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Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation Announces Three Lowcountry Collections Projects To Be Funded by Grant Initiative

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The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation (the Foundation)—which  supports land conservation, artistic vitality, and regional collections for the people of the Lowcountry  region of South Carolina and Chicago—is proud to announce the 11 recipients of the Foundation’s groundbreaking “Broadening Narratives” initiative, which aims to fund specific collections projects that bring forward underrepresented stories.  

This announcement represents the second round of organizations to receive the Broadening Narratives grant. The projects collectively illustrate BIPOC communities, LGBTQ+ perspectives, working-class narratives, small community experiences, as well as other underrepresented groups and viewpoints. Additionally, the Foundation renewed its $25,000 grant to each of the five Broadening Narratives advisory  groups that assisted with the formation of the Broadening Narratives funding initiative: the College of  Charleston’s Lowcountry Digital Library, Southeastern Museums Conference, Black Metropolis Re search Consortium, Chicago Collections Consortium, and the Chicago Cultural Alliance.

“While the purpose of collections is to ensure that stories are preserved, many narratives are often over looked because of decisions based on race, gender, sexual identity, educational background, economic or  social status, or because they are perceived to be outside the conventional thinking of the day,” said David Farren, Executive Director of the Foundation. “We are thrilled to announce these grant recipients  and want to thank these organizations for being part of this new way forward in collections thinking that  shifts focus from the processing of material objects to the telling of broader and more inclusive narra- tives.” 

The Lowcountry-based organizations and projects to be funded by Broadening Narratives

  • Clemson University will partner with the nationally registered Seashore Farmers’ Lodge and the  Sol Legare community to provide collections management training; conduct conservation as sessment, treatment, and interpretation for objects in the collection; and develop manuals for  ongoing care and management. The project will shed light on the site, which was once the heart  and backbone of the early African-American community providing farmers aid and insurance in a  time of need in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The project aims to be a model, with the manu als and workshops as a tool kit, for other settlement communities interested in preserving their  histories. 

“The historic African American community of Sol Legare in the Lowcountry of South  Carolina is unique in the measures that community members have taken to interpret and pre serve their history in the built environment and cultural objects,” says Dr. Jon Marcoux, Director  of the Historic Preservation program at Clemson University. “The community’s historical impor tance has gone unrecognized in broader narratives of the Civil War, Reconstruction,  Jim Crow, and Civil Rights eras. The project has the authenticity of fourth-generation residents  playing an intricate role in protecting hundreds of donated objects that represent the full 150- year-old history of Sol Legare. We are honored to partner with the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnel ley Foundation to preserve and share this significant collection.” 

  • The Gibbes Museum of Art will create an exhibition drawing parallels between noted Charleston  Renaissance artist Ned Jennings and British Aesthete and artist Aubrey Beardsley, re-contextual izing the Renaissance by examining the historically taboo topic of LGBTQIA+ contributions to the  art world, still largely untold in the South. In particular, the exhibit will consider the role of queer  artists in the Charleston arts community and the influence of queer aesthetics on the Charleston  Renaissance via an exploration of Jennings’ works and life. 

“By considering the impact of the British Aestheticism movement of the late 19th century on  one of Charleston, South Carolina’s most original artistic minds, Edward “Ned” I.R. Jennings,  we’re able to engage in a long overdue conversation about the LGBTQIA+ influences, histories,  and kinship networks that existed between World Wars I and II when the visual arts flourished; a  period that would become known as the Charleston Renaissance,” said Angela Mack, Executive 

Director of the Gibbes Museum of Art. “Thanks to the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Founda- tion’s commitment to telling this story, we are able to reengage with the work of an artist whose  life was tragically cut short and whose originality and impact for too long has been  marginalized.”  

  • The Educational Foundation of the University of South Carolina Lancaster’s Native American Studies Center will continue its study of South Carolina’s Native American peoples, their histo ries, and their cultures by gathering oral histories, artifacts, and conducting research related to  Lowcountry tribes. The Lowcountry was a significant site for Native American tribes across the  region for trade and was a nexus for interaction with European settlers and enslaved Africans.  

“Very little scholarly work has been done to document and preserve the living traditions of  South Carolina Native Americans, particularly in the Lowcountry. The small, often isolated but  vibrant Native communities have existed largely under the radar of outside scholars. Some  members of these communities were enslaved by European colonists; others found their tribal  communities driven to near extinction. Some identified, at times, as white; others were labeled  as African American. With the generous support of the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Founda- tion, the Native American Studies Center (NASC) at USC Lancaster will help document, preserve,  and share these rich cultural traditions maintained by the life experiences and in the memories  of the elders and leaders of these communities,” said Dr. Stephen Criswell, NASC Director. 

Organizations and projects located in Chicago to receive the Broadening Narratives grants are: the  Bronzeville Black Chicagoan Historical Society’s project to archive 20 years-worth of historical resources  about the African Americans who helped shape Chicago, The Chicago History Museum’s permanent ex hibition to provide a full representation of the people who are part of Chicago’s history and future,  Chicago Public Art Group’s archive of community murals from the past 45 years, Lewis University’s digi- tization of unheard narratives of Black communities along the Illinois and Michigan Canal, Muslim Amer ican Leadership Alliance’s enhancement of its oral history project with additional stories from Chicago’s  Black Muslim community, Puerto Rican Arts Alliance’s project focused on Chicago’s Puerto Rican Latinx/ LGBTQ community, South Side Community Art Center’s conservation and digitization of works by Black  women artists, and Trickster Cultural Center’s video series documenting the traditional use of plants in  Native American healing and wellness practices.  

About Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation 

The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation supports land conservation, artistic vitality, and region al collections for the people of the Chicago region and the Lowcountry of South Carolina.  For over five years, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation has convened five advisory groups to  assist with the formation and execution of the Broadening Narratives funding initiative by providing im portant feedback, keeping the Foundation apprised of trends in the field, and serving as valuable con nectors and conveners. The groups include Black Metropolis Research Consortium, Chicago Collections  Consortium, Chicago Cultural Alliance, College of Charlestons Lowcountry Digital Library, and the Southeastern Museums Conference. 

For more information on the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, visit www.gddf.org.  

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