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Ferris State University’s Jim Crow Museum Receives $32,000 Grant from The National Endowment for the Arts


Ferris State University’s Jim Crow Museum learned of its successful acquisition of a $32,000 Grants for Arts Projects award to support a collaborative exhibition of civil rights era photography from Bruce Davidson. The exhibit joins contemporary images that document the Black Lives Matter Movement.

This project seeks to document and share the enduring struggle for equality experienced by African Americans. The efforts of the Jim Crow Museum team will include exhibition development, production, and installation, along with the creation of complementary materials for school audiences. This project is among the more than 1,100 projects across America totaling nearly $27 million that received support during this second round of Grants for Arts Projects fiscal year 2021 funding.

NEA“As the country and the arts sector begin to imagine returning to a post-pandemic world, the National Endowment for the Arts is proud to announce funding that will help arts organizations such as Ferris’ Jim Crow Museum reengage fully with partners and audiences,” said NEA Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. “Although the arts have sustained many during the pandemic, the chance to gather with one another and share arts experiences is its own necessity and pleasure.”

Ferris President David Eisler said the university is thrilled to expand on the presentation possibilities for the collection received by the Jim Crow Museum in November 2018.

“Through the leadership of the Museum’s founder and curator, Dr. David Pilgrim, the Museum has experienced international recognition for its commitment to examining racism and promoting true social justice,” Eisler said. “With this support from the National Endowment for the Arts, we look forward to collaborating with Kendall College of Art and Design and UICA to further this meaningful work and share the powerful and thought-provoking images created by Davidson and other artists with audiences around the country.”

Pilgrim acknowledged the future opportunities to continue important conversations.

“This award allows us to build dialogue and momentum around our collection of Bruce Davidson civil rights era images as a bridge to the voices and experiences of Black Americans’ struggle for social justice and equity today,” said Pilgrim, Ferris’  vice president for Diversity and Inclusion.“The final exhibition will help us facilitate important community discussions about creating a more just society.”

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University President Tara McCrackin said her staff is delighted to share this opportunity with the experts at the Jim Crow Museum.

“The generous support of the NEA will enable us to leverage the community connections and fine arts curation expertise of the UICA and KCAD to create a deeply moving and impactful exhibit that will engage new audiences and elevate emerging artists who, like Davidson, live to tell pertinent and powerful human stories through their art,” McCrackin said.