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Mosaic Theater
The Library of Congress Offering New Cultural Grants
Jul 29 – Aug 11, 2021
Carla Hayden

The Library of Congress is offering a new series of grants to individuals and organizations working to document cultures and traditions of Black, Indigenous, and communities of color traditionally underrepresented in the United States. The Community Collections grants from the Library's American Folklife Center will enable many to document their cultural life and experiences from their own perspectives, while enriching the Library's holdings with diverse materials featuring creativity and knowledge found at the local level. The funding opportunities were announced today and are open for applications through Tuesday, September 7.

In total, up to 10 grant opportunities are available in fall 2021 for up to $60,000 each to fund field research within Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. The funding is part of the Library's new initiative, "Of the People: Widening the Path," to connect more deeply with diverse, often underrepresented communities. This will be the first set of Community Collections grants totaling $1.74 million over four years from the American Folklife Center. The initiative is supported by a $15 million investment from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.        

Of the People creates new opportunities for more Americans to engage with the Library and add perspectives to the collections, allowing the national library to share a more inclusive American story.

Examples of cultural documentation meant to inspire possible projects include: Exploration of a community festival or cultural celebration; Documentation of gathering places, including social spaces, farmers markets, craft fairs, or other periodic spaces that serve as anchors or markers of community; Community-centric reflection on emerging cultural forms or practices; Examinations of cultural practices that can serve as markers of aspects of identity; and an oral history of a neighborhood or community.

American Folklife Center folklorists and archivists will assist grantees in providing support for specific aspects of cultural documentation activities, provide technical advice, and help to facilitate a cohort for sharing knowledge and lessons learned.

For more information on the Notice of Funding Opportunity and details on how to apply, visit the Of the People blog. The grants represent a major priority in the new initiative, Of the People. Application details are available here.

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