National Arts and Humanities Month

Karen Wikander

“Over centuries of change -- through trial and triumph -- the arts and humanities have chronicled history in ways that have brought the past to life and provided a vivid vision for our journey forward.  Today, we continue to live in an ever-changing world, and the arts and humanities help us experience it in truer colors and tones.  When we harness our artistic creativity -- from canvases to concertos -- we can give shape to our emotions and channel our innermost hopes.  During National Arts and Humanities Month, we celebrate artistic expression in all its forms and honor the ways they help define the great American story.”

President Obama, Presidential Proclamation – National Arts & Humanities Month, 2015

In 1985, October was designated National Arts & Humanities Month, with the intent of encouraging Americans to participate in arts and humanities events, while also exploring what role it plays in their lives.

For Nevada Humanities, October is a month filled with exciting activities – events we’re thrilled to be bringing to Nevada communities.  The Vegas Valley Book Festival kicks off on Thursday the 15th, with three days of fabulous literary events; the author Lawrence Coates will be discussing his new novel, The Glass House, at the Salon on Friday the 16th; Ira Glass, of This American Life and Serial fame, will be visiting Reno on Saturday the 17th; and if you check out our website calendar you’ll find a variety of events and lectures made possible in part by the Nevada Humanities Grant Program.

In his proclamation, President Obama speaks of chronicling history, of celebrating expression, harnessing our hopes and emotions – explaining that this is the power of the arts and humanities.

In September this power was showcased at our Salon event, where we partnered with storytelling organization The Folk and The Lore to revisit the glory days of K-12 life. We had people, some were new faces to Nevada Humanities, volunteer to read from their childhood journals or tell stories of mortifying moments. In front of a packed audience, we had wonderful, lovely Nevadans stand up and share with us moments of hilarity and sadness – moments that normally stay in the privacy of a locked teenage journal. They made us smile and gasp; I watched audience members crumple in their seats with laughter. It was over an hour of pure joy. It was our own little community at Sundance Books and Music that night – a community that shared in the life experiences of complete strangers and felt heartened by a sense of collective humanity – an appreciation of personal history, hope, and emotion. It was a tiny moment in lives filled with so many moments, but that connection, that bond. . .that’s the power of the arts and humanities.