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The Humanities Fund at SCCF

By JoAnna Ness, Mar 12 2019 03:00PM

Since 2001, the Humanities Fund at Steuben County Community Foundation has been supporting programs that help boost local talent and bring the arts and humanities to our local community.

Before the fund was created, there was no grant money available for Steuben County kids to attend a summer camp for arts, music, or theatre. Liat Caruso Peters, longtime Humanities Fund council member, explained the importance of these camps, “The students grow in their craft and return home with a new enthusiasm to share.” The council works with the marching band director and other music teachers at local schools to share the grant application with students who are interested. One example of the impact this can have is a former scholarship recipient who was able to attend Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan for a summer camp, then Interlochen Arts Academy for high school. She now studies opera at Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University and has been a soloist in the Messiah concert for seven years. “There are many talented students who can excel with expanded learning opportunities,” said Liat. In the future, the council hopes to build its endowment so it can provide a scholarship for a Steuben County student to attend a private high school to study the arts. The council currently provides an annual college scholarship for a student studying the arts after high school, called “Heart of the Arts.”

In addition to these scholarships, the Humanities Fund supports the Messiah Concert each year. At this concert, the Steuben County Festival Choir continues to awe almost 700 community members and visitors with their performance during Christmas-time. Angola Mayor Richard Hickman remarked on the concert’s success, “I have heard many times “it just keeps getting better” and “this was the best performance yet”. I am sure that you are very proud of all the performers. It is great seeing just how much talent this community has to offer.” This performance is exactly the type of inspiring and entertaining arts and humanities event that the Humanities Fund council hopes to bring to Steuben County.

In order to support local talent and bring performances to the community, the Humanities Council relies on its endowment fund at the Steuben County Community Foundation, as well as an annual bike ride fundraiser. The Humanities Fund was established in 2001 when the Indiana Humanities Council offered a matching gift campaign for local groups to support the arts and humanities. They have continued to grow the fund through Bike 101 Lakes, a scenic bike race that has showcased the beauty of Steuben County for the past 10 years. Each year, the bike race begins with the singing of the national anthem from a former camp scholarship recipient, bringing the impact of that special arts training home for everyone to enjoy.

Along with the Humanities Fund council, Steuben County benefits from multiple organizations who help bring a variety of arts and humanities performances and opportunities to the area, such as the Mayor’s Arts Council and the Angola Regional Artists’ Guild. Currently, the Humanities Fund council is looking for additional members to join their efforts. If you are interested, please contact the Steuben County Community Foundation at 260-665-6656 or stop by the office with questions.