize resources and support for Tennessee’s cultural organizations. We found creative ways to empower local libraries to feature live author readings through social media. Local volunteers mobilized to pursue neighborhood stories never-before explored. Organizations across the state put grant funds to use to save jobs, create new virtual programs, and document significant historical narratives. And, the Southern Festival of Books and Chapter16 org kept Tennesseans engaged with the literary work of our state and region Through such a challenging time, we pursued creative ways to stay connected, strengthened our team and programs, and helped amplify the work of Tennessee’s cultural sector

We also used this time to complete a new 5-year strategic plan, rooted in value outcomes to drive our work and guide our decision-making. With the guiding values of shared knowledge, empowerment, equity, civility, and community, we envision a future in which Tennesseans seek knowledge, share stories, and unite with empathy to create more connected communities.

HT will soon celebrate 50 years serving Tennesseans. We look forward to exploring the journey so far, hearing your stories and memories from programs past, and most especially, dreaming of what the cultural life and literature of Tennessee looks like in the years to come

We thank you for your support and invite your participation in the weeks, years, and decades ahead!


To foster community and civility in Tennessee through public programs and partnerships that examine and reflect upon ideas, stories, history, arts, and culture


11,000+participantsatvirtual SouthernFestivalofBook

500,000+peoplereached throughChapter16org

61Festivalsessions withmorethan 125authors

50+YoungWriters' Workshopstudents

4,000booksdistributed&3,500 studentsjoinedJasonReynolds liveinsideMinecraft

91SHARPAwards totaling$941,454

2Neighborhood StoryProjects


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Humanities Tennessee serves as the Tennessee affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book What does this designation mean for Tennesseans?

Through the multitude of HT's literary programs, we strive to promote books and libraries, literacy and reading We highlight Tennessee's literary heritage past and present and encourage the creation of new work. We're thrilled to spotlight just a few, of the many, programs that engaged the public with literary Tennessee throughout 2021-2022

On October 22, 2021, we presented a virtual Student Reader Day with Jason Reynolds, the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature 4,000 TN students received his book. On the morning of the big event, 3,500 students tuned in for a live broadcast that weaved together contributions from various schools: submitted questions, a student introduction, live student interviews (that took place, in part, inside the popular video game Minecraft!), teacher-submitted photos of participating schools and “responses to the work ” Our friend at the Library relayed that "Jason called it the "nerdiest fun he's had at an event!""

For the 2021 virtual Southern Festival of Books, we were happy to present programs through two special partnerships, in addition to the robust Festival schedule. The National Museum of African-American Music hosted Daniel de Visé for his book King of the Blues: The Rise and Reign of B.B. King. The museum curator, Steven Lewis, interviewed the author, and attendees were offered discounted tour tickets. We also continued our work with the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities at Vanderbilt on a themed track relating to climate change featuring multiple genres and topics, from poetry to environmental racism to fiction You can enjoy two years of recorded sessions on the Festival's YouTube channel @sofestofbooks.

After two years of a virtual experience, the Young Writers' Workshop returned to an in-person event. In partnership with East Tennessee State University we welcomed 50 rising 9th graders- recently graduated high school students for a week-long residency in Johnson City where they worked alongside peers and professional writers.

"Thank you for giving me the opportunity to not only improve my writing and learn new skills, but also the chance to learn about myself in a safe place and meet some really great new friends."

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SeekKnowledge. PROGRAMS



Touching nearly every corner of the state, the 2021-2022 grant-funded humanities programs helped 13 projects illuminate stories using a virtual reality film, community artist conversations (live and streaming), a new exhibit, classroom education kits, multi-week neighborhood history curriculum, and community mapping just to name a few.

Totaling more than $80,000 in funds awarded, HT's grant program inspires both local volunteer involvement and community investment. The impact of these programs could never be fully captured by one report. Therefore, we are expanding the grant archives pages on our website throughout 2023 to spotlight recipients and the difference they have made

The Antikythera Mechanism

Centennial Park Conservancy/Parthenon

Cultural Cross Ties

Contemporary Performing Arts of Chattanooga

Dunbar Cave State Park Virtual Cave Tour

Friends of Dunbar Cave

Black Arts in America

Global Education Center

"Her Story: The Women of Historic Castalian Springs"

Historic Cragfont

Songbirds Presents "The Impressions"

Songbirds Foundation

Tennessee 101: Women in the Progressive Era & Reconstruction to the Late 20th Century

Tennessee Historical Society

The Suffrage Movement in Children's Literature: A Traveling Lit Kit for Tennessee Teachers

University of Tennessee, Center for Children's and Young Adult Literature

Black in Appalachia - Kingsport

Friends of the Archives of the City of Kingsport

History Ambassadors Program

Memphis Film Works

Black Aesthetic, History, Equity, and Spirituality

Splash Youth Arts

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Mapping Coptic Nashville Elmahaba Center



When Congress passed the American Rescue Plan in March 2021, the goal was imbedded in the name. For Tennessee cultural organizations, having to close the doors for nearly two years resulted in lost revenue and jobs, uncertainty, and disconnection. What would it look like if some of our most vital community organizations no longer existed?

From the Heritage Alliance in northeast Tennessee to RISE Chattanooga, Cumberland River Compact and Wolf Gap in Middle TN, and Paris County Heritage Center and The Griot Collective of West Tennessee, just to name a few…who might we be without the work of these organizations in our communities? As much as the pandemic forced us to ponder that question, it also pushed us to collaborate on solutions.

In many ways, 2022 offered the first steps toward pandemic recovery and a glimpse of future opportunities. In January 2022, Humanities Tennessee awarded $941,454 of Congressionally appropriated funds to 91 organizations across the state to support their recovery and sustain future operations. The Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan (SHARP) funds were immediately put to use saving jobs, operating historical buildings, bringing programs to the community, and connecting people virtually and in-person.

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Humanities TN annually contributes staff time and/or funding to organizations doing public humanities programs throughout the state These collaborations and investments ensure that communities can participate in programs related to history, culture, literary, and cultural arts Together, we can accomplish more and reach more members of the community than any one organization may do alone

Our longest-standing collaboration with the Tennessee Historical Society began more than 20 years ago in support of Tennessee History Day. This educational program engages more than 7,000 grade 6-12 students annually with creative research and professional historians.

From October 2018-June 2022, HT toured the TNH2O exhibit to thirteen venues from Henning to Hawkins County. Designed as a follow-up to our tour of the Smithsonian’s Water Ways, TNH2O was created in partnership with the TN Historical Society and MTSU’s Al Gore Research Center to focus exclusively on Tennesseans and their water.

Libraries, parks, and museums hosted the exhibit, receiving more than $7,500 in Opportunity Grants for companion projects, selecting from among four options in our TNH2O Program Bureau, and reaching an audience of over 13,000 TNH2O provided relevant programming in rural places, brought the humanities to environmental organizations and their audiences, and reached seven organizations new to HT

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Mary Pom Claiborne, (Chair) Knoxville

James McKissic, (Vice Chair) Chattanooga

Daryl A. Carter, (Past Chair) Johnson City

April Alvarez, Sewanee

Peggy Burch, Memphis

Amy Elias, Knoxville

Lauren Fitzgerald, Smyrna

Julie Forkner, Oak Ridge

Courtney Gregg, Nashville

Mary Kennedy Hendershot, Sweetwater

Kathi Leatherwood, Jackson

Carol McCoy, Nashville

John Talbott, Henderson

Jennifer Triplett, Nashville

Jen Wheatley, Paris


Tim Henderson, Executive Director

Melissa Davis, Director, Grants & Public Programs

Jenny Fernandez, Development & Events Coordinator

Serenity Gerbman, Director, Literature & Language Programs

Paul McCoy, Deputy Director of Grants & Public Programs

Sandy Obodzinski, Development & Communications Director

Patrick Shaffner, Program Officer

Alexis Stevens, Director of Operations

Maria Browning, Editor, Chapter 16

Steven Fox, Community Engagement Officer, SHARP Grants


8 | Annual Report 2021-2022 SHARPGrants 548% Programs 26% Administrative 121% Development 71% FederalGrants 744% Individuals Foundations Corporations 114% OtherGovernment 9% InKind 25% Revenue:$2,336,721


In the midst of several anxious and disruptive years, Humanities Tennessee looked for creative opportunities and partnerships to help deliver meaningful humanities-based programming to our communities state-wide. On behalf of the board and staff of HT, I want to offer a very special “thank you” to the individuals and organizations who supported that work in the past year.

To all of you, our supporters, we acknowledge how much we rely on your contributions to extend the reach and the depth of these programs and how much we need them now. Thank you!


