About Brainerd Institute Heritage
The vision of the Brainerd Institute Heritage is to preserve and share the academic, artistic, and cultural contributions of Brainerd Institute. The site is currently home to Workshops in Open Fields, a program created by Dr. Vivian Ayers Allen to foster and promote preschool literacy. Fundraising efforts are focused on the restoration of the historic Kumler Hall,which will be used
to offer year-round educational and artistic opportunities.
Dr. Vivian Ayers Allen
Dr. Vivian Ayers Allen graduated from Brainerd in its final graduating class of 1939. From Brainerd she has gone on to become a celebrated poet, cultural activist, and champion for the arts. Her book of poetry Spices of Dawn was nominated for a Pulitzer prize in the 1950's, and her poem The Hawk has been honored by NASA for its use of space flight as an allegory of freedom. Her innovative educational approach in Houston, Workshops in Open Fields, was lauded and fully supported by the National Endowment of the Arts Chairman Nancy Hanks as the premier paradigm for how to approach education.