"People have the notion of saving the world by shifting things around, changing the rules, and who's on top, and so forth. No, no! Any world is a valid world if it's alive. The thing to do is to bring life to it, and the only way to do that is to find in your own case where the life is and become alive yourself." 

- Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

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Utah Humanities empowers Utahns to improve their communities
 through active engagement in the humanities

Venture Graduates Cross a Life-Changing Threshold

In late April, the hardworking and dedicated students of the Venture program celebrated their graduation. Students of both the Cedar City and the City of South Salt Lake courses met twice weekly, for two hours, to study philosophy, art history, literature, writing, and history with college faculty. The students' diverse backgrounds made this year-long experience life-changing...a fact that was reflected in heartfelt speeches, words of hope, humbled remarks from faculty, and well-earned smiles.

Student quotes from some of the graduation speeches included sentiments such as: 

"I gained a better understanding of my own ability" and "I was able to put together the way I think."

Josh Wennergren, the new Director of the Center for Educational Access at Utah Humanities, reflects on the graduations, saying "Each student is a success story. Their courage, tenacity, and intellectual curiosity inspire me as I take the reins of this impactful program. I am proud to be involved with this life-changing endeavor."

For more information, contact Josh at wennergren@utahhumanities.org or 801.359.9670 x106.

Photos:  Venture Graduation at Southern Utah University, photo courtesy of Jean Cheney (top). Venture Graduation at Westminster College, photo courtesy of Socorro Ornelas (bottom).

Jean Cheney Retires from Utah Humanities,
Receives Distinguished Service Award from the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters

Jean Cheney Retires from Utah Humanities
Our beloved associate, Jean Cheney, is retiring from Utah Humanities after 20 years. During that time, she has been at the center of many of UH's most important achievements, including the Utah Humanities Book Festival, Venture, and Clemente, and her deft touch has been felt in myriad less visible but equally significant milestones. We will miss her leadership, eloquence, and unfailing good humor.

Jean Receives the Distinguished Service Award
In April, Jean was recognized for her long and influential career with a Distinguished Service Award from the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters. The award is given annually to an academic professional for exceptional services to the higher education community in Utah.

Utah Humanities board member and current chair David Allred nominated Jean for the award and talks about his reasons for doing so:

"I nominated Jean because of the way she championed Venture from its inception. It was no easy feat to build the partnerships required for this engaging, rigorous course that exemplifies the inherent hope and optimism of the humanities. She reminds us all that the humanities are crucial to our educational systems and our civil society.

However, Venture is not the only thing that exemplifies the spirit of the humanities; anyone who spends time with Jean experiences her inquisitive mind, her generous spirit, and her desire to build bridges, which is what the humanities--the human ties--are about."

Upon receiving the award, Jean remarked, in part, that:

" The Venture Course has taught me, or reminded me, of the great wealth that resides in each individual that we, as a society, lose forever when we limit access to education. It's a wealth of spirit and potential that is, quite literally, impossible to measure. All efforts that go toward expanding access to education should be something we support. We must never take for granted the power that education can have for all people, no matter how humble their circumstances."

About Jean's Humanities Career
Jean Cheney joined the staff of Utah Humanities in 1997 after a career teaching literature and writing in colleges and high schools around the country.  Read more about Jean's influential career .

Welcome to Josh Wennergren

In an effort to find a new Program Director for both Venture and Clemente, a thorough candidate search process led us to Josh Wennergren.

Josh is a life-long resident of Utah. In spring 2017, he earned a MS in Environmental Humanities from the University of Utah. Prior to achieving his graduate degree, he worked for over four years at the Utah Society for Environmental Education. He received a BS in Environmental Studies from Westminster College in the spring of 2011.

Josh's passion for the humanities intersects with his love of the outdoors and the power of nature to facilitate and enrich the creative process.

To talk with Josh about either Clemente or Venture, you can reach him at wennergren@utahhumanities.org or 801.359.9670 x106.

Utah Works Short Stories Featured on Utah Public Radio

Utah Works is a new series of short stories about the way we work in Utah, told in participants' own words.

Utah Works is based on The Way We Worked, a traveling exhibition created by the Smithsonian Institution and the National Archives that explores how work became such a central element in American culture.

Utah Humanities is touring The Way We Worked to six Utah communities during 2017. As part of the exhibition tour, we are collaborating with Utah Public Radio and exhibition hosts in Ogden, Hyrum, and Fillmore to interview local residents about their work.

Utah Public Radio is broadcasting Utah Works stories across the state four times per week. Or stream new stories each week on the UPR website. 

For more information, and to listen to Utah Works stories, visit Utah Public Radio .

Photos: A Utah Works story on James Gillespie of the Ogden Police Department (top) and a Utah Works story on Tom Szalay, a local photographer and teacher. Photo credit: Utah Public Radio

Grid Zine Fest Gives Rise to Many Voices

In support of Grid Zine Fest, Utah Humanities helped to bring Arizona-based artist Amber McCrary--author of zine series like Native American Feminist Musings--to lead a free workshop at the Marriot Library.

