Humanities Now
June 2020
AZ Humanities Happenings
Our Fathers
June is the month when we celebrate Father's Day in the U.S. It is a day celebrated around the world at different times, and in different ways, but for the same honor fathers, and to celebrate the contributions of fathers to society. This year Father's Day is different for me. I lost my father last April. I cannot help but think of the many ways that he influenced me through his actions and his words. I remember him fixing my roller skates when the wheels kept getting stuck. He taught me how to plant things in the garden. I picked seeds from the pictures in the seed catalogue. I hadn't actually eaten a radish before or even heard of dill, but I grew these, and sold them in a little stand by the road for a nickel. He taught me how to fix things. But mostly he taught me how to see things differently. He didn't see a wobbly chair or an old desk as broken; he saw them as projects that with a little "spit and polish" could be brand new. I learned to paint, sand, glue and varnish, whether it was Barbie's playhouse or a dropleaf antique desk. He taught me about people too. When it snowed hard in Buffalo, New York, he was the neighbor using his snowblower to clear every driveway on the block.  No one asked him to; he just did it. He took care of his family, his community and his country; he was a Korean war veteran. He put all six kids through college and graduate school, no small feat for a security guard. He treated people with respect, even when he was not. He taught us to speak up for ourselves and others, and to forgive those who did not know any better, when they mistreated his children because of the color of their skin. He was not a perfect person, but he wanted his children to be safe, and do good in the world. And so we have.
Bynum Earnest Thomas
1933 - 2019
Our nation's forefathers were fathers too, both literally and figuratively. In creating a nation founded upon democracy, they described in the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence certain unalienable rights. Unalienable rights are basically rights that every person has, that the government cannot take away or infringe upon. Liberty, freedom, the pursuit of happiness, are among these, and what sets us apart as a nation. But democracy only works if we  uphold it, value it, protect it, fight for it. Democracy depends not  just on words and principles, but on actions. I know these forefathers were not perfect. No one is. I'd like to believe that despite their failings, like all fathers they wanted the people of our country to be safe and do good. They saw the world through the lens of their own experiences, as we do now.  The good news is that we see women, and people of color, and children differently. The world has changed and will keep changing, but the value of human life will not. It is precious still. I know this, because I miss my father every single day.
Brenda Thomson
Executive Director
We Are Here For You

Arizona Humanities is here for you. We understand that these are turbulent times. People are hurting. Every day brings new challenges as we try to make sense of what is happening in the world. That is what the humanities are all about...people. We provide opportunities for people to learn about the world and each other, to learn from the past, act in the present, and shape the future... together.  Read, read, and read some more. Talk to your family, friends, neighbors and strangers. Consider ideas and opinions different from your own. Listen with your hearts and minds. Humanity matters. What comes next is up to you.

Coming Soon!
Virtual AZ Speaks and FRANK Talks Programs

Dear Friends

We are pleased to announce that we are launching  virtual  AZ Speaks and FRANK Talk presentations. Several of you have expressed an interest in  virtual  programs. Please note that we have made this a priority. We understand that AZ Speaks and FRANK Talks programs are popular not only because of the topics and speakers, but also because of the opportunity for public interaction. So while these  virtua l programs may use some new technology, they will still include live Q&A with program Presenters and Facilitators. Our goal is to make sure AZ Speaks and FRANK Talks programs are accessible to old fans, and new ones.
Smithsonian Voices and Votes Opens in Prescott!
June 20, 2020
Prescott Public Library
215 E Goodwin St. Prescott, AZ 86303

Voices and Votes: Democracy in America, a Smithsonian Museum on Main Street traveling exhibition, begins its Arizona tour in Prescott this month. Designed for small-town museums, libraries and cultural organizations, the exhibit is a place to convene community conversations about what it means to be a citizen, and examine the context and main controversies behind America's democratic system. Host communities will develop complementary exhibits, host public programs, and facilitate educational initiatives to deepen people's understanding of our nation's democratic system.

