← View All Articles

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

[caption id="attachment_48019" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Provided photo by Paula Lobo.[/caption]

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. [caption id="attachment_48020" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Deep Center. Provided photo.[/caption]
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.  

Columbia Museum of Art wins nation’s highest honor for museum service

IMLS Gold MedalThe Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced that the Columbia Museum of Art is among the 10 recipients of the 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community. For 22 years, the award has celebrated institutions that respond to societal needs in innovative ways, making a difference for individuals, families, and their communities. The award will be presented at an event in Washington, D.C., on June 1. "At the heart of this recognition are the CMA’s arts educational outreach efforts to at-risk, rural, and underserved communities," said Karen Brosius, executive director of the Columbia Museum of Art. "Through these unique programs we are enriching lives and engaging minds in ways that encourage South Carolina students of all ages to connect in creative and innovative ways. Our recognition as a national award winner is as much about the CMA as it is about the generosity and spirit of South Carolina. With dynamic exhibitions and educational programs for every age, the CMA is redefining the modern museum. 'We extend our most heartfelt thanks to each of our community and educational partners, donors, trustees, members, volunteers, friends, and visitors, as well as the City of Columbia, Richland County, and the South Carolina General Assembly. Their visionary leadership and support make all of our work possible." The Columbia Museum of Art is also a recipient of the 2016 Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Award for the Arts, the highest honor the state presents in the arts. "This year’s National Medal recipients show the transforming role of museums and libraries from educational destinations to full-fledged community partners and anchors,” said Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “We are proud to recognize the extraordinary institutions that play an essential role in reaching underserved populations and catalyzing new opportunities for active local involvement.” After the June 1 ceremony, StoryCorps—a national nonprofit dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of Americans—will visit each recipient to document stories from the communities of the winning institutions. The complete list of  2016 National Medal recipients:

  • Brooklyn Public Library (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
  • The Chicago History Museum (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Columbia Museum of Art (Columbia, S.C.)
  • Lynn Meadows Discovery Center for Children (Gulfport, Miss.)
  • Madison Public Library (Madison, Wis.)
  • Mid-America Science Museum (Hot Springs, Ark.)
  • North Carolina State University Libraries (Raleigh, N.C.)
  • Otis Library (Norwich, Conn.)
  • Santa Ana Public Library (Santa Ana, Calif.)
  • Tomaquag Museum (Exeter, R.I.)
Learn more about the National Medal: https://www.imls.gov/medals.  

Columbia Art Museum, Richland Library among 30 finalists for National Medal Award

Applications open for 2016 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards

The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, invites applications for the 2016 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards. The 12 award-winning programs will receive $10,000 and an invitation to accept their award from the President’s Committee’s Honorary Chairman, First Lady Michelle Obama, at a White House ceremony. In addition, winners will receive an award plaque, the opportunity to attend the Annual Awardee Conference in Washington, DC in the summer of 2016, and will be featured on the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award website. After-school and out-of-school time arts and humanities programs sponsored by museums, libraries, performing arts organizations; educational institutions (e.g., preschools; elementary, middle, and high schools; universities; and colleges), arts centers, community service organizations, businesses, and eligible government entities are encouraged to submit applications. Programs applying for the award must meet all of the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award’s eligibility criteria. The deadline for application submissions is Tuesday, February 2, 2016, 5:00 p.m. PST. More information is available online, including the list of 2015 awardees and application guidelines.    

S.C. Governor’s School student receives nation’s highest honor for teen poets

Cameron MessinidesCameron Messinides of Camden, a senior at the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities, has been named to the 2014 class of the National Student Poets Program (NSPP), the nation’s highest honor for teen poets presenting original work. Five outstanding young poets, each representing a different region of the United States, were appointed by the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers to showcase the essential role of writing and the arts in academic and personal success. The students kicked off their year of service as literary ambassadors in Washington, D.C., with a poetry reading hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama in the Blue Room of the White House (pictured above). “With this award, we celebrate the exceptional creativity, dedication, and promise of the young poets we honor today. Their courage, compassion, and imagination are inspiring others and shaping the world around them. As literary ambassadors to people across the country, these young people have the opportunity to set an example and inspire audiences of all ages with their written work, readings and service projects. Our National Student Poets and all of our young people have unlimited potential, and I can't wait to see what they accomplish in the years ahead,” noted Mrs. Obama, Honorary Chairman of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Cameron, age 17, is a creative writing student at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. He was recognized with an honorary mention for the Leonard L. Milberg ’53 Secondary School Poetry Prize, and his work has been published on The Atlantic’s website. He lives in Camden, South Carolina, with his parents and five brothers and sisters, where, besides writing, he spends his time playing basketball, clumsily cooking dinner once a week, and helping raise the family goats. Read Cameron's poetry online. The National Student Poets each receive an academic award of $5,000 funded by the Bernstein Family Foundation. During their tenure, the students will lead readings and workshops at libraries, museums and schools throughout the country, as well as participate in prestigious events. They will additionally implement community service projects in their respective regions. Students in grades 9–11 who are interested in becoming 2015 National Student Poets can submit their work to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious scholarship and recognition initiative for creative teens. Deadlines for art and writing submissions vary by region. Photo of presentation by Paul Morse for the National Student Poets Program. Via: Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

