Bloomington, Ind. — A new initiative launched by Indiana University will help Hoosier communities planning to host arts and cultural events and activities ahead of the 2024 solar eclipse.

The funding support from the Simons Foundation will help the Center for Rural Engagement to facilitate rural engagement for the university’s solar eclipse initiative, providing staff support, resources and outreach for community activities. All of which IU says unite residents around the historic astronomical event.

Organizations in communities with a population of fewer than 50,000 people can also apply for micro-grants up to $2,000 to support the implementation of eclipse events. Regional Opportunity Initiatives is acting as the fiscal agent for the grant program and will provide technical assistance to facilitate the eclipse micro-grant program.

The 2024 eclipse will be a momentous occasion for many of Indiana’s rural communities. Thanks to generous support from the Simons Foundation and Regional Opportunity Initiatives, rural residents and visitors will explore the cultural dimensions and creative inspiration of this solar event that will remain in our memories for a lifetime.

Kerry Thomson, executive director of the Center for Rural Engagement

The path of totality of the April 8 solar eclipse will cover a segment of the U.S. and Mexico including a large part of Indiana in complete darkness for up to 4 minutes as the moon shadows the sun. The next time Hoosiers will fall in the path of totality for a solar eclipse won’t be until 2099.

The Simons Foundation is focusing its support on areas across the country and Indiana that have fewer traditional science engagement opportunities than other major metropolitan cities. Through partnerships with communities and organizations including science museums, art organizations, cultural centers and local downtown districts the foundation hopes to provide relationships with science that extend beyond the 2024 eclipse.