Lynn M. Alexander

Barbara Chadwick

Melanie and Randall D. Ford

Serenity Gerbman

Tim and Lauran Henderson

Dr Marilyn Kallet

Susan Kupisch

Patricia G Lane

The Honorable Carol McCoy

John and Gaye Patton

A. Warren Phillips

Sandra Schatten Foundation

Abby Trotter

Cal Turner

Joyce and Stephen Wood


Stephen M. Abelman and Robin Holab-Abelman

April R. Alvarez


Jeannette Brown

Luda Davies

Melissa Davis

Barbara Enkema

The Jane and Richard Eskind and Family Foundation

The Steven & Laurie Eskind Family Foundation

Stanley E. and Sara K. Graber

Natalie L. Haslam

Mary K. Hendershot

Roberta T. Herrin

Kathi Leatherwood

Alexis and Paul McCoy

Sandra McLeroy

Margaret Renkl

Faye Rivers

Ken Roberts

Victoria O. Ross

Jennifer Triplett

Ron Watson and Jeffrey Corvin

Karen E and Randy Williams

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THANK YOU to the following individuals and organizations who made our work possible.

GIFTS OF $250-$499

Clare C. Armistead

Grace Awh

The Blum Family Foundation

Maria Browning

Patsy Q. Carson

Daryl A. Carter

Barbara Chazen

Karen B Davis

Ann B Egerton

Cynthia Ezell

Beth Fortune

Ann Wilson Green

Kay Johnson

Karen Litterer

Jesilee Northington

Sandy Obodzinski

Kimberly Quillen

Nancy Rankin

Helen Robbins Ellis

Bobby Rogers

Melissa M. and Philip R. Russ

Daniel Sharfstein

Kathryn A. Stephenson

Alexis Stevens

Kate Stone

Byron Trauger

GIFTS OF $100-$249

Rosalyn H. Anderson

Linda-Marie Barrett

Barri Bernstein

Roger and Martha P. Bishop

Richard Blackett

Charles Borders

Mary Ann Buehler

Peggy Burch

Tina Foster Caldwell

Mary Cavarra

Shuly Cawood

Barbara Cobb

Chase Cole

Hunter Crabtree

Amy P. Dietrich

Jenny Fernandez

Kimball S. Ford

Julie Forkner

Joe F. Fowlkes

Stephen G. Fritz

Mary Belle Ginanni

Connie J. and Richard C. Green

Elizabeth Gregory

Diane H Harvey

Karen H and L Frank Hutton

Ronald Kidd

Susan W Knowles

Matthew Leung

Michael and Ellen Levitt

Andrea O. E. Lindsey

Randy Mackin

Katie McDougall

James H. McKissic

Ann Miller

James David Miller

Terry Minnen

Donald Moore

Scott Newstok

Joseph and Keri Pagetta

David and Diana Revell

Bo Roberts

Howard Ross

Ingrid Scharpf

Laura H. Schmink

Julie Schoerke

Bradley Sides

Vivian L. Sims

Michael Strickland

Michael Toomey

Jinx Watson

Judith Wenzel

James O and Ruth B White

Marianne Worthington

Jane and Bill Young

Michael and Margaret B. Zibart

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Amanda Adams

James E. Akenson

Stephen V. and Jean C. Ash

Donna R. and Ralph I. Barr

Katrin Bean

Linda Behrend

Betty Bellamy

Lawrence Beron

John Blanton

Kathryn Boehm

Karen A. Bowyer

Russelle Bradbury

Carol C. Brewer

Lois L. Brown

Susan Brown

KB Canestrari

Esther Davenport

Fay L. Delk

Sandy DeWald

Kathleen Dietz

Patricia Dillon

Jane DuBose

Patricia Dykstra

William Edington

Lee Fairbend

Paula Fowler

Phyllis and Stanley P Frank

David Friedlander

Doug Gamble

Pat Gosch

Jesse Graves

Bill Guy

Leisa A. Hammett

Allison Hammond

Georganne Harmon

Jerrilyn Hobdy

Diane Honda

Carol Hubbard

Ronald Humble

Margie Hunter

Julia Huskey

William Kornrich

Kim H. and Robert J. Looney

David and Roberta Madden

Jane Marcellus

James E and Judy McFarland

Alice Merritt

Shirlene L. Morgan

Margaret S. Norris

Tonie Osborne

Joe T. Porter

Angie and Mitch

Richard R. Ranta

Kristy Robinson

Stella Rodenberg

Brian Sallade

Julie K. Sandine

Jenness Schuhma

Danielle Scruton

Phyllis and L Ray

Maggie Selvidge

Patrick Shaffner

Deborah Smith

Natalie Smith

Lacy Snapp

Jane Snyder

Alice Marie Starks

Ann and Hix Stubblefield

Edward T. Sullivan

Bonnie Tinsley

Barbara S. Turner

Corinne Van Buren

Lola White

F. Clark Williams

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HumanitiesTennessee HumanitiesTN Humanities TN HumanitiesTennessee Corporate,Foundation&PublicAgencySupport IN-KIND SUPPORT P.O.Box60467 Nashville,TN37206 (615)770-0006
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