Amber McCrary is a DineĢ (Navajo) Zinester, Feminist, and Writer. Through the Native American Feminist Musings Zine project, she believes unheard voices of Indigenous folk can smash patriarchy one story at a time. She has worked with the Native American Community for the past five years and hopes to do so for the rest of her life. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in American Indian Studies at Arizona State University.

Michael McLane, Director of Utah Humanities' Center for the Book, says that "At Utah Humanities, we value storytelling in all forms. The endurance of zines over the years, and their recent resurgence, stems partly from their value as a low-cost print medium and, more importantly, the highly personal nature of each zine and the creator behind it. They are a convenient yet intimate means for communities within communities to interact and communicate. Our support of Grid Zine Fest supports our mission to empower Utahns to improve their communities through active engagement in the humanities. We value being involved in the effort to give rise to diverse voices, perspectives, and personal stories through the creative zine medium."

For more information on the Grid Zine Fest, read this article by SLUG Magazine.

For more information on how to partner with Utah Humanities to build literature and humanities content into your events, contact Michael McLane, Director of the Center for the Book, at mclane@utahhumanities.org or 801.359.9670 x104.

Photos: Grid Zine Fest organizers (top), photo credit: JoSavagePhotography.com for SLUG Magazine. Amber McCrary (bottom) on a reservation in front of graffiti reading "Remember who you are: Native American." Photo credit: Kate Hart blog.

2017 Utah Humanities Competitive Grants Awarded 

Torrey House Press
Sacred Landscape and Story: Using Humanities to Bridge Fields and Cultures

Hopi anthropologist/archaeologist Lyle Balenquah, Objibwe writer Heid E Erdrich, Navajo Poet Laureate Luci Tapahonso, and Navajo/Yankton Dakota writer Jacqueline Keeler come together for public conversations about sacred landscapes.

Spy Hop Productions
Sending Messages: True stories from a secure care facility
Incarcerated youth in five secure-care facilities throughout Utah explore contemporary literature and poetry and then write, record, and produce personal narratives, poetry, short fiction, spoken word, and interviews compiled and released as podcasts. 
Desert River Stories

 Scholars will interpret local histories, narratives, and archives in a project that captures and celebrates the area's rural pride and pioneering spirit.

Utah Film Center
THE JUDGE Documentary Film
Community screenings and discussions of this feature documentary will provide rare insight into Shari'a law (Islamic law), an often misunderstood legal framework for Muslims. Told through the eyes of the first woman judge to be appointed to the Middle East's religious courts, the film intimately portrays  Judge Kholoud Al-Faqih's trials and tribulations in achieving justice for women.
Repertory Dance Theatre
Sacred Lands/Sacred Waters Public Outreach

 A panel of scholars and Native American presenters explores what makes the Bears Ears National Monument a "sacred land" to different people and how communities can create new rituals and language around wise use and sharing of water and land. 
Davis County School District
Reading and Humanities: Building Relationships between Police & Community

Using history and children's literature, this project is designed to increase trust and shape positive perceptions between law enforcement and community members.
Renaissance Now Theatre & Film
Shakespeare, Our Contemporary

A series of events will use Shakespeare's works to explore current issues of gender identity, the changing role of women, and the symbolism, ethics, and values of super heroes.
Southern Utah University
Archaeology Month in Southern Utah

This educational program will foster understanding of past and present cultures in an effort to preserve and increase dialogue about the area's archaeological legacy through a variety of activities and discussions for all ages.
WC Classic Greek Theatre Festival
Classical Greek Theatre Festival's ION by Euripides

Euripides' Ion is the story of a dysfunctional family ripped apart by secrets.  Discussions will emphasize the similarities of the Greeks and Shakespeare to contemporary American society, and will explore the issues of heroism and grief, justice and forgiveness, and especially friendship and family.  
USU Museum
of Anthropology
Museum Outreach for Adolescents and Adults at the MOA

This project will connect the experience of the past to our world today through a series of hands-on events that explore anthropology, history, languages, and culture.
Utah Museum of Fine Arts
ACME Sessions

ACME sessions bring humanities scholars, artists, K-12 art educators, cultural critics, and community activists together into some of Utah's most culturally and ethnically diverse communities to discuss topics ranging from education through hip hop to transgender identity to the experience of migration.
Utah Shakespeare Festival
Play Seminars in the Grove

Discussions before and after productions of the 2017 Utah Shakespeare Festival season will look at contemporary issues such as gender identity, family loyalty, and society's definition of love.
U of U Department
of English
University of Utah Guest Writers Series and Hivemind Book Club of SLC

Hivemind:  The Book Club of Salt Lake City presents literary events that promote reading and writing among undeserved populations.  Discussions are an inclusive, dynamic space of collaborative learning for community members who might not be inclined to attend a formal reading event.

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Our events calendar is organized by month, date, and region of the state.

Click the icon to visit our calendar, and remember  to check back often.

There are always new humanities events to attend!

Many Thanks

Utah Humanities would like to thank the Marriner S. Eccles Foundation for its recent gift to support our Venture Course in the Humanities. Thanks to their generosity, we will continue to enable disadvantaged Utahns to aspire to higher education and ensure that more students are admitted, retained, and graduate from college throughout the state.

Utah Humanities is grateful for the generous support of many individuals, foundations, and corporations, and for public funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the State of Utah, and the Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts, and Parks Fund.