We seek to inspire the exploration of ideas and appreciation of Colorado's diverse cultural heritage. Colorado Center for the Book, our reading and writing program department, has the further mission to foster a love of reading and books.
Colorado Humanities seeks to forge program partnerships throughout the state to promote excellence in humanities education through community programming.
A MESSAGE FROM OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
"Victims of structural racism and violence are not just abstractions or statistics, they are human beings. Humanity demands that we stand against the forces that cheapen and steal their lives. We urge all Coloradans to find their own ways to contribute to the struggle. Even as we write this statement, we are working to find ours. For years we have offered programs that encourage learning about Black, Latinx, and Native history, along with efforts to foster and facilitate difficult, critical community conversations about race. But we can and must do more. We are always looking for ways to make our programs more relevant, more accessible, more inclusive, and more effective-and given the urgency of this moment, we are redoubling our efforts now."
Recognizing the pandemic's serious impact on the public humanities field across the state, we have directed funds from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, through the National Endowment for the Humanities, to meet the emergency needs of organizations and individuals. More than 200 organizations and individuals submitted grant applications, and 68 grants were awarded, ranging from $500 to $15,000, a total disbursement of nearly $500,000.
Also, as a result of coronavirus distancing restrictions, we have successfully developed several of our programs for online delivery with great success. We offered our 2020 Colorado Book Awards finalist readings and award celebration online, and were pleased to see a significantly greater audience reach, with a total of 3,500 people attending to date. Recordings of these events on FaceBook will continue to draw attention indefinitely. We also developed and implemented a Motheread/Fatheread Colorado (MFC) training institute online for educators, who are now trained and certified to hold cycles MFC classes for parents of young children. We are developing a model and tool kit for online delivery of the class cycles, which we hope to see implemented in 2021 along with our traditional in-person classes. We will complete our 2020 Colorado Veterans Writing program online. This past October, renowned author and "Soul Food Scholar" Adrian Miller, a Colorado Humanities Board member, anchored our CLoRE program's first online panel discussion, How Did We Get Here? Four panelist contributed their perspectives for community discussion: Dr. Rachel Harding, a poet and University of Colorado-Denver Ethnic Studies Professor who specializes in religions of the Afro-Atlantic diaspora; Denis Maes, Public Policy Director of the ACLU of Colorado; Wendell Pryor, Executive Director of Chaffee County Economic Development Corporation; and Dr. Anthony Young; President of Rocky Mountain Association of Black Psychologists. See the recorded event on our FaceBook or YouTube pages, and watch for our next online CLoRE event, Dec. 9, 2020.
ABOUT COLORADO HUMANITIES
Colorado Humanities, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, was established in 1974, nine years after the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act was signed into law and the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) was founded. We are one of 56 humanities councils, and joined the Federation of State Humanities Councils when it was established in 1977. Originally a grant-making organization in affiliation with NEH, we have since changed focus to design and implement our own programs, resources, and activities. We have forged hundreds of community partnerships, and have created more than 90 unique educational initiatives in our 46-year history. We reach an estimated 350,000 people each year as program partners, participants and/or audiences, and are grateful for the generous contributions from businesses, foundations and individuals that make our programming possible.
A sampling of our programming history follows:
In 1985, we presented our first community program, Jazz: From Roots to Fusion, and in 1987 we initiated our Speakers Bureau. In 1989, we partnered with Havey Productions to produce the half-hour documentary, "Five States of Colorado," and are working with Havey again now on a 90-minute remake of the film about the diverse nature of our state.
In 1990, we formed the Rocky Mountain Humanities Network with the Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming humanities councils to present a program called "Trails Through Time," which included an extensive traveling exhibit, the symposium "Trails: Toward a New Western History," and multiple publications. In 1991 at Shorter AME Church, we presented our Outstanding Achievement Award in the Humanities to the author of "There is a River," Prof. Vincent Harding; our guest speaker for the event was social historian Lerone Bennett, Jr. In 1993, we conducted our first K-12 program, the Traveling History Trunk, and, in 1996, launched Conversations 2000, a community discussion series on five topics, including "Defining American Identity."
In 2004, we merged with the Library of Congress affiliated Colorado Center for the Book, which became our program department for reading and writing. We also initiated our early childhood and family literacy program Motheread/Fatheread Colorado that year, and in 2005 held our first annual Black History Live tour. In 2010, we began development of the online resource, Colorado Encyclopedia.
We frequently conduct listening tours, most recently in 2017, when we convened roundtable discussions in 20 communities across Colorado. The tour confirmed Colorado's eagerness for high quality humanities programs that help bridge community divides, and informed our regular five-year assessment that helped us determine our major objectives for 2019-2023. They include embracing our cultural, ethnic and racial diversity, learning about contemporary issues, providing inclusive arenas for discussion, developing and delivering humanities programs statewide, and ensuring that our programs reflect Colorado's diverse and often competing narratives while collaborating with program partners to the greatest extent possible. We seek to develop programs of particular interest and value to African American, Asian American, Latinx, and Native American Coloradans. In 2017, we piloted two new programs in Denver, Changing the Legacy of Race & Ethnicity and Colorado Veterans Writing workshops, and published our Colorado Veterans Writing workshop anthology "Still Coming Home" in 2018.
