Maggie's Minute: A Colorado Humanities Update, February 5

The equipment of all citizens for the common good…

I’m glad to be a part of a humanities call to action! Every once in a while someone says something, not necessarily new words describing new concepts, but words that somehow confirm your efforts, lift your spirits, and give new energy and purpose to what you think and do. Every once in a while you hear words you just have to share. NEH Chairman William “Bro” Adams spoke at a National Press Club Newsmakers Luncheon last month, announcing his 2015 initiative, “The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square,” and, as he spoke of the importance of our country’s cultural capital, I was inspired. He said, “The humanities embrace the great and enduring human values of justice, freedom, equality, virtue, beauty and truth. Without the deliberate cultivation of the humanities in the public sphere, we risk losing sight of these values.” He said our cultural economy is “hugely important to the economic health of thousands of communities around the country, and it is likely to matter more and more as the economic base of the United States continues to shift away from manufacturing to financial services, healthcare, retail, human services, information technology and education.” He asked that we consider the “unabashedly pragmatic” nature of the humanities as they “serve the conduct of life.” He cited many ways that the humanities strengthen us as individuals and a society, including contributing to deeper and broader public understanding of the experience and lessons of war, and tackling cultural and political polarization.

Our annual Black History Live tour is coming up Feb. 17-26 in celebration of Black History Month. Eminent national humanities and Chautauqua scholar Charles Everett Pace will portray African-American social reformer, abolitionist leader, orator, writer and statesman Frederick Douglass, one of the most prominent figures in American history. Charles Pace embraces the concept of a useable past as he illuminates the life and times of Frederick Douglass in a vivid, scholarly performance. For the 2015 tour, Black History Live will visit Aurora, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, Greeley, Littleton, Pueblo and Westminster.

Charles Pace as Frederick Douglass will also open our next D.I.N.E. (Dinner, Ideas ’N Exchange) season at Brio Tuscan Grill this Sunday, Feb. 22, at 2 p.m. in Denver. As is our custom, D.I.N.E. will once again offer a great full-course dinner and coffee, commanding entertainment and the finest company. Please come. The cost for dinner and performance is $45 per person. Cash bar. Seating is limited, so be sure to make your reservation online by Feb. 18, or call our office at (303) 894-7951 to secure your spot at the table.

We opened The Way We Worked, our new Museum on Main Street tour, last month at Denver Public Library’s Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, where it will be free to the public until Feb. 6 before continuing on to Grand Junction (Feb. 13-March 27), Aurora (April 3-May 10), and Pueblo (May 15-June 26). Adapted from the original exhibition developed by the National Archives, The Way We Worked draws from the Archives' rich collections to tell the compelling story of work in America, and the many changes that affected the workforce and work environments over the past 150 years.

Drop me a line with your thoughts about the importance of humanities education. Our work depends on you for a wide network of ideas and support—and the more you become a part of it, the better it all gets!

The common good fulfills our right to freely shape our lives by responsible action.

Maggie Coval, Executive Director

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