Friends of Gaineswood receive state grant

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Jamie Alich / Demopolis Times writer

The Black Belt Community Foundation (BBCF) recently awarded the Friends of Gaineswood a grant for $1,000, which was made possible by a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. This is the first time this grant has been received and will be used to host the 7th annual Heritage Appreciation Days at the mansion on March 15-16, 2007.

For the last six years, Friends of Gaineswood has helped the production of this event for Black Belt-area 4th graders studying Alabama history. Students learn about 19th century farming techniques, architecture and history of Gaineswood and enjoy games of long ago.

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“Heritage Appreciation Days is an educational experience for students and teachers because they are given a look into Alabama’s history. The event also generates tourism revenue for Demopolis,” said Matt Hartzell, Site Director of Gaineswood.

Founded in 1996 as a non-profit organization, Friends of Gaineswood raises funds for the restoration and daily operation of the national historic landmark house museum.

The BBCF is in its third year of operation. The foundation was started to support community efforts in the Black Belt that will contribute to the strength, innovation, and success of all the region’s people and communities.

The mission of the BBCF is to build a collective stream of giving from the community and other sources so the people of the Black Belt can enhance efforts to lift themselves by taking what they have to make what they need.

BBCF recently worked with the Youth&Cultural Committee of the Black Belt Action Commission and the Alabama State Council on the Arts to start a Black Belt Arts Initiative (BBAI). This project looks to promote artists and arts awareness in the Black Belt, and to plant creative seeds in the youth.

BBCF community grants are given twice a year and can be used for arts programs in addition to education, health and human services or community economic development. The next BBCF grant cycle will be announced in early fall. For more information, contact BBCF Executive Director Felecia Jones at 334-874-1126 or

For more information about Heritage Appreciation Days or Gaineswood, call Matt Hartzell at 334-289-4846.