The Clemmons Family Farm has received a grant from the Bay and Paul Foundation to help strengthen the capacity of Vermont’s artists of the African diaspora to deliver educational programs.
The $100,000 grant will support a needs assessment and professional development workshops for artists of African descent residing in Chittenden and Windham counties, and a part-time Project Coordinator position.
“Last year we began working in collaboration with the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association and the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts to strengthen school teachers’ capacity to integrate the arts and include the authentic stories and cultures of people of the African diaspora in K-12 education. Thanks to the tremendous support of the Bay and Paul Foundation, this year we’ll be able to work on another part of the learning and equity equation and strengthen the capacity of artists and culture bearers themselves, which is thrilling” said Lydia Clemmons, the Clemmons Family Farm’s President.
“One of our first steps will be to reach out to these and other organizations like the Vermont Coalition for Ethnic Studies and Social Equity in Schools, the Vermont Arts Council, and the Vermont Humanities Council, who are also bringing arts and culture programs into K-12 learning, to explore ways to collaborate, leverage resources and maximize our collective impact,” she added.
The Clemmons Family Farm is among a handful of Black-led arts and culture nonprofit organizations in Vermont and won a highly competitive National Creative Placemaking Fund award from Artplace America in 2017. The physical farm receives school field trips as part of its K-12 arts and culture program. Comprising 148 acres of working farm land and a forest, it is one of the largest African American-owned historic farms in Vermont and a landmark site on the state’s African-American Heritage Trail.
Will Kasso Condry, a Vermont artist and entrepreneur, is a member of the Clemmons Family Farm’s Board of Directors. “This grant presents an opportunity for the Clemmons Family Farm to continue supporting artists of the African diaspora and continue educating about the Black experience,” he said.
The Clemmons Family Farm’s mission is to mobilize the power of African-American and African diaspora history, art and culture to build a loving and supportive multicultural community in Vermont-- and to both conserve and preserve the physical farm as an African-American owned land and cultural heritage asset for future generations. The Vermont African Diaspora Artists capacity-building project activities funded by the Bay and Paul Foundation will run from February 2020 through January 2021.