Humanities Now

December 2021

Get a Little Rest

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It seems like there is just never enough time…to do nothing. My to-do list is too long. So much of what we do every day, for work, for friends, for family…means that days are long and attention is short. If there is one thing the past year has taught me…it is to make time, take time, to do what matters most. Maybe it’s just sitting quietly with someone and looking at the stars. Or maybe it’s reading a good book while you’re waiting for that pie to come out of the oven. It has been…a tough year. I’m looking forward to whatever comes next. But first…a nap.

Brenda Thomson

Executive Director

Give a Little. Get a Lot.


We are really proud of what we accomplished this year. So many wonderful speakers and programs, so many people listening and learning, so many stories. And the best part of all…we were able to give out more grants to cultural organizations across Arizona, so that you could attend virtual programs, even when your favorite library or museum was closed for a bit. We could not have done this without your support, keep programs free and accessible to as many people as possible. Things are slowly getting better. We plan to keep going, and try to do more. It’s amazing how much you can learn about the world…with a little help. 

You Can Donate Here

Congratulations to our New Board Officers!

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Arizona Humanities has elected three new officers from our Board of Directors. Edgar Olivo is Vice Chair, Karl Kendall is Treasurer, and Dr. Tamika Sanders is Secretary.

You can learn more about the trio and the rest of theboard by reading their bios here!

Board of Directors

Mini Grants Now Open!

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Apply Today!

Arizona Humanities aims to stimulate thoughtful community exchange, build new audiences for the humanities, innovate new methods in the humanities, and advocate for the importance of the humanities for a lively and engaged democratic public. Mini Grants are small grants of up to $2,000 that are available year-round to support innovative public programs that increase understanding of the human experience. Applicants may request up to $2,000. 

Mini Grants are restricted to organizations with budgets of $500,000 or less, larger institutions may partner with a smaller institution that will lead the program or project.

For more information visit our grant opportunities page and view our Mini Grants webinar.

Register for Upcoming Climate Conversations!

State of Water: Looking Toward an Uncertain Future with Joanna Allhands

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December 9th at 4 PM MST

Does Arizona have enough water? How concerned should we be about the state’s dwindling water supply? In this 60-minute session, we’ll discuss where our water comes from, what’s threatening those supplies, and what you and the wider state can do to prepare for a hotter, drier future. Water policy is complex, but the goal is to break down the basics into understandable bites – and perhaps dispel a few myths along the way.

About the Speaker:

Joanna Allhands is digital opinions editor for The Arizona Republic, responsible for AZCentral’s online opinions content. She also writes opinions about water, education, and COVID-19 policy. Allhands has been with The Arizona Republic since 2004.

Join Here!

And stay tuned for 2022...

Climate Conversations has events planned that focus on hippie modernism to climate equity. And the future of Representation Matters has events focused on Habeas Corpus and many more on the way!

Keep up-to-date with the two series by clicking the buttons below.

Climate Conversations
Representation Matters

Book an AZ Speaks program now!

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AZ Speaks Special Promo

Organizations that have never hosted an AZ Speaks program can try the first program at no cost! Book now and note in your online application that you are a new host organization. Learn more about AZ Speaks at the link below!

Click Here!

Learn more about some of our new speakers here!

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Virgil Hancock

Discover the rich history of Bisbee through visual storytelling with Virgil Hancock, a photographer of the Southwest whose work has been featured in books, art museums, and statewide collections.

Bisbee: The Alchemical City of the Copper Borderlands

This presentation covers the 150 years of Bisbee’s history. The presentation includes a historical deep dive into the copper borderlands, as well as contemporary photographs of greater Bisbee. The presentation will use the concept of alchemy to focus on the transformation of an early mining camp in the Mule Mountains of Southern Arizona into the city of Bisbee. Alchemy also provides an excellent metaphor for the continuing transformation of the town from a half company-owned copper mining town to a contemporary, vibrant, democratic, small-town tourist leader. The indigenous peoples, the immigrants to Bisbee, the fraternal organizations, the history of violence and war, the border, the central role of women, the role of the federal government and the importance of the arts will all be reviewed.

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Amber Workman

Learn about the life of Teresa Urrea, Mexican mystic and folk icon in the Southwest, with Dr. Amber Workman, Instructor of Spanish at Arizona State University.

