Kiah Morris, D-Bennington (standing, left), and Mike Yantachka, D-Charlotte (right), presenting House Concurrent Resolution H.C.R. 364 to Dr. Jackson Clemmons and Mrs. Lydia Clemmons (seated) with Shanta Lee Gander, Managing Director of A Sense of Place (standing, center). Photo by Virginia Macey-Schuette

Vermont state representatives Kiah Morris, D-Bennington, and Mike Yantachka, D-Charlotte, presented House Concurrent Resolution H.C.R. 364 to Dr. Jackson Clemmons and Mrs. Lydia Clemmons on Wednesday, May 2, in recognition of the Clemmons Family Farm’s A Sense of Place project, which will support the 148-acre farm’s transition to an African-American heritage and multicultural center in Charlotte.

Funded by ArtPlace America’s highly competitive National Creative Placemaking Fund, the Sense of Place project was acknowledged in the House Chamber as having an overarching goal to improve community mental health, physical health and social well-being through African-American and African arts and culture programming.

The project, which will run from January 2018 to June 2020, will catalyze community conversations around history, heritage and identity and foster a strong and supportive multicultural community in Vermont and rural New England with performing arts, culinary arts and visual arts programming. 

ArtPlace America received 987 applications nationwide for the prestigious grant. The Clemmons Family Farm’s Sense of Place project is one of only 23 projects in the country selected to receive the award in this year’s competition. Rep. Morris was prompted to introduce the resolution after learning that the Clemmons Family Farm also was awarded the state’s 2018 Barn Preservation Grant to support the preservation of the farm’s “Big Barn.” Rep. Yantachka provided remarks that are recorded in the Journal of the House.

The Clemmons Family Farm will provide overall project leadership in collaboration with several Vermont-based institutional partners. Building Heritage LLC will bring expertise in the preservation and upgrades of one of the farm’s historic barns. The Burlington City Arts Foundation will act as the farm’s fiscal agent to receive and manage the grant. Champlain College will coordinate media relations and strategic communication initiatives. And INSPIRIT, a dance company, will bring African-American and African diaspora visual arts, dance, choreography, theater and community engagement programs to the farm.