The National Endowment for the Humanities Wednesday announced $14.8 million in grants to support 253 humanities projects in 44 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, including $100,000 to Santa Monica College for a project on the art and architecture of Santa Monica and west Los Angeles County.

The SMC grant for the three-year curriculum development project to be headed up by Briana Simmons, titled, “Mapping and Preserving the Art and Hidden Histories of Santa Monica,” was the largest among 11 grants awarded to Southern California scholars.

The second largest sum — $98.317 — went to Kristen Lashua of Vanguard University in Costa Mesa for the development and implementation of a summer bridge program based on American history and culture for at-risk students.

USC’s Luci Marzola was awarded $35,000 to research and write a book-length study on how technology and science shaped earlycinema in Hollywood, while UCLA’s Natalie Operstein got $60,000 for a linguistic analysis of Lingua Franca, a language used for interethnic communication in the Mediterranean from the medieval period to the 19th century.

Projects at Claremont McKenna College, UC Irvine, UC Riverside and UC San Diego also were funded by the NEH, which awarded an additional $47.5 million to fund 55 state humanities council partners.

“From cutting-edge digital projects to the painstaking practice of traditional scholarly research, these new NEH grants represent the humanities at its most vital and creative,” said NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede. “These projects will shed new light on age-old questions, safeguard our cultural heritage, and expand educational opportunities in classrooms nationwide.”

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the NEH supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation.

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