Humanities Now
December 2019
Announcing the 2020 Humanities Awards Winners!
Arizona Humanities is proud to announce the recipients of the 2020 Humanities Awards. Every year we honor and celebrate outstanding contributions to the humanities in our state. Since the inaugural awards in 1990, Arizona Humanities has recognized individuals who have advanced the humanities in Arizona through their scholarship, leadership, support and advocacy.
The Humanities Award categories are: Humanities Public Scholar, Friend of the Humanities, Humanities Rising Star, Outstanding Supporter, and Founder's Community Partner This year's recipients are:

A lifelong Arizonan, Paul Hirt is an historian and practitioner of the public and environmental humanities specializing in the American West, environmental history, environmental policy, and sustainability studies. Hirt is  Professor of History in Arizona State University's School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies and Senior Sustainability Scholar in ASU's Global Institute of Sustainability. He is a public historian of the American West, and an exemplary candidate for this honor.

Aguila Youth Leadership Institute -


 AGUILA Youth Leadership Institute (AGUILA) was founded in 2004 based on more than 30 years of research and experience on how to positively impact our communities through education. In its 15 years of operation AGUILA has successfully guided more than 1,400 youth to 135 colleges/universities across the United States with scholarships totaling more $120 million beyond federal aid. Eighty-seven percent of AGUILA students are first in their family to attend college with eighty-five percent meeting or falling below federal poverty guidelines. Many of these students receive little or no guidance on college, career and life. Today AGUILA Alumni are employed as teachers, nurses, doctors, engineers, business professionals, entrepreneurs, research scientists, and more. AGUILA student success is evident through their educational and profession achievements and through civic service.
Image courtesy of Phoenix New Times
Rosaura  Magaña -

Rosaura "Chawa" Magaña is a bookseller, cultural worker, literary organizer, safe-space creator, healing presence, compassionate listener, principled voice, and the owner/operator of Palabras Bilingual Bookstore. Magaña has created a unique space that has shifted the cultural landscape of Phoenix to be more inclusive, equitable, and artistically enriched. Her tireless advocacy and community-centered approach has impacted many people. She has given a voice to people of color, and also fostered community connections and growth.
Photo courtesy of Arizona PBS

Judith Hardes is a longtime financial supporter of Arizona Humanities. She is a local philanthropist and recipient of the 2018 Governor's Arts Award for philanthropy for her lifelong commitment to arts and culture, and for her encouragement of others to give to arts and culture. Hardes has donated annually to Arizona Humanities for 20 years. She is the most consistent donor that we can identify. This means a lot to us and the organizations that receive grants and attend our cultural programs across the state.  "Those who support arts and culture through their generous philanthropy are deeply vital to the long-term success and vitality of so many nonprofit organizations...Judith is among the most ardent, consistent and important donors in Arizona through her unwavering commitment to and enthusiasm for the performing arts." Rusty Foley, AZ Citizens for the Arts.

Karen O'Keefe is an outstanding educator with a focus on K-12 literacy, and a unique passion for connecting students to the community through her extensive outreach efforts. O'Keefe seeks out people in the community to support the literacy programs including retired and working individuals, illustrators, artists, authors, and even family members of the students. She also enlists the support of countless community-based, nonprofit and corporate organizations.  O'keefe's community-based events both inside and outside the school, have recast the importance of literacy for the entire school. She is the recipient of many awards of excellence from the Washington School District for her innovative/interactive learning programs including PencilPALS, Multi-Cultural Day, Young Authors DayFamily Reading Nights, and Read Across America Day.

The Arizona Humanities Awards event will take place on April 5 at the Heard Museum. Please check back for event details at .

AZ Humanities Happenings
Upcoming FRANK Talks

Wednesday, December  11 @ 5:00 pm

We come from different places and backgrounds. Our life experiences and backgrounds can affect the way we see the world and each other, for better or worse. What is implicit bias, and how does it shape our attitudes and actions towards others? How do stereotypes affect our understanding, actions, and decisions? "Implicit bias" can cause us to have feelings and attitudes about other people based on characteristics such as race, ethnicity, age, and appearance. How can we learn to navigate the world we see "through our eyes," and the world as seen through the eyes of people different from us?

Wednesday, December 11 @ 6:30 pm

What is an ally? As a White person, do you struggle with how to respond to racism at work, at home or in your community? If so, you are not alone. Many allies seek effective tools to engage in honest and productive conversations about race. How do you talk to White friends, relatives and neighbors about race? How do you address conflicting opinions about current events, politics and cultural differences? This program focuses on developing concrete skills to navigate encounters with people who are skeptical that racism is a problem, and further your understanding of specific actions to foster racial equity.

New programs added regularly. Check out our  online calendar to stay updated!

