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Colorado Humanities

Humanities education is fundamental to democratic societies, and vital to a thriving Colorado. Our dynamic humanities programs stimulate informed civic dialogue, community engagement and life-long learning. Thank you for donating today to support our work for collaborative learning in Colorado.

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D.I.N.E. (Dinner, Ideas 'N Exchange)

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Adults
Families
General population
Teachers

Description

D.I.N.E. is our program for making friends and sharing food and food for thought. We arrange for feature presentations at local restaurants, and collaborate with the chefs to produce a delectable three-course repast for ticketed guests in a private group setting. D.I.N.E. has featured numerous Chautauqua performances, as well as Colorado Book Award winner Margaret Coel, historian Bill Convery, Colorado Poet Laureate David Mason, Stories on Stage's Rachel Fowler, ad others. We also offer D.I.N.E. to businesses or other organizations as a special event for their private guests.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

"Everyone loved it. Becky Stone was a HUGE success. Standing ovation!"
-Bridget Irish, hosted D.I.N.E. at Durango Powerhouse Science Museum

The Five States of Colorado

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Adults
General population
Teachers
Young Adults (20-25 years)

Description

Beginning in 2019, we will create a new documentary version of the acclaimed Havey production "The Five States of Colorado." In 1989, we worked with Denver-based Havey Productions to produce the seminal film about the five distinct regions that make up the state of Colorado, each one with its own history, geography, and economy, and each the home of people with their own ideas and loyalties about how things should be done. The original 30-minute film has been broadcast on Rocky Mountain PBS and regional Comcast stations, toured the state with panels of scholars, won an international Telly Award, and sparked numerous conversations among students, teachers, business and government leaders, and the general public.

The Five States of Colorado's subject value has become increasingly clear in the past 10 years, and we are producing a longer version of the film to more fully address Colorado's complex issues, urgent challenges and skyrocketing population growth. We are significantly increasing the original film's allotment of less than six minutes per region to at least 20 minutes to allow a more detailed articulation of the five featured areas. The 90-minute film will be shown in its entirety as a feature length documentary, and also, to serve multiple viewing purposes, in five separate chapters, each with teaching guides to accommodate various uses.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Harvey ProCinema has been awarded three Film Festival "Bests," two National Municipal Television Association 1st Prizes, 10 Telly Awards, four regional Emmy Award nominations, and two regional Emmy Awards. Colorado Humanities has helped produce seven other Havey films, including ,Denver Union Station: Portal to Progress (2010), Heart of the Queen: Downtown Denver (2007), Colfax: Main Street Colorado (2007), Molly Brown: Biography of a Changing Nation (2007), Centennial Statehouse: Colorado's Greatest Treasure (2012), and The Great Divide (2015).

Changing the Legacy of Race

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Blacks, African Heritage
Ethnic/Racial Minorities
General population
Hispanic, Latino Heritage
Immigrants, Newcomers, Refuges

Description

In Fall 2017, we piloted Changing the Legacy of Race (CLOR), a program designed to foster community dialogues about persistent and divisive social, economic, cultural and racial issues at the local level. Dr. Claire O. Garcia, Colorado College Race and Ethnic Studies Program Director, Professor of English and Colorado Humanities board member, spearheaded the program, and we developed the pilot with the help of The Athena Group (Evergreen, Colo.). CLOR is designed to draw participants from as many parts of the community as possible to exchange information face-to-face, share personal stories and experiences, express perspectives, clarify viewpoints, and develop solutions to community concerns. To provide focus for the pilot discussions, CLOR participants reviewed clips from the 2016 documentary film "I Am Not Your Negro," sections from Jesmyn Ward's 2016 book, "The Fire This Time," and a selection of supplemental reading compiled by Dr. Garcia. Working with African American organizations and community groups, we will further develop the program in 2019, using our Denver pilot program as the model. The program is offered at no cost to participants, and is designed to incorporate volunteer opportunities for training in discussion facilitation.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

"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 Kentucky Juvenile Justice, and participant in Colorado Humanities' Black History Live program

"A dialogue is a forum that draws participants from as many parts of the community as possible to exchange information face-to-face, share personal stories and experiences, honestly express perspectives, clarify viewpoints, and develop solutions to community concerns."
--- U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service's Community Dialogue Guide: Conducting a Discussion on Race.