Upcoming Voices and Votes Events

Voices and Votes Virtual Movie Series: Miss Virginia
Wednesday, June 17 @ 6:00 - 8:00 pm

Based on a true story, a struggling inner-city mother sacrifices everything to give her son a good education and launches a movement that could save his future, and that of thousands like him. Presented with funding from the Friends of the Prescott Public Library. Rated PG-13.  For information email  or call (928) 777 1526

The U.S. Constitution: What it Says and How it Works
Thursday, June 25 @ 6:00 - 7:00 pm

Thomas J. Davis, historian, lawyer and ASU professor of U.S. constitutional and legal history will speak about how the Constitution provides principles for federal relations with the nation's constituent states, citizens, and inhabitants. Davis will discuss the concepts and composition of the document that functions as the legal foundation and framework of the nation.   Presented with funding from the Friends of the Prescott Public Library.  Email  or call  (928) 777 1526  to receive the Zoom* invitation.*Call in option available, no computer required.

ASU Professors Laura Tohe and Rosemarie Dombrowski Awarded Academy of American Poets Fellowships!

The Academy of American Poets has announced its 2020 Poets Laureate Fellows . These 23 individuals serve as Poets Laureate of states, cities, counties, and the Navajo Nation and will be leading civic poetry programs in their respective communities in the year ahead. They will each receive $50,000 for a combined total of $1.1 million. In addition, the Academy will also provide $75,500 to 13 local 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations that have agreed to support the fellows' proposed projects.  Among this year's fellows are Laura Tohe and Rosemarie Dombrowski, two ASU professors who have a long history spreading their love for, and knowledge of, poetry across Arizona. We look forward to seeing what they will accomplish with the help of the Academy of American Poets. Read more about Tohe and Dombrowski  below.
Laura Tohe  holds a Ph.D. in Indigenous American Literature. She is Professor Emerita with Distinction at Arizona State University and is the Navajo Nation Poet Laureate for 2015-2019 . She has received numerous awards not only for her literary work, but also for her community engagement, including the 2006 Arizona Humanities Dan Shilling Public Scholar Award. 

"I come from stories and a language that inspired me to become a writer, even though growing up on the Navajo Nation homeland I wasn't introduced to poetry until high school. My Poets Laureate Fellowship award is a recognition of my family, poets, and teachers who encouraged and helped me learn the beauty and power of poetry to write words for truth, healing, understanding, and for all the ways poetry touches us. I'm thrilled to receive this fellowship and thankful to the Academy of American Poets and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for this honor and to be among a group of distinguished American poets selected for this fellowship. It is a wonderful acknowledgment of the presence of Navajo and Indigenous poetry among American letters and will enable me to bring and support poetry programs to the Navajo community." Laura Tohe
Rosemarie Dombrowski is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Phoenix. She is the founding editor of both rinky dink press (a publisher of micro-collections of micro-poetry) and The Revolution (Relaunch), a creative resurgence of the official newspaper of the National Woman's Suffrage Association. She is a Principle Lecturer at University of Arizona's Downtown Phoenix Campus where she teaches courses on radical poetics, women's literature, creative ethnography, and medical poetry.

"The AAP fellowship gives me the ability to inject poetry into the community in intersectional, intergenerational, and interactive ways. And that's what poetry needs -- dynamism, accessibility, new believers in its powers. And the Phoenix Poetry Walk (April 2021), which will showcase dozens of literary arts organizations and hundreds of voices -- and give attendees dozens of ways to "plug into poetry" -- will hopefully make poetry part of the vernacular in  Phoenix, just like murals and public art."  Rosemarie Dombrowski
More Humanities Programs from our Friends and Affiliates
Virtual Book Dicsussion:
The English Teacher, by Yiftach Reicher Atir
Thursday, June 11 @ 2:00 pm
Documentary Screening:  
Holy Land Hard Ball by Brett Rapkin and Erik Kesten
Streaming June 12 - 14
Post film discussion to be held via Zoom on Tuesday, June 16  @ 7pm

Do you miss baseball? Then join us for this fascinating look at an effort to bring America's favorite pastime to the people of Israel. When Boston bagel maker Larry Baras wanted to create a professional baseball league in Israel, his idea was met with incredulity, dismissal and even hostility. He attempted it anyway. Email  lbell@ to RSVP and receive online admission.
Phoenix Center for the Arts Online Classes

Keep the kids' minds active this summer with online youth programs from Phoenix Center for the Arts! From comics to painting to midfulness, there's something for a variety of ages and interests.