Sharing the Light: An Interfaith Holiday Concert
Wednesday, December 18 - 6:30 pm
Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church
1401 E. Jefferson St. Phoenix, AZ 85034 

People of all faiths are invited to join the Arizona Jewish Historical Society, Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church and Congregation Beth Israel for an exciting interfaith concert. This event will feature Christmas and Hanukkah music from Jewish and African-American spiritual traditions to promote a dialogue between the two communities as well as people of all races and religions. 
"This concert is the second in a series of events to promote better relations between our local African-American and Jewish communities.   While Jewish and African Americans have often been allies in the struggle for Civil Rights in our country, we have not always fully understood the deeper historical, cultural, and religious experiences that undergird each of our communities. This concert provides people of all faiths a unique opportunity to experience Jewish and African-American culture through music and fellowship, and to celebrate our differences as well as our common humanity." Lawrence  Bell, Ph.D Executive Director, Arizona Jewish Historical Society. 

An Evening With Poet Laureate  Rosemarie Dombrowski

Friday, January 31, 2020
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Arizona Humanities
1242 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004

Join us for an intimate evening of poetry. Professor  Rosemarie Dombrowski is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Phoenix. She is the founding editor of rinky dink press (a publisher of micro-collections of micro-poetry) and  The Revolution (Relaunch) , a radical and creative resurgence of the official newspaper of the National Woman's Suffrage Association. Dombrowski is the recipient of five Pushcart nominations, an Arts Hero Award, a Women & Philanthropy grant, and a fellowship from the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics.  Dombrowski is the co-founder of the student-educated publication,  Write On, Downtown: A Journal of Phoenix Writing , she also teaches courses on women's literature, medical poetry, and journal curation/editing at ASU.

Smithsonian Water/Ways
Water/Ways  Opens in Black Canyon City Saturday, December 14

Arizona Humanities is proud to bring Water/Ways, a Smithsonian Museum on Main Street traveling exhibition, to Arizona.This month  Water/Ways opens in Black Canyon City.
Black Canyon City is located twenty miles north of Phoenix, just inside Yavapai County. The Agua Fria River, which starts in Prescott Valley, runs through Black Canyon City and the Black Canyon Heritage Park. Most of its waters end up in Lake Pleasant, but the Agua Fria does not end there. Although now mostly dry below the lake, with enough rainfall the river can come alive for a while, and flow far enough to meet the Gila River west of Phoenix.  
The area around Black Canyon City was part of traditional Yavapai territory. The migratory Yavapai people followed an annual route that maximized their ability to hunt animals and gather ripening plants.  Settlers founded the town in the 1870s. It was a stopover on the stage route that ran from Prescott to Phoenix, and a supply center for miners working in the nearby Bradshaw Mountains. The town adopted several names as it struggled to stay on the map, including Goddard, after the first postmaster, and Cañon, later expanded into Black Canyon. Today, Black Canyon City is an unincorporated, census-designated place. 
Farewell Tubac!

Waterways departed Tubac December 1, but not before making a big splash in the in the small community. 

Thanks to the efforts of Tubac Presido State Historic Park staff and volunteers, and the Lowe House Project, visitors to exhibit experience the past, present and future of water in Southern Arizona through art, performance, and a dash of storytelling.
To hear about all of the wonderful programming put on by Tubac, check out the  Humanities Now Blog.

Now Available!
A Living River report for the Santa Cruz River - Nogales Wash to Amado

The Sonoran Institute is pleased to present the latest Living River report for the Santa Cruz from Nogales Wash to Amado, focused on the 2018 water year. This reach of the river has seen tremendous improvements since we released the first report in 2008. Water conditions are no longer toxic and the endangered Gila topminnow is thriving again.
However, issues of contamination and water security remain. Binational solutions benefiting both sides of the border are needed to provide lasting protection for this unique and spectacular river. We can assure clean, ample water by working together.
Read this report online or get a copy by visiting the Sonoran Institute booth at La Fiesta de Tumacacori on Saturday, December 7.

More Cultural Programs From Our Friends and Affiliates
Brown Bag Lecture: Dinosaur Wars with Kevin Schindler

Monday, December 9, 2019
12:15 - 1:00 p.m.

Riordan Mansion State Historic Park 409 W. Riordan Rd., Flagstaff

The Gilded Age is remembered as a time of corruption and unscrupulous behavior among businessmen and politicians. This nefarious behavior transcended into science, where two paleontologists-Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh-went from friendly collaborators to bitter rivals. Through thievery, bribery, and bullying, they tried to outdo and embarrass each other at every step. In the process, they led expeditions around the American West that led to some of the greatest dinosaur discoveries ever. Free! Presented by Kevin Schindler.