The Guide includes four examples of what effective community dialogues do, including, "Unite divided communities through a respectful, informed sharing of local racial history and its consequences for different people in today's society. The experience of 'walking through history' together can lead to healing."

Veterans' Writing Workshops

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adults
General population
Immigrants, Newcomers, Refuges
Teachers
Veterans

Description

Thanks to a two-year Arts in Society grant we received in 2017 from Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, Colorado Creative Industries and the Hermana Foundation, we have established our Veterans Writing Workshop model, and piloted it in Denver. Prompted by the NEH initiative "Standing Together: The Humanities and the Experience of War," we created Veterans Writing Workshops to help give voice to Colorado veterans, and to bring healing to the experience of war, and understanding between military and nonmilitary community members. The program provides an instructive workshop series over a 10-month period for veterans to explore and express in writing their wartime experiences. In August 2018, we published an anthology of the first workshop writings, titled "Still Coming Home," and began holding public readings the following winter by the workshop authors of the anthology works, and professionally facilitated reading and discussion series for the general public in 2019. We offer the workshops, readings, discussion series, and copies of the anthology at no cost to program participants. The Denver workshop program is our model for developing the program for statewide implementation, and we are exploring our next steps for forming partnerships for the program in additional Colorado localities.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

"I love the 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, 2018

"Psychologists know that writing is therapeutic. Expressive writing is used in clinical settings to help patients examine anxieties and abuse that are otherwise unspeakable. Exposure therapy - retelling a traumatic event over and over until it loses its hold over a patient - often uses writing to extinguish the emotional and physical reaction to trauma."
-Cecilia Capuzzi Simon, New York Times, Education Life, "Warrior Voices," Feb. 1, 2013

In the same article, Ms. Simon quotes Iraq veteran and editor of The Journal of Military Experience, Travis L. Martin. "The traditional therapies and approaches to PTSD are not getting the job done… Vets are looking for alternative ways to heal, and they are latching onto writing as a way to do it."

Durango Chautauqua

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Adults
General population
Teachers
Young Adults (20-25 years)

Description

Durango Chautauqua is a series of events held over several days, including living history portrayals of people of the past who have made significant contributions to our modern day lives. The annual program takes place in September, and is now organized with the help of the newly formed Southwest Colorado Humanities Roundtable, a Durango-based, regional collaborative. During its six-year history, Durango audiences have "met" Thomas Edison, Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Rosa Parks, Theodore Roosevelt, and Harriet Tubman. This year's events included "Durango's Own Olga Little," "White Guys on Horseback: Cowboy and Confederate Statues," "Heritage Days Family First Friday," "Energizing the West Driving Tour," and living history portrayals of Nikola Tesla and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

"What better way to learn about a time in history than to see and hear someone portray a person from a particular place and time. Telling the story, the emotion that is conveyed through a live presentation of history is very effective for understanding the history. The human connection is made for us to feel what it was like. Informative, riveting, excellent."
-Chautauqua performance audience member

Colorado Encyclopedia

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

General Public/Unspecified
Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Adults
Children (4-12 years)
Teachers

Description

We are working with several program partners on Colorado Encyclopedia (CE), an online resource of dependable, accurate and timely information about Colorado based on six humanities themes: origins, ecology, diversity, community, place, and political economy. CE was launched in 2016, and nearly 700 articles are now completed. Roughly a third of the articles are also rewritten for three different K-12 reading levels and accompanied by teacher resource sets for elementary and high school educators' classroom use. Competitive grants from NEH and History Colorado's State Historical Fund have helped us make a strong beginning for this multi-year, multi-million dollar program, and we're excited about the many opportunities for collaborative learning that CE provides.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

