The Connecticut Humanities Council, a nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment of the Humanities, has awarded the Town of Guilford and the Guilford Performing Arts Festival a $5,000 grant. The money is being used to help bolster humanities programming within the festival, which will take place September 26-29 with three components: 70 free public performances and workshops in music, dance, theater and spoken word; in-school master classes for students at Guilford High School in disciplines that supplement the performing-arts curriculum; and a community-service program in which dancers from a world-renowned contemporary dance company will work with seniors and others.

The town and GPAF partnered on the grant application to CT Humanities, whose mission is to encourage curiosity and critical thinking. CT Humanities’ own programs engage people in the history, literature and culture of Connecticut, and the organization supports local organizations whose work facilitates understanding, connection and awareness of the world. GPAF and the town sought funding to expand the festival’s humanities programming under shared goals of bridging populations, bringing Guilford together, celebrating diversity and increasing understanding of issues important to the town.

With support from CT Humanities, festival events will include performance of, participation in and discussion about the arts as an expression of humanity. There will be multicultural/multiethnic classes and talks at Guilford High School; pre- and post-performance talkbacks; and a spoken word/literary/local history track with themes of diversity, inclusion and the impact of the arts on society, culture and community. GPAF intends to be active in ongoing intra-town conversations about the arts, culture, economic vitality and sustainability.