A Place For All People  Exhibition Closes December 31
Arizona Historical Society Arizona Heritage Center
1300 N College Ave Tempe, AZ 85281

December is your last chance to see  A Place For All People . This exhibition explores the African American experience, through a series of posters from the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture. The posters serve as the backdrop for displays telling the story of African Americans in Arizona. From the churches and schools to the boardroom; to the battlefields and to the neighborhood barbershops and beauty shops where important news of the day was discussed - the stories weave a rich tapestry of African American heritage.
Grand Opening: 
The Great Migration: Indiscernables in Arizona

January 10, 2020 - 6-8pm
Heritage Square, 7th St. and Monroe, Phoenix, AZ.
The Bungalow across from Arizona Science Center

The Great Migration was the relocation of more than six million African Americans from the rural South to the cities of the North, Midwest and West from about 1915 to 1970. Despite the significant growth of the state's African American population during this period, the impact of this migration has had little acknowledgment, marginalizing and rendering indiscernible black folks and their stories. This exhibit explores shared threads of experience surrounding the migration. It provides a glimpse into the lives of ordinary black Arizonans. It celebrates the survival of the ancestors and the establishment of enduring and thriving communities in the Valley.  Music and refreshments  Speakers:  Clottee Hammons, Emancipation Arts, LLC, and more.
Current State , an Exhibition featuring Thomas "Breeze" Marcus

Open Through September 26, 2020 
Arizona Historical Society Arizona Heritage Center
1300 N College Ave Tempe, AZ 85281

This new exhibition explores the stories of one of the oldest tribal cultures of central and Southern Arizona, and how one artist uses that history to reflect on the past, present, and future of our state. Thomas "Breeze" Marcus, an enrolled member of the Tohono O'odham Nation, was raised in the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community and Phoenix, Arizona. His style combines influences from graffiti subculture and traditional Tohono O'odham symbolism to talk about issues such as water and the border.  Current State  will be on  view through September 26, 2020. 
Premiere:  "You Racists, Sexist, Bigot"

Thursday, January 16, 2020   6PM Admission $10.00
Film Presentation: Estrella Mountain Community College-Performing Arts Center-3000 N Dysart, Avondale, AZ

YWCA Metro Phoenix in collaboration with Vision and Sound, EMCC and WVAC presents the award-winning documentary:  " You Racist, Sexist, Bigot." Panel discussion follows with local community leaders  and the Filmmakers. Preview the Movie Trailer and buy Tickets  at

Humanities Update! What We Learned at the 2020 National Humanities Conference
The National Humanities Conference was both a rich cultural and educational experience. This was the first time the national conference took place in Hawaii, and was made possible by a unique partnership with the Hawaii,  Guåhan, American Samoa, and  Northern Mariana Islands Humanities councils.

"Once again the Federation and the four island groups of Oceania hosted an excellent  conference."Roots and Routes:.Navigation, Migration and Exchange in the 21st Century"  addressed a wide range of issues the island communities face and mirror national needs including the effects of immigration, education and climate change.  Arizona Humanities, with the leadership of Brenda Thomson, was often recognized and praised by so many for providing support of forward thinking programming with our many partners and grantees" Mary Lu Nunley, Board Chair.

The setting was beautiful and provided a unique opportunity to explore the rich history, culture, and landscape of the islands.  "A highlight for me was the opening ceremony. I enjoyed learning about the music, language, and history. There were dark moments from colonialism, and ongoing damage from natural disasters, but there were also moments of beauty and light, such as the traditional wedding ceremony. The people were generous hosts that made us feel welcome throughout our brief stay." Brenda Thomson, Executive Director.

Upcoming NEH Grant Deadlines
Application Due January 30, 2020

The Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections (SCHC) program helps cultural institutions meet the complex challenge of preserving large and diverse holdings of humanities materials for future generations by supporting sustainable conservation measures that mitigate deterioration, prolong the useful life of collections, and support institutional resilience: the ability to anticipate and respond to disasters resulting from natural or human activity.

CLICK HERE for more information
Thank you to our November Donors
Mary Lu Nunley*
Eshé Pickett*
Rodo & Susan Sofranac/Thrivent Choice
Judy & Jim Walsh
Emerson Yearwood*
Arizona Community Foundation
PayPal Special Campaigns
  Dana Jamison, MD
  Lynette & Paul Murphy in Honor of Marilyn Murphy

*Arizona Humanities Board Member
About Arizona Humanities
Arizona Humanities is a statewide 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the Arizona affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Since 1973, Arizona Humanities has supported public programs that promote the understanding of the human experience with cultural, educational, and nonprofit organizations across Arizona.

Arizona Humanities builds a just and civil society by creating opportunities to explore our shared human experiences through discussion, learning and reflection.
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