I hope our final newsletter of this year finds you and your loved ones in good health. As we navigate this unusual holiday season, I can’t help but reflect on how every aspect of our lives has been impacted by this tumultuous year.
And yet I also marvel at our communities, and the ability of individuals and organizations to adapt, shift, mobilize, and act.
Responses to that question have been profound.
On a large scale, we have seen teachers adapt to online teaching, social service nonprofits increase distribution of food and other basic necessities, people of all backgrounds speak out in favor of racial justice, and citizens across our state and country vote in record numbers to ensure their voices are heard.
At Humanities Tennessee, we have wrestled with the challenges 2020 has presented and focused on our mission and the feedback from communities we serve to respond in the most meaningful ways possible.
- In the spring, we shifted our Young Writer’s Workshops online. We reached more than 60 students, all of whom attended free-of-charge and many are excited to participate again in 2021.
- We continued to get thousands of books in the hands of students through our Student Reader Day program, and expanded school and library outreach to ensure students had access to online Festival content.
- We worked with cultural organizations and grant recipients across the state to modify programs, shift grant funds as needed, and distribute CARES Act monies to help sustain jobs and operations.
- And in the fall, with the inspiration and participation of the literary community, together we experienced the first-ever Southern Festival of Books online.
There is an important place for the humanities in these difficult times. I dare argue that the philosophy and practice of the humanities may light our path forward…through difficult conversations and the sharing of our stories.
Former NEH chair, Jim Leach, has said, “The arts and humanities are vastly more important in troubled times.”
What do you think?
I look forward to our continuing the conversation in the weeks and months ahead.
Today, I wish you and your family a healthy and peaceful Thanksgiving and holiday season.
Tim Henderson, Executive Director
Your support helped bring the humanities to communities all across Tennessee, and online through virtual programming, during fiscal year 2020 (ending June 30, 2020.)