Comic Zines for Teens
Wednesdays June 17 - 24 @  2:45 - 4:00 pm
Ages 12-17
Cost: $82.00

Comic Zines for Teens is a two-week exploration of how to transform an original storyline into a self-published 8-panel comic zine. This class will focus on storytelling, illustration, and the art of zine-making.  CLICK HERE  to sign up.

Mindful Mornings Teen Art Club 
Thursdays June 18 - July 17 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Ages 12-17
Cost: $167.00

This class borrows from the philosophy of mindfulness and draws on teachings from Lynda Barry, known for her eclectic and approachable style of teaching for all learners. The content is geared for teenage learners with an interest in multiple mediums. We will be focusing more on the process of creation rather than the finished product as we work in our sketchbooks with watercolors, colored pencils, collage, mandalas, and more! This low-pressure class will teach students to approach creativity from a place of peace. By the end of 6 weeks, we will have a fun and diverse array of projects compiled in our own sketchbooks.  CLICK HERE  to sign up.

Kids Painting at Home
Wednesdays June 4 - Aug 5 @ 2:00 - 2:45 pm
Ages 6-9
Cost: $209

This class is for youth, ages 6-9, to create and paint art using materials found in their home.  CLICK HERE  to sign up.
Upcoming Grants and Awards Deadlines
Phoenix Arts and Culture:  Individual Artist Grants Available

The Phoenix City Council approved using federal Coronavirus Relief Funding to help artists hurting financially because of the global health emergency. The City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture announced the Arts and Culture Coronavirus Relief Program for Individual Artists. This grant program will help support working artists, teaching artists, and other artist-based contract workers that have experienced canceled events and residencies or terminated contracts because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic crisis.  Grants are up to $1,500 and events, residencies, or contracts for which an individual is claiming lost income must have been scheduled between March 1 - June 30, 2020. 

The guidelines are now available, and  the application will open for 24 hours on Wednesday, June 10, 2020. Learn more to start preparing an application at .
Art Matters: Arizona Arts Funds Are at Risk

With COVID-19 bearing down in March, the Arizona State Legislature passed a "skinny budget" for Fiscal Year 2021 with the intention of reconvening to consider more comprehensive legislation at a later date. No allocation for the arts was present in the skinny budget, and last week, the State Legislature ended its session without making additional adjustments.
Without a state funding allocation, and with their remaining state funding stream, the Arts Trust Fund, experiencing a decline (as it is dependent on business filing fees), the Arts Commission is projecting an overall budget contraction of at least $2.5 million from this year to next. This will be the largest, fastest contraction in the agency record; nothing in recession-era history even comes close.  For more information visi
Arizona Community Foundation  COVID-19 Resources of Nonprofits

Funds released on a rolling basis
  CLICK HERE  to apply

The Arizona COVID-19 Community Response Fund was established by the Arizona Community Foundation and is receiving support from individuals, corporations, and foundations from across the state. The fund  provides immediate relief to nonprofit organizations in Arizona facing an increased demand for services from clients and communities as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.  Once the state of emergency has expired, any remaining funds will support nonprofit organizations impacted by COVID-19 financially as a result of program disruptions or cancellations resulting in revenue loss
Thank you to our May Donors

James Blasingame*
Marilyn Duerbeck
Karl Kendall*
Andrew Krahe*
Mary Lu Nunley*
Eshé Pickett*
Dianna Soe Myint
Emerson Yearwood*
American Online Giving Foundation, Inc.
PayPal Special Campaigns

*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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