For much of Ohio’s history, the good times were signified by belching smokestacks. Pulling down forests, draining the swamps, and extracting fossil fuels helped Ohioans build a new state. While Ohioans prospered, all this activity degraded the environment. The first Industrial Revolution of coal and steam, and second of oil, steel, and chemicals left behind poisonous waste. As these first waves of industry passed into history, the sprawling growth of the cities buried the best farmland under suburban housing developments. Modern agriculture turned large swathes of the state toward the horizontal industrial production of corn, soybeans, pigs, and poultry. Finding a resilient and sustainable relationship with the environment in a place so firmly shaped by human activity is a significant and on-going challenge.
As inhabitants of the earth, the human story is inextricably tied to the natural world. The experiences of Ohio communities, families, and individuals are grounded in the state’s vibrant landscapes and cities, and shaped by its natural resources.
Ohioans are deeply tied to the environments they inhabit. Place names reflect those ties. The name Ohio originated from the Iroquois (Haudenosuanee) word for “Good River.” This name was later translated by the French as La Belle Rivière,“the Beautiful River”. Toward a Beautiful Ohio supports public humanities projects that explore the interdependence between the people and places of Ohio. Ohio Humanities seeks to uncover the stories that reveal human interactions with the environment, to better understand our past and present, and imagine our shared future.
Ohio Humanities is pleased to issue a call for grant applications under this special initiative.
Toward a Beautiful Ohio draws on the power of the humanities to promote discussion and understanding of the environment – in the past, today, and in the future.
Projects should be informed by scholarship, insights from the humanities, and the participation of humanities professionals. Ohio Humanities will support applications that:
Bring individuals together to discuss fiction or nonfiction writings as well as films that explore the environment;
Examine the environment through the medium of film, television, radio, or interpretive digital formats;
Interpret and exhibit significant collections of environment-related materials.
Visit the grant guidelines page to view all the details to apply.
Contact a program officer to discuss possible projects and to review the application process in detail.
1-800-293-9774 / 614-461-7802
David J. Merkowitz, PhD, Assistant Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rob Colby, PhD, Program Officer, email@example.com