By Arnold Berke | From Preservation | May/June 2009
Hope is in the air on Ashley River Road, a scenic rural corridor near Charleston, S.C. The fight against Watson Hill, a huge subdivision that would harm the area's history and landscape, received a boost in January when the developer's lender foreclosed on the property. Drayton Hall—the National Trust for Historic Preservation historic site close to the tract—and local preservation and conservation groups have been battling the Watson Hill plan for years. Now, says Drayton Hall's executive director, George McDaniel, "We hope this will lead to the acquisition of Watson Hill by a conservation-minded buyer. It's an excellent opportunity."
… I could fill a book with the ways the National Trust invests in the dreams of others. But I don't have to, since those stories have just been collected in a handsome new pamphlet called Preservation Fund. Leaf through to see how $54 million in grants, loans, and direct investment awarded last year helped projects nationwide. The Chinese Junk Preservation Project in San Francisco, for instance, used $3,500 to stabilize the wooden junk Free China. San Felipe de Neri Church in Albuquerque spent $5,000 to develop a restoration plan. And Preserve Rhode Island devoted $127,500 to a statewide field-services program. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a print copy, or read the report at PreservationNation.org/resources/find-funding/grants.
… One of the National Trust's corporate partners that contributed to the fund is Lowe's. The home improvement company and the Trust have announced a second round of grants to the Rosenwald schools, thousands of structures built in the early 20th century for African American students, based on an idea of Booker T. Washington's and with money from Sears Roebuck magnate Julius Rosenwald. The new grants, totaling $1 million, will go to 15 schools in eight southern states. Learn about the new recipients at rosenwaldschools.com.
… Chesterwood, the home and studio of Daniel Chester French (sculptor of the Lincoln Memorial statue in Washington, D.C.), is no stranger to modernism. Annually, the National Trust historic site in Stockbridge, Mass., stages Contemporary Sculpture at Chesterwood, inviting artists to display their works in the surrounding woods and fields. This year's show (June 19 through Oct. 18) displays pieces by members of the Sculptors Guild under the banner "Space is the Place." Guest curator is Denise Markonish, from MASS MoCA in North Adams, Mass. Since 1978, the exhibition has displayed works by more than 500 artists, many of them up-and-coming, echoing French's own mentoring of young sculptors.
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