2018 has been quite a year for Utah Humanities!

As you may know, we said a very bittersweet farewell to Cynthia Buckingham who had been with Utah Humanities since 1983 and had served as the Executive Director for 20 years. We cherished her last annual report message and attended her farewell gathering with fond memories and overwhelming admiration.

We then fully embraced a bright, respected professional, Jodi Graham, as our new Executive Director and have continued to unfold our mission throughout the state with keen, focused vision.

We have said goodbye to board and staff members who have moved on to new adventures, said hello to new board and staff colleagues who have joined us on this humanities journey, and have strengthened existing community partnerships while developing new ones.

Ultimately, we've continued empowering Utahns to improve their communities through active engagement in the humanities. Take a look at the highlights of our work below, and join us in a year of humanities review:
Our  Special Projects give rise to unique collaborations and integrates literature, history, community conversations, and more into multi-faceted humanities programs.

2018 featured a highly successful collaboration between our Center for the Book and our Center for Community Heritage in bringing the Speaking Volumes | Transforming Hate exhibition to Utah.
  The exhibition showcased the diverse work of more than thirty artists who have transformed thousands of hateful white supremacist books into uplifting works of art. For more than 30,000 visitors to the Springville Museum of Art and the Ogden Union Station Museums, the artwork inspired reflection and meaningful conversation. Both institutions found the exhibition to be thought-provoking for their audiences and well-received by their communities.

Our  Center for the Book fosters a love of books as well as the exploration of contemporary issues through literature.

2018 gave rise to our 21 st annual
Utah Humanities Book Festival which spanned six weeks in September and October. Events featured a wide range of topics and genres, and included writers such as the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tyehimba Jess (who captivated an auditorium-filled audience for nearly two hours), local author Brandon Mull (who wows tweens each year), and widespread participation in The Great American Read . Another stunning, statewide experience, this year's book festival featured 125 events in 23 communities and reached just upwards of 12,000 people. We sent weekly Book Blasts to keep everyone informed about each event and collaborated with scores of partners and supporters across the state. In addition to the very focused book festival weeks, our Center for the Book collaborated on individual literary events throughout the year designed to engage smaller audiences. This work resulted in partnering on 53 events around the state in 10 different communities and drew total attendance of just over 7,000, including hundreds of talented, ecstatic tweens for this Tween Author Boot Camp.
Our Center for Community Heritage  encourages Utahns to explore, preserve, and share their unique local history, culture, and traditions.

2018  wrapped up a year-long tour of the Smithsonian exhibition The Way We Worked , which  served nearly 125,000 people  during its run. As a result of this influential and far-reaching project, Utah Humanities was  selected as a 2018 Award of Merit winner by the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) . Received by Megan van Frank, the AASLH Leadership in History Awards is the nation's most prestigious competition for recognition of achievement in state and local history. As part of The Way We Worked tour, stories from the  Beehive Archive now represent an even more comprehensive Utah narrative and the entire collection is currently online . Also, in partnership with Utah Division of Arts & Museums and the Utah Division of State History, our Center for Community Heritage launched  StEPs-UT , a two-year pilot program designed to help Utah museums improve their capacity across a range of core practices. Through monthly training and mentored on-site work, participants are building stronger institutions that serve and reflect their communities.
Our Center for Educational Access uses the humanities to expand educational opportunities for historically excluded people of all ages.

2018 was a year of cementing and expanding our education programs. In what is becoming a measureable legacy, our Clemente Course has been underway at East High School in Salt Lake City since 2013 and continues to evolve. The course is also now in its second highly successful year at West High School and has expanded to include a second, even more advanced course. Specifically during this 2018-2019 school year, West High launched Clemente 2, a course for Clemente graduates that offers a next step toward college. In Clemente 2, students deepen their humanities exploration and upon completion, students receive concurrent enrollment college credit. The University of Utah College of Humanities visited the Clemente 2 class and wrote about the students' experiences and what the class means to them. In addition, we continue developing partnerships to expand Clemente to Provo High School. And finally, our Venture Course for adults continues in Ogden and Cedar City with partnerships continuing at Westminster for new work in South Salt Lake, and partnerships developing in Ephraim and Logan as potential new sites. While a new school year is currently underway, 2018 also saw a heartfelt graduation at Weber State University last spring.
supports grassroots humanities projects where communities identify important issues and use the humanities to address them.

2018 saw a year of development and transition for our work in local initiatives. Our grants continued in full, successful force with Competitive Grants, Quick Grants, Oral History Grants, and Research Fellowships. Each grant and fellowship gives us an opportunity to help support local ideas and humanities experiences that are highly relevant to individual communities. These local ideas also connect Utah communities to the larger world around them, such as with a Brigham City Library discussion led by scholar Nicola Corbin on the book The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears In addition, our Community Conversations started out the year with a Discussion Leader Training . This two-day, no-cost event was an opportunity for participants to finetune their planning and facilitation skills. In a world where better listening and dialogue can lead to better understanding and solutions, we know that discussions centered through a humanities lens can bridge many gaps . As such, we have also embarked on a six-month pilot program called Utah Conversations. The new and exciting feature is that groups with diverse backgrounds will commit to sustained, facilitated conversations once a month for six months. The potential results will be increased trust, deeper understanding, and real progress towards improved communities.

We feel fortunate for having experienced such a successful 2018 and we look forward to partnering with each of you
for an even better 2019!


"Democracy and the Informed Citizen" Quick Grants Available!

           Programs can range from community conversations to public forums and lectures, teacher institutes to student workshops, and from broadcasts, podcasts, and livestream events to environmental hikes and public summits. Within the diverse formats, subjects, and audiences, is the common exploration of what it means to be an informed citizen in today's society.

Utah Humanities is pleased to be participating in a national Pulitzer Prize initiative. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Federation of State Humanities Councils, and the Pulitzer Prizes have joined forces to provide funding to state humanities councils for public programming with the theme "Democracy and the Informed Citizen." 

Utah Humanities is seeking grant applicants around the state to highlight the critical role of journalism in our democracy using Pulitzer Prize-winning works and prize recipients. 

Grants will be awarded up to $1,500 for programming occurring through February 28, 2019.  Applications are being accepted now with a final  deadline of Friday,
January 4, 2019

Read the Guidelines and Application, and learn more  about the nationwide Democracy and the Informed Citizen initiative.

We hope you will participate in this timely opportunity! Please feel free to share with your circle of contacts.

For more information, contact Caitlin McDonald, Utah Humanities' Program Officer for the Center for Local Initiatives, at mcdonald@utahhumanities.org or 801.359.9670 x105.