Teresa Urrea, the 19th-Century Mexican Mystic, in the Novel and the Newspaper

This presentation is on Teresa de Urrea, a nineteenth-century Mexican healer, mystic, and social justice advocate who was revered by many, especially the poor and oppressed and those of indigenous background. After being blamed for inciting locals to take part in what would eventually become one of the rebellions that led to the Mexican Revolution, Urrea was exiled to Nogales, Arizona. This talk looks at different representations of this folk saint in fiction and in the press, who remains a fascinating, although not always widely known, part of our Southwestern history.

Learn more about these presentations, our speakers, and more here!

Welcoming New Faces!


Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced as founding director of The Sidney Poitier New American Film School at ASU

Arizona State University has added another well-known name to its newly established film school. Highly respected American film marketing and public relations executive Cheryl Boone Isaacs will lead The Sidney Poitier New American Film School as its founding director.

Boone Isaacs will assume the directorship of the three-campus film school starting on Jan. 1, 2022. She will lead from the ASU California Center as well as from Tempe and from Mesa, which will be home to a 118,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art film and immersive media center. Learn more about Isaacs here and catch up on the Herberger Institute's newsletter here.

November Programs

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Attend Virtual AZ Humanities Programs

AZ Speaks are 60-minute presentations hosted by non-profits, libraries, educational institutions, and governmental and tribal entities to engage the public in humanities-based topics. FRANK Talks span 60-minutes and are highly interactive discussions. The purpose is to connect people to one another to talk about current issues affecting our communities. Click the links below to learn more about the events.

Understanding and Learning to Talk About Systemic Racism December 9 at 3 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Coolidge Public Library

Metalsmith Matriarchs: Makers, Memory, and Reciprocity December 9 at 6:30 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Friends of the Patagonia Library

Listening Through the Fear: Understanding Extremism in America December 14 at 6:30 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Flagstaff City – Coconino County Public Library

Ancient Snapshots: Verde Valley Family Life from the 11th to the 14th Centuries December 16 at 1 PM MST | Co-Hosted by The Museum of Casa Grande

An Uneven Landscape: Inequities in Transportation, Community Planning and Land Management December 17 at 3 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Maricopa County Library District – Southeast Regional Branch

Are you a non-profit, library, educational institution or governmental and tribal entity interested in hosting a program?

Visit our website to learn more about our exciting new list of topics. We can help you cross-market these programs to the public. 

To schedule a program or to learn more, contact Julianne Cheng at or call (602) 257-0335 x26.

Humanities Programs in the Community


Celebrate the holiday season at historic Petersen House

Starting December 4

Celebrate Christmas at the Petersen House this December! See this beautiful Queen Anne Victorian home decorated for the holiday. The house is open the first three weekends of the month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Opening weekend will be particularly special this year with music, games, hands-on art projects and holiday vendors in the lawn. On Saturday, Dec. 4th the Madrigal Singers will perform from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Hayden's Ferry Questers will have an antique and collectibles sale. Tempe History Society will have Tree of Lights ornaments available to honor a loved one. Tempe Garden Club, Community Arts and others will be on hand with various activities. Enjoy refreshments on the porch, and visit the newly renovated park. Come join us Saturday, Dec 4, 11 and 18th and Sundays, Dec. 5, 12, and 19th. Learn more here.


How Do We Begin Again?

December 7 at 7 PM PST 

It feels like it’s time for something new. Facebook and Kanye just changed their names. More than half of Americans want to change jobs, and one-third want to switch careers. Businesses are reinventing the way they operate. And social movements are trying to create new systems that are anti-racist and sustainable. Isn’t all this easier said than done? Even after confronting the challenges of the past year and a half, we are finding that our old ways are more deeply entrenched than we expected. Learn more here.


Pioneer Painter: The Life of Arizona Desert Impressionist Effie Anderson Smith

December 8 at 6 PM MST 

The largest public display of paintings by early Arizona desert impressionist Effie Anderson Smith (aka Mrs. A.Y. Smith) is in the Douglas-Williams House Museum, managed by the Douglas Historical Society. Known during her mature years as “Dean of Arizona Women Artists,” Effie painted hundreds of canvases ‘en plein air,’ which she displayed and sold while talking at Arizona’s women’s clubs, and at galleries from Los Angelesto the Grand Canyon, in Phoenix, Tucson and El Paso, and in Washington DC, Philadelphia and New York during the 1930s. This will be a lively presentation rich in photos and images of Effie’s paintings, accompanied by brief anecdotes of her life in the mining camp of Pearce and the colorful Arizona personalities she associated with as Arizona’s Pioneer Painter. Learn more here.