"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

Motheread/Fatheread Colorado

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Families
Teachers
Infants/Young Children (birth - 3 years)
Parents
Poor, Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent

Description

Motheread/Fatheread Colorado (MFC) is our early childhood and family literacy program that improves family connectedness, early literacy learning, and children's school readiness. Our program promotes parent engagement in children's early learning, fosters a culture of reading and learning in children's homes, and increases, early on, the frequency and quality of reading times between children and their parents. MFC teaches parenting concepts, learning concepts, and reading strategies that build comprehension and vocabulary, enables parents who read poorly or cannot read at all to share Motheread books with their children, and increases parents' ability to communicate with children effectively as teachers and role models. MFC classes build trust and easy communications among class parents and MFC educators, instilling understanding and a feeling of confidence that helps parents actively work with their children and their teachers at school. MFC particularly benefits children of families with low income, low literacy skills, single or teen-aged parents, or who are English language-learning or otherwise disenfranchised or facing barriers to effective educational strategies and activities for their children. We offer MFC services at no cost to participants.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

"Belief in the intergenerational approach to literacy is at the core of Motheread/Fatheread Colorado (MFC)… MFC shows that when reading and books are made a part of homes, including those where adults struggle with reading themselves, learning environments are created that are essential to getting children ready for school.."
-"Best Practices" (2013), Library of Congress.

"A big result of Motheread/Fatheread Colorado is that the classes help folks feel more a part of life. This is one of the important but perhaps overlooked outcomes of this program. During our classes, as they start to consider and discuss the questions put to the class, the parents get very real, serious minded and reflective. And, once they've participated in the classes, they are more likely to participate in other programs.
-Marcia Viner, Director of Ignacio Community Library

Black History Live

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

General Public
Teachers
Young Adults (20-25 years)
Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Blacks, African Heritage

Description

Our Black History Live tour (BHL) to schools, libraries and other community and academic venues celebrates our country's racial heritage and provides dynamic learning experiences about Black history every February. The tour features a professional Chautauqua scholar-performer who provides a compelling portrayal of an important African American figure from our history, and answers audience questions. BHL presenters are history scholars and accomplished performers who research, script and perform monologues in character and costume. Their performances are historically authentic and fact-based. Since we initiated the program in 2005, our BHL portrayals have included such notables as Maya Angelou, Frederick Douglass, Langston Hughes, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Joe Louis, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Booker T. Washington, and York. BHL, which we offer at no cost to participants, draws an annual audience count of 2,500 people of all ages. We often include our popular friend-raising event D.I.N.E. (Dinner, Ideas 'N Exchange) in our BHL tour as a ticketed event. In 2020, nationally acclaimed Chautauquan Becky Stone will return to Colorado as Rosa Parks.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

"It wasn't until after Pace's stellar 40-minute overview-more like channeling-of Douglass' life as a slave, military organizer, presidential confidant and activist that I better understood just what goes into this effort… I had to tell myself three or four times this man had not transcended time and mortality to deliver a message that seemed both instantly relevant and timeless."
-Heather Zadra, The Herald Times (Rangeley)

"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 Kentucky Juvenile Justice, and participant in Colorado Humanities' Black History Live program

Colorado Humanities Speakers Bureau

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Aging/Elderly/Senior Citizen
Children ages 5 to 21
Families
General Public

Description

Our Speakers Bureau has been the home of on-call Chautauquans, the state's Poet Laureate, and occasional special programs such as the World War I commemoration. Bobby LeFebre was named Colorado's 8th Poet Laureate this year. Bobby is a two-time Grand Slam Champion, a National Poetry Slam Finalist, an Individual World Poetry Slam Finalist, and a two-time TEDx speaker. He has performed at hundreds of cultural events, social actions, detention centers, conferences, and colleges and universities across the United States and abroad. He is also co-founder of Cafe Cultura, an award-winning nonprofit organization that utilizes poetry as a tool for youth literacy and educational and cultural development. The Speakers Bureau roster of 30 Chautauqua scholar-performers is source for unique presentations to large or small audiences at schools, libraries, and other private or public venues. Chautauqua scholar-performers offer, in period costume, highly engaging living-history monologues of figures such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Clara Barton, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin and many more. Question and answer periods that culminate each performance invite lively audience interaction and discussion.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Colorado Book Awards