New programs include Colorado Center for the Book Speakers Bureau; Democracy Labs; The Five States of Colorado; Humanities Networks; Native Americans; and Talking About Dying.
"Humanities education is a cornerstone of civic engagement. There are few agencies that have achieved the level of success that Colorado Humanities has in drawing diverse communities into a common, human experience."
-Hasan Davis, Living History Scholar/ Performer former Commissioner of Kentuck y J uvenile Justice, and participant in Black History Live
"I so appreciate the Black History Live program ... student reaction is impressive."
-Teacher participant, Overland High School, Aurora
"Telling the story, the emotion that is conveyed through a live presentation of Black history is very effective. Informative, riveting, excellent."
-Black History Live audience member
"Everyone loved Becky Stone's DINE presentation of Rosa Parks. It was a HUGE success. Standing ovation!"
-Bridget Irish, Durango resident
"The formation of the SouthWest Humanities Roundtable is a tribute to the work of Colorado Humanities. The group of people who participated in History Alive! demonstrated that disparate organizations can come together, remain unique, benefit from inexpensive joint marketing, and keep the Humanities alive and well."
-Shelley Walchak, Director Pine River Library
"Colorado Humanities has been a valued partner and strong supporter of the Museum of Western Colorado for many years, and has helped touch the lives of thousands of people. The organization has supported numerous exhibits and programs, all of which have given western Colorado residents greater appreciation for the humanities. Colorado Humanities is a wonderful partner for whom we are truly grateful."
-Mike Perry, former director, Museum of Western Colorado, Grand Junction
"Colorado Humanities is a great resource for our many partners here at Colorado Mesa University and District 51's Dual Immersion Academy. Colorado Humanities helped us broaden the perspectives of our community both at the university and the Mesa County School District."
-Thomas Acker, Hispanic Affairs Project Board President
"I love veterans workshop. Does a fantastic job of encouraging all of us, and helping us become better writers. Great experience. Learning, and growing, a lot."
-Denver Veterans' Writing Workshops participant
"Phenomenal program! 'Still Coming Home: Conversations About the Experience of War' fosters deep, respectful discussion of the difficulties veterans face when re-entering civilian life, and challenges us as a community to acknowledge and support veterans in our midst."
-Barbara Walter, Adult Services Librarian at Longmont Public Library
"I wish every educator in Colorado could experience Motheread/Fatheread Colorado. Parents and teachers could use these tools every day."
-Katie Narvaez, program coordinator for Raising a Reader, Glenwood Springs
"Motheread/Fatheread Colorado's training provided for a more intimate connection between myself and my child audience, gave me permission to be more intuitive with engagement and to see what my audience needs, and expanded my understanding of challenges faced by some caregivers for whom the habits of literacy may be foreign."
-Gail Yerbic, Regional Literacy Specialist, Western Region Colorado State Library
"In my travels around Colorado, I've heard from many teachers that the availability and access to resources on Colorado history, specifically ones written for elementary students, is limited. Colorado Encyclopedia's development of resource sets for elementary teachers is meeting an unprecedented demand from the field."
-Stephanie Hartman, PhD., Social Studies Content Specialist, Colorado Department of Education
"Colorado Humanities is a passionate proponent of readers of today and tomorrow."
-Brent Sampson, bestselling author and founder of Outskirts Press
"Through Colorado Humanities programming, I've done many author visits to schools and have found that it's incredibly rewarding to students, teachers, and parents in the community. The entire school community bonds together in preparation for the visit, and their excitement is palpable throughout the day of my visit. Students often tell me how my visit has sparked a new passion for reading books and even writing their own stories. It's especially rewarding for me when years later, students email me to say that my visit has had a lasting, even life-changing, impact on their relationship to literature. Many of the schools I visit serve populations of underprivileged and marginalized students, and they can't rely on PTO funds to pay for an author visit. These are the students who need Colorado Humanities programs the most."
-Laura Resau, Colorado author and Colorado Book Award winner
"Chautauqua concerns bridging the gap between humans, tribes, nations, races. Chautauqua unites us around ideas, and the major idea that I'm concerned with is democracy . Through Chautauqua, I can use my scholarly knowledge to bring a community together."
-Cultural anthropologist and professional Chautauqua scholar-performer Charles Everett Pace
"Young Chautauqua has given my sons experience researching history from multiple points of view. It has helped them stand out by developing their presentation skills which will help them later in life as they assume leadership roles that require them to step up in front of a group of people, communicate ideas to others, and appreciate the context in which different points of view are developed and articulated."
-Mesa County resident, Dave M ay of WealthSource Partner, the father of two YC student
"I am always astonished by the impact the Young Chautauqua program has on my students. It entertains, enlightens, and spurs students' interest in cultural history. This program has enhanced the learning in my classroom more than anything else."
-Brooke Tolmachoff, Social Studies Coordinator, Adams 12 School District