Mini-Grant from Rivers of Steel Awarded to The Westmoreland

The grant will help support the upcoming exhibition Declaration and Resistance, a solo exhibition by artist Stephen Towns

GREENSBURG, Pennsylvania (February 05, 2021) – The Westmoreland Museum of American Art is one of nine nonprofits to receive funding from Rivers of Steel through Round 25 of their Mini-Grant program which supports partner organizations in eight-county region of Southwestern Pennsylvania that the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area represents. This grant will help support the upcoming exhibition Stephen Towns: Declaration and Resistance, opening January 31 through April 24, 2022, and its accompanying catalog, short-form documentary and series of public programs.

“The Westmoreland Museum of American Art is very thankful to Rivers of Steel for selecting the Museum as a recipient for their Mini-Grant program. The funding will help us to increase awareness about American history and the lived experiences of Black Americans from the 18th century to today through the exhibition Stephen Towns: Declaration and Resistance and its related public programs, including artist’s talks, hands-on workshops, and programs geared towards students,” said Anne Kraybill, Director/CEO of The Westmoreland.

Organized by The Westmoreland with guest curator Kilolo Luckett, Stephen Towns: Declaration and Resistance is a solo exhibition by nationally known Baltimore painter and fiber artist Stephen Towns. Town’s work draws visual inspiration from medieval altarpieces, nineteenth-century photography, Dutch wax print fabrics, and African American story quilts. Comprised of paintings and quilts, the exhibition will feature 41 works, including 35 new works, that explore the American dream through the lives of Black Americans.

Specifically, Declaration and Resistance examines the history of labor by Black Americans in Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia and will help to contextualize the often unacknowledged laborers who worked to create the region. Using labor as a backdrop, Towns highlights the role Black Americans have played in the economy, and explores the resilience, resistance, and endurance that have challenged the United States to truly reflect the tenants of its Declaration of Independence. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalog, a short-form documentary, and a robust series of public programs. For more information about the upcoming exhibition Stephen Towns: Declaration and Resistance, please click here.

Rivers of Steel awarded nine Round 25 Mini-Grants totaling $60,000 to nine nonprofit organizations within the eight-county region of Southwestern Pennsylvania that the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area represents. A full list of Round 25 Mini-Grants is available here.

About Rivers of Steel Mini-Grant Program
The Rivers of Steel Mini-Grant program helps to develop new and innovative programs, partnerships, exhibits, tours, and other initiatives that are consistent with Rivers of Steel’s mission and that increase heritage tourism, enhance preservation efforts, involve the stewardship of natural resources, encourage outdoor recreation and / or include collaborative partnerships.

While the funding is provided via DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnerships Program and the Environmental Stewardship Fund for the Mini-Grant Program, Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation applies for, administers, and accounts for the distribution of the grants throughout the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area. Both nonprofits and municipalities are eligible for grant awards.

About Rivers of Steel & the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area
Founded on the principles of heritage development, community partnership, and a reverence for the region’s natural and shared resources, Rivers of Steel strengthens the economic and cultural fabric of western Pennsylvania by fostering dynamic initiatives and transformative experiences.

The eight-county region of the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area is one of 55 National Heritage Areas designated by the U.S. Congress and one of 12 State Heritage Areas. A National Heritage Area is a place of national significance to America. For Rivers of Steel, Congress recognized the industrial and cultural heritage of southwestern Pennsylvania. Through a public-private partnership with the National Park Service and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Rivers of Steel supports heritage conservation, heritage tourism, and outdoor recreation as a means to foster economic redevelopment and enhance cultural engagement.

About The Westmoreland Museum of American Art:
Western Pennsylvania’s only museum dedicated to American art, The Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, is a place to share meaningful cultural experiences that open the door to new ideas, perspectives and possibilities. The Westmoreland’s extraordinary permanent collection, with its strong focus on the art and artists of Southwestern Pennsylvania, is complemented by an impressive schedule of temporary exhibitions featuring both nationally traveling exhibitions and those organized by the Museum. Additionally, The Westmoreland presents a year-round schedule of community-oriented programming and special events. General admission to the Museum is free with advance online registration currently required.

More information is available at and on the Museum’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles. For information on ways to connect with the Museum through virtual experiences, please click here.


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