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adults
General Public/Unspecified
Other Named Groups
General population
Young Adults (20-25 years)

Description

Our Colorado Book Awards (CBA), one of the oldest book award programs in the country, is the state's premier literary event for Colorado authors and book lovers. The program recognizes professional excellence and brings writers and their readers together to celebrate Colorado's outstanding, ongoing contribution to the world of literature. Every year, we coordinate a two-tiered judging process utilizing the expertise of approximately 75 volunteer readers and judges to select books for awards in 10 or more literary categories. Public readings by 40 to 45 finalists are held in the months preceding the awards event, which takes place each spring. CBA finalists, their families, publishers, booksellers, book buyers and proponents of Colorado's literary achievement come together to toast and cheer as the awards are presented. CBA winners can be found on our website. Submissions for the 2020 Colorado Book Awards can be made through the Colorado Humanities website beginning on September 16, 2019. January 6, 2020, is the entry deadline. Generally, books by Colorado authors and published in 2019 are eligible for awards. Please contact the Colorado Humanities office with any questions about eligibility, cost of book submission, and reservations for the award event.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

"Colorado Humanities is a passionate proponent of readers of today and tomorrow."
-Brent Sampson, bestselling author and founder of Outskirts Press

"This is a great honor. It's really fun. And, I want to do it again!"
-Jonathan Waldman, author of 2016 Colorado Book Award-winner for nonfiction, "Rust: The Longest War."

High Plains Chautauqua

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Aging/Elderly/Senior Citizens
Children ages 5 to 21
Families
General Public/Unspecified

Description

High Plains Chautauqua (HPC) is a big tent community festival held over several days and nights in Greeley every August with the help of the resident volunteer High Plains Chautauqua Steering Committee, 100 additional volunteers from the Greeley area, and the partnership of more than a dozen Weld County organizations and businesses. The big Chautauqua tent has gone up every year since 2000 on the Aims Community College campus, and is packed to overflowing for brilliant living history presentations by nationally renowned professional Chautauqua scholar-presenters every night. HPC also features nightly performances by Colorado musicians or dancers, and 40 to 50 K-12 students who perform the historical characterizations they have researched and created during the school year as students in our Young Chautauqua program in Weld County. HPC enjoys a total audience count of 6,000 to 7,000, with people coming from all over Colorado and as far beyond as California, Minnesota and Florida. We offer all HPC events at no cost to participants.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Now moving into its 19th year, HPC enjoys a total audience count of 6,000 to 7,000, with people coming from all over Colorado and well beyond - even as far as California, Minnesota and Florida.

"We say this every year, but it's worth repeating. You really should go to the High Plains Chautauqua this week… Chautauquans are actors, so you'll get to see some live theater, but they are also scholars, so they know enough about the subjects to write a biography. It's a fascinating mix of theater and history… High Plains is thought of as one of the best in the country…"
-The Tribune Editorial Board, The Tribune (Greeley)

"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

Hispanic Heritage Live

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Teachers
General population
Hispanic, Latino Heritage
Immigrants, Newcomers, Refuges
Migrant Workers

Description

To celebrate our country's Latino and Hispanic heritage, we bring speakers and performers to Colorado for presentations at schools, libraries and other community and academic venues. Over the years, our tour has featured nationally renowned humanities scholar and performer Fred Blanco as César Chávez, world-famous Nicaraguan poet Ernesto Cardinal, and poet and award-winning author Tim Z. Hernandez. Mr. Hernandez participated in our 2015 and 2017 Latino Heritage Live tours with his presentation "Both Sides of the River," and we are pleased and fortunate to bring him back to Colorado in 2019 to present "All They Will Call You" Mesa County. Tim's program shares the harrowing story about the airplane disaster in 1948 that claimed the lives of 28 Mexican farm workers while they were being deported by the U.S. government. They were buried anonymously in a mass grave. Tim's research over six years uncovered the identities of the lost deportees, and his subsequent community efforts succeeded in the creation of a memorial stone inscribed with the recovered names, and installed at Holy Cross Cemetery in Fresno, Calif. His research informed his most recent book, "All They Will Call You" (2017, University Arizona Press). Books will be on hand at the Mesa County event for signing. We offer Hispanic Heritage Live at no cost to participants.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Museum on Main Street

