History, art and technology, or H.A.T., have been combined in an innovative new project that will highlight the African American community. Kenton County Public Library in partnership with The Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington and phrie worlds, have received the Inaugural 2022 Connecting Community Digital Initiative Libraries, Archives and Museums Grant from the Library of Congress. The project provides funds for a community research project centered on African American History in Covington. The project titled, “Crafting Stories, Making History: The African American Experience in Covington, KY” creates three artist-in-residency opportunities for African American artists and community members as well as opportunities for the public to learn more about community research, using the Library of Congress digital collections and complete projects related to their research interests with funding in 4 mini-grants for Eastside residents. The grant will also honor three residents who have been preserving history for the benefit of the community in a celebration and exhibit in April 2023.
As the inaugural artist in residence, phrie is curating the programs and activities of the grant. phrie is a public folklorist, cultural strategist, yoga teacher, and environmental educator who uses spatial awareness, environmental design, applied heritage to explore the role of place on identity. Her project, "Them Valley Folk: Life, Culture, & Belonging in the Ohio River Borderlands" is an interactive love letter and cultural organizing initiative to decolonize borders and restore the Ohio River Valley as a united cultural heritage region.
"I'm really excited about this project because it allows people to see the beautiful people and stories on the other side of Cincinnati for a bigger picture. Literacy is about self-discovery and awareness and the key to liberation.”
Jameela Salaah, Program Manager for Youth and Family Development at the Center for Great Neighborhoods Covington, will act as community facilitator by connecting her work with the resources from the library and the grant.
"Receiving this grant means that we can continue to connect generations in a creative and meaningful way so that these stories and knowledge will live on forever and help shape the community we live in."
Ann Schoenenberger will host the maker labs called, H.A.T. (History/Art/Technology) Labs, which will be hosted at the Covington Library for people to dig deep into the online archives, see the ways history has been preserved, then interpret the history in the context of their lives and stories. “H.A.T. Labs are a way to get your hands on history. By making digital materials tangible through printing and things like microcontrollers, we can hold them, work with them, read them aloud, etc., they can become materials for new expression and allows us to deepen our experience of history but also see how we are all part of it.” The labs were inspired by the informal learning materials from the Library of Congress, the Free to Use Collection, Jason Reynolds’ ”Write. Right. Rite.” Series, and Dr. Carla Hayden, The Librarian of Congress.
The public is invited to attend public events, book talks and making labs to learn more about African American history and the ways new and old that history is held, preserved, and shared. For details and dates please visit: https://www.kentonlibrary.org/hatlab/events
African American artists and residents with connections to Covington are invited to apply for two additional artists in residencies and four mini-grants. Funding for programs is available through April 2023 and community members are encouraged to join the project in order to share your work, research your family and community roots or to connect with others like you.
To learn more about this project visit https://www.kentonlibrary.org/crafting-stories-making-history/