'What Happened Here Is Not Right': Religion, Civil Liberties and Cultures of Surveillance Since 9/11

December 9 at 4 PM PST 

Adama was a 16-year-old immigrant from Guinea in 2005 when police officers and federal agents rushed into her family’s apartment in Harlem and arrested her. She was sent to a maximum-security juvenile detention center in Pennsylvania, where she was strip-searched. Adama was released six weeks later, on the condition that she agree to continual monitoring which involved forcing her to wear an ankle bracelet for three years, as she completed high school. All of this occurred because the U.S. government suspected her of being a suicide bomber, even though no evidence was ever presented supporting this claim and no terrorism charges were ever brought against her. Adama told us, quite simply, “What’s happening here is not right.”

Learn more here.


Third Thursday Food for Thought – “Apache Warriors Tell Their Side” Presentation

December 16 at 7 PM MST 

Eve Ball (1890-1984) was a noted New Mexico chronicler of Apache, Anglo and Hispanic history. Obtaining their trust over many years, she began interviewing over 67 of the participants and descendants of those implacable warriors who fought the Apache Wars. By listening to, rather than trying to talk over, the old-timers, Eve gathered fresh information and a differing point of view long before it was popular to do so. Historian and educator Lynda A. Sánchez will present background about Eve and her stubborn desire to learn from the Apaches and from their side of the fence, and will describe what it was like working side by side with this amazing woman. Learn more here.


When We Came in to Dachau... They started to Cry & We Cried With Them

December 17 at 10 AM MST 

Jack Nemerov was born in 1917 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942, and was commissioned First Lieutenant in 1945. Captain Nemerov survived the landing at Omaha Beach, France, on June 6, 1944. Later, he helped to liberate Dachau Concentration Camp. Following World War II, Captain Nemerov’s civilian career included business owner, manufacturing representative, and management consultant for 40 years. Jack was very active in the Jewish War Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Military Order of the World Wars, Joe Foss Institute, Southern Poverty Law Center of Montgomery, USHMM, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Additionally, Capt. Nemerov established in Arizona, a Teaching Tolerance Program to combat racism and hatred, and scheduling speakers on the Holocaust. Please join, Donald Nemerov, as he relives his father’s heroism. Learn more here.


Winter Solstice Tour to Los Morteros and Picture Rocks Petroglyphs Archaeological Sites

December 21 at 8 AM MST - 12 PM MST 

The 2021 winter solstice occurs on December 21 at 8:59 a.m. Mountain Standard Time (3:59 p.m. GMT). To explore ancient people’s recognition of solstices and other calendrical events, archaeologist Allen Dart (Old Pueblo Archaeology Center’s executive director) leads this tour to Los Morteros, an ancient village site that includes a Hohokam ballcourt, bedrock mortars, and other archaeological features; and to Picture Rocks, where ancient petroglyphs include a solstice and equinox calendar marker, dancing human-like figures, whimsical animals, and other rock symbols made by Hohokam Indians between 800 and 1100 CE. Learn more here.

Humanities Across the Nation


Enjoy the NEH's Thanksgiving Virtual Bookshelf!

As the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving approaches, the materials gathered in this virtual bookshelf from NEH-funded projects, Humanities magazine, and state and jurisdictional humanities councils provide a broad picture of this important holiday. Check out the Native American Heritage Month virtual bookshelf to better understand Native culture and Native interactions with European settlers. Learn more here.

Thank You to Our November Donors

James Blasingame*

Jill Ginsburg

Andrew Krahe

Margaret and Duane Morse

Eshé Pickett*

Joan Roberts

Crys Waddell*

Drexel G. Woodson

American Online Giving Foundation, Inc.

*Board Member

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Humanities Now is published monthly by Arizona Humanities.

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.

To request this or any other agency publication in an alternative format, contact Arizona Humanities at (602-257-0335) or email

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