Jason Rapp

America’s cultural agencies celebrate 35th anniversary of Arts and Humanities Month

IMLS, NEA, NEH Join Together to Showcase the Power and Positive Impact of Arts and Humanities

Provided photo by Paula Lobo.


In celebration of the vital roles that arts and humanities play in American society, the nation’s cultural agencies—the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)—have joined together to celebrate the 35th anniversary of National Arts and Humanities Month in October.

During the month, IMLS, NEA, and NEH will engage communities across the country to highlight how the arts and humanities help rebuild the economy, promote the health and well-being of individuals and communities, and unite our nation.

In honor of the occasion, President Biden issued a Presidential Proclamation on National Arts and Humanities Month, 2021 which states:

“As our nation continues to grapple with consequential crises—from combating the ongoing global pandemic and addressing cries for racial justice to tackling the existential threat that climate change poses to our planet—the arts and humanities enable us to both understand our experiences and lift our sights. During this National Arts and Humanities Month, we celebrate the power of the arts and humanities to provide solace, understanding, and healing. We recognize the ability of the arts and humanities to amplify important and diverse voices and messages. We reflect on the fact that, as we have struggled with isolation, anxiety, and the loss of loved ones, we have turned to music and dance, literature and poetry, and philosophy and history to bring us together and help us persevere through, and grapple with, our current moment.…”

IMLS, NEA, and NEH released a joint statement in honor of the occasion:

“Three and a half decades after its first official recognition, National Arts and Humanities Month takes on new relevance to American life today. Music inspires and uplifts us, poems and stories spark our imagination, and museums teach us about the world—and ourselves. The arts and humanities have the power to unite us, to heal us, to sustain us, to help us better understand each other, and to guide us through challenging times.

“Like in many communities across the nation, the pandemic deeply affected those who work in the arts. Prior to COVID, the cultural sector employed 5.2 million Americans and annually generated nearly $1 trillion, and revitalizing our workforce is vital to the economic success of our nation. We must also work together to ensure that the systemic barriers to full participation in the arts and humanities are torn down, so that all Americans—regardless of race, geography, ability, and socioeconomic status—have unrestricted and equal access. This October, we hope that organizations, communities, and people across the nation will join us in marking the myriad of ways that arts and humanities matter each and every day.”

Throughout our nation’s history, the arts and humanities have showcased the creativity of our communities, made significant contributions to the wellness of young and old alike, and helped bring people together. In addition, a thriving creative economy is essential to America’s economy. Before the pandemic, the arts and culture sector was approaching a $1 trillion industry that directly employed 5.2 million people and indirectly supported millions more.

Now more than ever, our nation needs the arts and humanities to rebuild, heal, and unite.

Through social media, engagement with stakeholders and partners, and events, the three agencies will show the depth and diversity of our nation’s cultural landscape. Cultural organizations, government agencies, museums, libraries, and the American public are encouraged to join in celebrating National Arts and Humanities Month using #NAHM21 and #NAHM.

For more information, please visit the IMLS, NEA, and NEH websites.

Deep Center. Provided photo.


National Endowment for the Humanities
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at neh.gov.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov.  


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