Working with partners in Camden, MARCH has been awarded an Incubation Grant of $4,980 from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities. The funds will be used for community-building activities on Cooper Street in Camden, including events during Camden County History Week (October 15-21), further collaboration among neighborhood stakeholders, and outreach in preparation for interpretation planning.
Cooper Street dates to the eighteenth century and includes the Cooper Street Historic District, which is listed on the National Register for Historic Places on the basis of its architecture and its reflection of trends in American history. Originally a thoroughfare connecting South Jersey with ferries to Philadelphia, Cooper Street evolved into a fashionable residential neighborhood during Camden’s period of greatest growth in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Over time, properties on Cooper Street also housed medical and professional offices, businesses, organizations, and industries. Many of the preserved, restored, or adapted homes in the historic district are now used by Rutgers for educational or administrative purposes. The historic district also provides a setting for students to learn about local history, urban development, and historic preservation, among other topics.
With the Incubation Grant, MARCH and its partners will raise awareness of Cooper Street’s historic significance and and broaden participation as a step toward future planning for interpretation and creative place-making. Partners in the project include Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, the Cooper Grant Neighborhood Association, Tabernacle of Faith Church, Rowan University at Camden, the Rutgers-Camden Writers House, Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts, and LEAP Academy. The project manager is Mikaela Maria, MARCH programs assistant and holder of a master’s degree in history from Rutgers-Camden, who submitted the successful grant application. Students will participate in the project in keeping with MARCH’s commitment to experiential learning and transitional employment in public humanities.
The grant to MARCH is among Incubation Grants totaling $43,730 awarded by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities (NJCH) to nine organizations. Incubation Grants help organizations plan, research, prototype, and experiment for public humanities opportunities. From investigating potential components of a new program or expanding efforts to learn more about audiences, NJCH funding supports projects in the earliest stages of development.
Public humanities programming allows individuals to participate in lifelong learning activities and share in the exploration of history, values, culture, and beliefs. NJCH supports and acts as a resource for cultural and service-oriented nonprofit partners as they bring public humanities experiences to the citizens of New Jersey, harnessing the power of the humanities to strengthen communities.
In addition to MARCH, Grants were awarded to:
• coLAB Arts (New Brunswick) $5,000, to conduct interviews and create a theater piece for the project “Banished: Children on the sex offender registry” to inform the national narrative regarding existing perceptions about those on the registry.
• Gloucester County Historical Society (Woodbury) $4,650, to expand prior Woodbury-based Juneteenth events to a countywide celebration of African American history and culture.
• Mile Square Theatre (Hoboken) $4,900, to support preliminary content research for a documentary that explores gentrification in Hoboken through a collection of “Letters to the Editor” published in the text Yuppies Invade my House at Dinnertime.
• Rider University (Lawrenceville) $5,000, to engage HomeFront NJ clients in writing workshop experiences through the National Writing Project @ Rider, allowing participants to expand writing skills to enable the telling of their own stories.
• Rutgers University, Landscape Architecture (New Brunswick) $5,000, to gather and disseminate data about connections between environmental, cultural and political histories of the Ringwood Mines Superfund site and the Ramapough Lunappe tribe.
• Social Justice Matters (Scotch Plains) $5,000, to develop “Dialogue Circles on Race,” a series of facilitated discussions for community members in Union County to explore and address issues involving race.
• Unitarian Society (East Brunswick) $5,000, to gather community feedback on the “Lost Souls Public Memorial Project,” a memorial to 100 people from New Jersey who were illegally sent into slavery in the South in 1818.
• Woodbury Community Pride (Woodbury) $4,200, to engage local audiences in Woodbury Community Pride’s first LGBTQ Film Festival, paying special attention to promoting participation through community conversations after screenings.
“Incubation Grants support the thoughtful preparation of a program before implementation,” said Director of Grants and Programs Gigi Naglak. “The New Jersey Council for the Humanities furthers its mission by supporting organizations in their efforts to bring public humanities programming to New Jersey citizens. We know that it sometimes requires time and resources to ask the important questions, conduct research, and test some of the possibilities before implementing a program.”
As a humanities-focused nonprofit re-granting organization, NJCH awards Incubation Grants from $1,000 to $5,000 to experiment, research, prototype, and consider new models and topics for public humanities programs. NJCH also awards Action Grants, from $2,000 to $20,000, to implement or expand programs. Organizations interested in learning more about NJCH’s grant program should visit the NJCH website.