"Use what you have, use what the world gives you. Use the first day of fall: bright flame before winter's deadness; harvest; orange, gold, amber; cool nights and the smell of fire. Our tree-lined streets are set ablaze, our kitchens filled with the smells of nostalgia: apples bubbling into sauce, roasting squash, cinnamon, nutmeg, cider, warmth itself. The leaves as they spark into wild color just before they die are the world's oldest performance art, and everything we see is celebrating one last violently hued hurrah before the black and white silence of winter." 

- Shauna Niequist
Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way
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Utah Humanities empowers Utahns to improve their communities
 through active engagement in the humanities.

Venture Students Head Back to School and Find Inspiration

Fifty adult students took a giant leap this year and signed up for the Venture Course in the Humanities, a two semester, college humanities course offered free to people "of modest means who dare to dream."
Available in Cedar City, through a partnership with Southern Utah University and in South Salt Lake City, in partnership with Westminster College, Venture opens up new worlds for adults who have not had access to higher education.
Students meet twice weekly, for two hours, to study philosophy, art history, literature, writing, and history with college faculty.  What makes the course unique is not the curriculum, however, but the diverse students who come together to discuss ideas, read, write, and learn from one another.  In addition to students from the United States, Venture students this year come from countries such as the Philippines, Nepal, Mexico, Brazil, Burma, Guatemala, and Iraq.
Last spring, South Salt Lake City Venture graduate Joaquin Diaz described the course's impact this way:  "Yes, I do see myself very differently.  I'm very inspired, and motivated to take on new challenges and live a fuller life.  Venture has let me meet all of these amazing people who have swept me off my feet and opened my eyes.  There's still a lot to learn and a lot to gain in life."

Photo 1: Clockwise: Rae Esquer, Karim Kathem, Marlon Ramirez, Sandra Teixeira, Eustolia Cordova Ramos (back to camera).
Photo 2:  Marlon Ramirez and Tahnnee Melvin-Arnold.
Photos were taken in the South Salt Lake City Venture literature course, taught by Ranjan Adiga, a professor in the English department at Westminster College.

Photos courtesy of Jean Cheney.

Get more information on programs we offer through our Center for Educational Access.

Our 2016 Museum Interpretation Workshops Develop New Skills

Our 2016 series of Museum Interpretation workshops focused on the many stages of developing interpretive museum exhibits--from conducting original research and translating that into labels, designing an information structure and look to help visitors navigate content, paying attention to object safety, to rounding it all out with education programming. Nine community museums from around the state participated in the workshop series and are working to develop exhibits at their own sites.

Members of our training team included Megan van Frank from Utah Humanities, Virginia Catherall from the  Utah Museum of Fine Arts, and Lisa Thompson from the  Natural History Museum of Utah. They spent the last few weeks visiting the projects to see how everyone is coming along and to offer feedback on the prototypes. These are some wonderful exhibits in the making!
Thanks to the amazing participants from the Hyrum City Museum, Brigham City Museum of History and Art, Cache Valley DUP Mu
seum ,   Union Station Museums Camp Floyd / Stagecoach Inn State Park and Museum ,   Western Mining and Railroad Museum ,   Museum of the San Rafael ,   Territorial Statehouse State Park Museum , and   Uintah County Heritage Museum . We have had such a great learning experience together!

And many thanks to   Utah Division of Arts & Museums   for helping to fund the workshop series.

Photo 1: Skill + Strength = Steam is one room in the new railroad wing at the Western Mining & Railroad Museum in Helper. The exhibit shows how a combination of knowledge, planning, and labor are interconnected to design, build, and maintain complex steam engines. 

Photo 2: The project team at the Museum of the San Rafael is working on an exhibit that explores how the work that drives Emery County is interconnected in surprising ways. This hand cart tells a story of how the mining and agriculture industries intricately depend on one another.

Photo 3: Early food preservation determined what food was available at Camp Floyd during 1857-1861. Feeding the Frontier Army exhibit at the Camp Floyd State Park Museum. 

Photos courtesy of Megan van Frank.

Learn more about all of our Heritage Workshops and how you can be involved.

Join Us for a New Season of Community Conversations!

The Community Conversations program was created in 2015 with the belief that facilitated conversation engages a community better than rhetoric and argument. Communities, large and small, identify issues that are important to them, and come together to discuss them through a humanities lens.

The act of coming together demonstrates a willingness to listen, and the dialogue itself begins to dissolve barriers and misunderstandings.

"During a time when research shows Americans are growing increasingly polarized and homogenized into like-minded tribes, the need for proactive efforts to bring people together across these divides has never been greater. Once individuals find themselves in the same room with "those people" eating, socializing, laughing...something changes. We all have a built-in capacity to disagree in healthy ways...we've just forgotten how to do it! It's thanks to Utah Humanities that we've been able to launch our first season of conversation events in Utah. By reminding Utahns that thoughtful, good-hearted people disagree on almost everything, I believe we can continue setting a tone and encouraging local citizens to not give up on the founding ideals of our country--including simply this: that a diverse people can come together and create a country together."   - Jacob Z. Hess, Ph.D., Village Square Utah Director

Resources are available for hosting Community Conversations. Contact Jodi Graham for additional information.

Clemente Students Explore Gender, Race, Class
and Ability at East High

How do you experience the world? Several Clemente students at East High are learning that the answer to that question depends heavily on your gender, race, class, and abilities. 

Understanding just how powerfully these parts of your identity operate is the focus of the literature section of this year's Clemente Course, an interdisciplinary humanities course, taught primarily by college faculty, for underserved high school students at East High School in Salt Lake City.

Using literature as a catalyst for discussion, Sean Desilets, a professor of English and film studies at Westminster College; Emma Metos, a Westminster College honors student; and AVID teacher Cate Praggastis are leading their Clemente students in an oral ethnography project, in which students interview administration, faculty, students, and staff on questions related to identity. 

After reading poems, short fiction, and nonfiction from diverse writers, students created questions for the interviews in order to gain a deeper understanding of how gender, race, class, and ability are operating at East High. 

Photo 1: Professor Sean Desilets confers with Obed Rodriguez and Brenda Gutierrez about their oral ethnography project.

Photo 2: Sadie Crowell, Valerie Goday, and Bryan Manzano discuss the best questions to ask their interviewee.
Photo 3: AVID teacher Cate Praggastis meets with Obed Rodriguez, Meya Smith, and Brenda Gutierrez (left to right) to help them edit their requests for interviews. 
Photos courtesy of Jean Cheney.

The  Clemente Course is a partnership between Utah Humanities and East High School, West minster College, the University of Utah Honors College, and University Neighborhood Partners. It receives generous support from Alternative Visions .

Click the State Icon to See Our Humanities Events Near You

Our events calendar is organized by month, date, and even 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 Parr Brown Gee & Loveless and the Smith-Pettit Foundation for their recent gifts to support our 19th annual Book Festival. Thanks to their generosity, we will be able to continue fostering a love of reading and of books--as well as the exploration of contemporary issues through literature--among Utahns across the state.
We would also like to recognize David Gee from Parr Brown Gee & Loveless and Gary Bergera from the Smith-Pettit Foundation for their commitment and support of community organizations like UH that make Utah a better place to live!

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.