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Aging/Elderly/Senior Citizens
Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Young Adults (20-25 years)
Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Description

Museum on Main Street is a touring exhibition program created by the Smithsonian Institution. During the past decade, Colorado Humanities has brought several of the world-class exhibition tours to Colorado, including "Between Fences" in 2010; "Journey Stories" in 2013; and "The Way We Worked" in 2018. We engage local program partners who create activities and organize discussions centered on each tour's theme as it may relate to their communities. In the fall of 2020, Colorado Humanities will begin the Colorado tour of the Museum on Main Street exhibition "Crossroads: Change in Rural America." "Crossroads" draws on the history and culture of rural America to stimulate fresh thinking and conversation about the sustainability of rural communities. Our program purpose is to encourage disparate factions within Colorado's rural communities to come together to address change in their rural localities, and to creatively shape, together, a viable future that honors and preserves the integrity of the diverse aspects of those rural communities. We will work with our program partners to use Crossroads as a catalyst for activities and companion exhibits to foster cross-sector community conversations. Local community partners for "Crossroads" include Gunnison Arts Center (Gunnison); Adams State University/Luther Bean Museum (Alamosa); Corazon de Trinidad Creative District (Trinidad); North Fork Valley Creative Coalition/North Fork Historical Society/University of Colorado Boulder/Blue Sage Center for the Arts (Paonia); Yampa - Egeria Historical Society )Yampa); Museum of Friends (Walsenburg); Otero Museum/Southeast Colorado Creative Partnership (La Junta serving the six SECCP counties)

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

History Alive! Colorado West Chautauqua

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Aging/Elderly/Senior Citizens
Children ages 5 to 21
Families
General Public

Description

The newly named History Alive! Colorado West Chautauqua (formerly Two Rivers Chautauqua) is a community festival of living history, music, lectures and other activities that we hold in Grand Junction in partnership with the Museum of Western Colorado. With the collaboration of community partnerships, the program was launched in 2006. Held for many years on the museum's historic Cross Orchards site, the festival events now take place at the Avalon Theater. Nationally acclaimed professional Chautauqua scholar-performers as well as K-12 students in our Mesa County Young Chautauqua program perform for the edification and delight of large audiences. This year's theme was "That's the Way It Is: Our Baby Boom Years," and featured Walter Cronkite, Walt Disney, and Julia Child.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

"Working with the Colorado Humanities is a real pleasure. They are very organized, helpful and kept us informed every step of the way. They make suggestions we never even think about."
-Kay Ellison, director of the Museum of Colorado Prisons, Canon City

"Chautauqua is about bridging the gap between humans, tribes, nations, races. Chautauqua unites us around ideas, 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

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Children ages 5 to 21
Families
General Public
Teachers

Description

Young Chautauqua is a dynamic living history program for elementary, middle and high school students that teaches history research, writing, interpretation, presentation technique, public speaking and audience interaction through a series of workshops, coaching and public performances. Our professional Chautauqua coaches give presentations to model the Chautauqua method, conduct workshops, provide teacher training, and guide students in their research and presentations. Students research and select people from history to be the subject of their own Chautauqua presentations. They write their own first-person monologues, create appropriate period costumes for presentation, memorize, practice and perform their monologues before audiences. A particularly exciting and challenging part of the Young Chautauqua experience is the unrehearsed question and answer session each student must conduct at the close of each monologue performance. Young Chautauqua workshops can be integrated during the school day with history, literature, social studies or civics classes, or implemented as an after school or summer program.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

"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 May of WealthSource Partners, the father of two YC students

Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.