The James Baldwin Project founded in 2014 by Easton filmmakers Karen Thorsen and Douglas K. Dempsey has received two state grants: a 2023 Planning Grant from Connecticut Humanities and a 2023 grant for Operating Support from the Connecticut Cultural Fund. The funds will be dedicated to community outreach and engagement across the state, celebrating the 2024-2025 Centennial of civil rights activist and best-selling author James Baldwin.
The official mission of the James Baldwin Project is “To open minds and change lives, with James Baldwin as catalyst. To engage diverse communities, to inspire dialogue across differences, to encourage citizen-activists and nourish their sense of self-worth. To ensure that Baldwin’s still painfully relevant message, a clarion call for equality, for understanding that inequality and injustice impact all of us will be heard and debated by those who need it most. To expand understanding of ourselves and each other.”
“These grants will allow us to bring dozens of Baldwin-related events, a mix of film screenings, live events, exhibits, workshops and talkbacks, all free to the public, all designed to encourage active engagement to new communities and new generations,” said Thorsen, the producer and director of the award-winning film classic James Baldwin; The Price of the Ticket.
The Baldwin Project’s Connecticut Humanities grant was one of seven Planning and Implementation grants awarded in February, 2023. An independent, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Connecticut Humanities connects people to the humanities through grants, partnerships, and collaborative programs. All its projects, administration, and program development are supported by state and federal matching funds, community foundations and gifts from private sources.
In addition, the James Baldwin Project was one of 723 organizations in Connecticut awarded a CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant. Totaling more than $8.5 million, these grants are part of a two-year, $30.7 million investment in arts, humanities, and cultural nonprofits by the CT General Assembly and approved by Governor Ned Lamont. Funding for these grants is provided by the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA).