Forest Grove Preserve (FGP) in Sandersville, Georgia, USA, has been awarded a Cultural Facilities grant for fiscal year 2023 from the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. The project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Cultural Facilities grant supports the restoration or renovation of a building to be used for arts programming. FGP will restore a 100-year-old tenant-farmer house to create a folk-art museum.
The Harper House
Tenant-farmer houses are decaying all over the US South and archaeologists now consider these structures to hold an important history. Following the Civil War through the late 20th Century, families who lived in these houses farmed the land adjacent to the house, the husband ploughing and planting, and the wife and children helping to pick crops. The remaining tenant-farmer house at Forest Grove was occupied by the Harper family who raised 10 children in the two-room house. We believe the restored Harper House will provide a most charming, unique, appropriate setting for a folk-art museum. When the interior is stabilized to hold art, works by artists will be placed to begin a permanent collection. Two baby quilts made by Virginia Harper will adorn the central hall.
Most of these houses are falling into dust, but this one is going back up
Quilts by Virginia Harper
The Harper House will be a precious reminder of a special historic era. Children and adults will benefit from the education and inspiration made available by this new cultural venue, which can broaden their knowledge of the art, history, and culture of their own region. Seeing art by self-taught artists in a historical setting will show how folks lived and what they were able create with materials that were inexpensive or free.
The following activities will be available and will help raise funds for maintenance:
- Folk art shows, exhibiting art by local self-taught artists
- Family reunions, weddings, receptions, and meetings
- Tours of the site, including information about the era when such settings were a large component of the economy and social fabric of the community
- Small-venue outdoor performances
Georgia Council of the Arts
As part of this year’s Cultural Facilities awards, 31 entities in 18 counties will receive $1.3 million in funding. Georgia Council for the Arts received applications from schools, libraries, cities, historical societies, community theatres, Boys & Girls Clubs, and arts and other related organizations from across the state.
Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA) uses Peer Review Panels to judge and review applications following standard practices set by the National Endowment for the Arts. Panelists are GCA Council members and fellow professionals who are experienced in the arts discipline or type of grant being reviewed, or are citizens with a record of arts activities, experience, and knowledge. Grant recipients include theaters, dance companies, museums, cities, colleges, and multi-discipline arts entities. Additional funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) enabled the Georgia Council for the Arts to award 21 more Cultural Facilities grants compared to last year.