Humanities Now -  July 2018
Grantee Highlight: Vail Preservation Society's Voices of Vail Documentary Film Premiere August 12

The story of America is written in its small towns. The Voices of Vail documentary follows Vail, Arizona, The Town Between the Tracks™, through a century of change. It is a celebration of the people, history, and remarkable natural beauty that make Vail special. The film is accompanied by an original overture, written by Tucson Symphony Young Composer, Claire Thai, which will be performed by the Vail Youth Symphony live onstage before the film. A Q&A and casual reception will follow the film.

Voices of Vail film shoot in Cienega Creek with the Tohono O'odham Basket Singers and Elder Joseph Joaquin.
Vail is now one of the fastest growing areas in Arizona. But, in 1880, it was a tiny railroad siding serving ranchers and miners whose very existence, like that of the people who preceded them, depended on the life- giving waters of Cienega Creek. Recent and rapid growth threaten the bonds of community and respect for the land that sustained Vail into the 21st century. Voices of Vail provides a vision for a path forward that acknowledges the need to live harmoniously with the Sonoran Desert, and honors the traditions that came before us.

Voices of Vail is produced by Vail Preservation Society and brought to the silver screen by local film makers Dennis Farris and Gerald Lamb. The project was the recipient of the  Arizona Humanities  Storying Arizona grant.

Voices of Vail Premiere
Sunday, August 12, 2018
2:00 p.m. Red Carpet Matinee
Fox Theatre, 17 W. Congress Street, Tucson, AZ 85701
Tickets: Adults $5.00, 18 & under free. More information at
Water/Ways Wraps in Bisbee July 15 and Opens in Fort Apache July 28

San Pedro River Walk Program on July 7, courtesy Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum

Six weeks goes by fast! The last day to see  Water/Ways in Bisbee at the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum is this Sunday, July 15th! After packing up, the exhibit will travel to the Fort Apache and Theodore Roosevelt School National Historic Landmark.

During Bisbee's time hosting Water/Ways, visitors experienced a diverse array of programs including: learning about xeriscaping, how the wastewater treatment facility works, exploring Bisbee's "bromance" with water, and the history of copper mining. 

Next month, even though Water/Ways will be gone, the museum will partner with the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension's WaterWise and Energy Smart Program for a photography exhibit curated from the Water Conservation kids workshops. The photography exhibit, created by kids for kids, will be on display at the Bisbee Community Pool during the month of August.

Fort Apache and Theodore School National Historic Landmark
Water/Ways at Fort Apache and Theodore Roosevelt School National Historic Landmark
July 28 - September 9, 2018
Building 104, General Crook St., Fort Apache, AZ
Brought to you by the Fort Apache Heritage Foundation, Inc.
Info at: 928-338-4625 or

WaterSim Arizona: A Teaching Tool for Rural Arizona 

WaterSim Teacher Training in Sierra Vista, AZ courtesy DCDC

Arizona faces new challenges in the 21st century including long-term drought, the impact of climate change, and reduced public funding. These challenges require new approaches to water sustainability that focus on choices, priorities, and smart investments. How will Arizona choose to use our available water to sustain our economy, quality of life, and natural environment?

Decision Center for a Desert City (DCDC) at Arizona State University has created a water simulation model called WaterSim Arizona. Using water data, this simulation game mimics the water supply and use dynamics for five distinct regions in the state of Arizona. Visitors to the Water/Ways exhibit can use the WaterSim Arizona kiosk to see the impact of their decisions as they balance water supplies and demand in their region. People of all ages will learn that there are tradeoffs as they manage Arizona's water.

Planning fall and spring programs? Check out AZ Speaks 

Speaker Jim Turner, photo courtesy Jean Reynolds and the Chandler Public Library
AZ Speaks is a great way for non-profits, libraries, educational institutions, K-12 schools, governmental and tribal entities to enjoy interesting and engaging humanities-based programs. AZ Speaks presenters come from diverse professional backgrounds with expertise in a variety of areas including: history, cultural, gender studies, and more.

