October 18, 2023 at 10:20 a.m.

Main Street Announces Hope is Among 30 Rural Communities Awarded Grant for 2024 Solar Eclipse Activities

By JENN WILLHITE | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Main Street of Hope is pleased to announce that the Hope community is one of 30 rural organizations across Indiana receiving funding to host arts and cultural events and programs connected to the 2024 solar eclipse that will blanket parts of Indiana in total darkness on April 8, according to a draft press release from Kyla Cox Deckard, with the IU Center for Rural Engagement, offered by Connie Kiviniemi-Baylor, executive director of Main Street of Hope.

According to the October 4 press release:

"With funding support from the Simons Foundation as part of its In the Path of Totality initiative, the Indiana University Center for Rural Engagement is leading IU’s rural solar eclipse initiative, providing staff support, resources and outreach for community activities that unite residents around the historic astronomical event. More than 80 organizations in communities with a population under 50,000 applied for $2,000 micro-grants, facilitated by Regional Opportunity Initiatives, to support the implementation of eclipse activities.

'Rural communities are implementing creative plans to connect residents and visitors as we all gather to witness this historic event,' said Kerry Thomson, executive director of the Center for Rural Engagement. 'We look forward to collaborating with communities to bring these plans to fruition and strengthen local strategies that expand arts capacity.'

The path of totality of the April 8 solar eclipse will cover a segment of the United States, Mexico and Canada, including a large part of Indiana, in complete darkness for up to four minutes as the moon shadows the sun. The next time Indiana will fall in the path of totality of a solar eclipse will be 2099.

Indiana is anticipating more that more than one million visitors will flock to the path of totality in the days leading up to April 8. Communities small and large could more than triple their population numbers during the event. to help local leaders and residents prepare, the center published the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse Toolkit with planning resources and safety information about viewing the eclipse, managing crowds and leveraging the eclipse to bolster community interest and capacity for arts and cultural events into the future.

While a solar eclipse is an event of scientific significance, such awe-inspiring moments have a profound impact on humanity and the sense of time, place and connection to each other and the universe. The Simons Foundation is focusing support on areas of the country that have fewer traditional science engagement opportunities than major metropolitan cities. Though partnerships with communities and organizations in the path of totality, from science museums and art organizations to cultural centers and local downtown districts, the Simons Foundation seeks to provide onramps for meaningful, lifelong relationships with science that extend beyond this eclipse.

Main Street of Hope will host a three-day solar eclipse festival on the town Square featuring science and art projects, live music, games and food."

HSJ reached out to Baylor for comment regarding Hope’s receiving the aforementioned micro-grant but had not received a response at the time of the writing of this post.

Stay up to date on the latest from Main Street of Hope on Facebook HERE

** Watch HSJ Online for additional information and posts regarding our community’s 2024 Solar Eclipse activities! **