Arizona Humanities funds hundreds of AZ Speaks presentations each year. In 2017, there were 220 AZ Speaks programs in 51 communities reaching over 12,300 people. This is a very popular program, so don't delay!
  • Organizations can book up to 5 AZ Speaks presentations per fiscal year (November 1 - October 31).
  • There is a $100 cost share fee for each Road Scholar program.
  • Arizona Humanities covers the cost of speaker honoraria, travel, lodging, and meals.
Poetry Reading On The Rise

According to a new study from the Poetry Coalition, there are some exciting statistics on the number of people reading and engaging with poetry. Highlights include: 
  • Nearly 29 million of U.S. adults read poetry not required for work or school, the highest rate on record over a 15-year-period of conducting the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts.
  • Young adults are the fastest growing group of poetry readers among all age groups. Among 18-24-year-olds, the poetry-reading rate has doubled, to 17.5 percent in 2017, up from 8.7 percent in 2012.
  • African Americans, Asian Americans, and other non-white, non-Hispanic groups now read poetry at the highest rates.
In the News: Water/Ways KJZZ Interview and AZ Central Op-Ed in Support of Libraries

In June, Arizona Humanities Executive Director Brenda Thomson stopped by KJZZ Phoenix for an interview with Mark Brodie to talk about the Water/Ways  Smithsonian exhibit and 
water stories in rural Arizona.

Brenda also joined fellow Phoenix Library Advisory Board member, freelance writer and former Arizona Republic opinions writer 
Burton Barr Library, photo via Wikimedia Commons
Kathleen Ingley on an op-ed on the importance of public libraries. The  Burton Barr Central Library, reopened on June 16. 

Advocacy Update 

There is some good news to share about future funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). As the appropriations process makes it way through Congress, the Senate appropriations subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies joined its House counterpart in recommending a $2 million increase for the NEH. This would bring NEH's funding to $155 million for FY 2019 (beginning October 1). Thank you for your continued support of the arts and humanities in Arizona. As Congress continues their budget negotiations, w e will continue to be optimistic and keep you informed of any updates. 

NEH News and Other Opportunities

Check out the recorded NEH webinar about the Public Humanities Projects Grant. This grant is due August 15 and "support[s] projects that bring the ideas and insights of the humanities to life for general audiences." Projects can include: community conversations, exhibitions, and programs for historic sites. Learn more and watch the webinar via dropbox.

Photo by Vincent Ricardel, courtesy Humanities Magazine
Meet John Parrish Peede, the eleventh chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Prior to becoming Chairman, Peede (pronounced PEE-dee) has worked in university and magazine publishing and at the National Endowment for the Arts, where, under former Chairman Dana Gioia, he served in numerous positions, including director of literature and counselor to the chairman. After leaving NEA, he became the publisher of VQR, the distinguished literary magazine published at the University of Virginia. Read the Humanities Magazine interview.
Highlighted July Programs

Check out programs on our website calendar.

Arizona's Wild Myths and Legends with Jim Turner
Saturday, July 14 @ 1:00 pm 
Phippen Museum
4701 U.S. HWY 89N
Prescott, AZ 86301
Smithsonian Water/Ways Exhibit - Bisbee *Last Day!!*
Sunday, July 15 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum
5 Copper Queen Plz
Bisbee, AZ 85603
Liz Warren at the Payson Book Festival
Saturday, July 21 @ 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
Mazatzal Hotel and Casino
Highway 87, Mile Marker 251
Payson, AZ 85541
Barrio Grrrl Performance and Discussion
Grant Recipient
Friday, July 13 @ 7:00 pm and Saturday, July 14 @ 2:00 pm
First United Methodist Church
110 Indian Cliff Rd
Sedona, AZ 86336
The Social Buzz 

A few popular articles from our facebook and twitter feeds. Follow us to stay in the know! 
  • Poetry Is Making A Big Comeback In The U.S., Survey Results Reveal via NPR
  • Eats and Beats: Collaboration Puts The 'Pub' In Public Library via KNAU
  • Why the humanities matter now more than ever via Dallas Morning News
  • Spoonfuls Of Stonehenge: Modern Ice Cream Flavors Inspired By History via NPR
  • How a humanities degree will serve you in a disruptive economy via The Conversation
Thank you to our June donors

Phoenix Squaw Peak Rotary Club, Inc.
Mr. Ryan Bruce*
Mr. Ken de Masi
Mr. Karl Kendall*
Ms. Mary Lu Nunley*
Mr. Emerson Yearwood*

*Arizona Humanities Board Member
Important Dates
  • August 17 - Board of Directors Meeting
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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