Spartanburg Art Museum receives national support from the American Alliance of Museums

This fall the Spartanburg Art Museum will take part in the Museum Assessment Program (MAP) created in collaboration between the American Alliance of Museums and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). “This is tremendous news for SAM,"said Elizabeth Goddard, executive director. “I have worked with both of these organizations in the past and feel very fortunate to have another opportunity to bring national standards of excellence to the work SAM is striving to accomplish.” The American Alliance of Museums mission is to nurture excellence in museums through advocacy and service. MAP: A Customized Roadmap for Improvement is a powerful tool designed to support museums of all sizes through a one-year process of self-assessment, institutional activities and consultative peer review. At the end of this process SAM will emerge with an analysis of its strengths, weaknesses and opportunities and a prioritized road map for improving operations and meeting standards. For the past 30 years, the MAP program has assisted more than 4,500 museums in strengthening operations, planning for the future and meeting standards. The IMLS-funded MAP grants provide $4,000 worth of consultative resources and services. “What these means specifically for SAM is a year of access to an online community with years of expertise rooted in national best practices, peer reviews, free webinars, national recognition, and a site visit, all designed to emphasize strategic planning and ensuring operations and resource alignment with our evolving mission," said Goddard. “This process will involve the staff and board of directors as we increase our knowledge together and improve our operations and build capacity for all of core components.” This is a pivotal time for the museum. Goddard is approaching the one-year mark as executive director, and the board of directors just welcomed new members Ryan Langley, Kerin Hannah, Sharon Butehorn, Cathy Bagwell, Epsie Coleman and Mary Ann Kotlarich. George Nixon, board president, is excited for SAM’s future, writing in a recent blog post: “SAM is helping us think – about ourselves and the world around us. Interactive places encourage children of all ages to experience art in non-traditional ways." SAM has a full fall season planned of new exhibitions, Art School classes and outreach sites serving youth throughout Spartanburg County during after school hours with the COLORS program. For more information, visit spartanburgartmuseum.org or call (864) 582-7616.

Out-of-school arts, humanities programs may be eligible for national $10,000 award

Application deadline is Feb. 10, 2014. The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, invites applications for the 2014 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards (formerly the Coming Up Taller Awards). The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is the nation's highest honor for out-of-school arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America's young people, particularly those from underserved communities. Programs that receive the award exemplify how arts and humanities programs outside of the regular school day enrich the lives of young people by teaching new skills, nurturing creativity and building self-confidence. These programs offer high-quality and intensive instruction on weekends, afternoons and summer vacations, providing a safe and productive space for young people in the hours when they are often the most vulnerable. Each year, the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards recognize 12 outstanding programs in the United States, from a wide range of urban and rural settings. The award-winning programs will receive $10,000 and an invitation to accept their award from the President’s Committee’s Honorary Chairman, First Lady Michelle Obama, at a ceremony at the White House. In addition, winners will receive an award plaque, the opportunity to attend the Annual Awardee Conference in Washington, DC in the summer of 2014, and will be featured on the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award website. After-school and out-of-school time arts and humanities programs sponsored by museums, libraries, performing arts organizations, educational institutions (e.g., preschools; elementary, middle, and high schools; universities; and colleges), arts centers, community service organizations, businesses, and eligible government entities are encouraged to consider applying. Programs applying for the award must meet all eligibility criteria. Find out more and apply here. Applications will only be accepted via the online process. The application deadline is Feb. 10, 2014, 5 p.m. PST. Via: National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award

National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards

The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, invites applications for the 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards. The deadline for online submissions is Monday, February 4, 2013, 5:00 p.m. PST. [caption id="attachment_3693" align="alignnone" width="620"] First Lady Michelle Obama with Gail Easley and Tiffani Prigrom of RISE! (Rhythm in Setting Expectations) at the 2012 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards ceremony at the White House. Photo: Steven E. Purcell[/caption] Programs that receive the award exemplify how arts and humanities programs outside of the regular school day enrich the lives of young people throughout the country by teaching new skills, nurturing creativity, and building self-confidence. These programs offer high-quality and intensive instruction on weekends, afternoons, and summer vacations, providing a safe and productive space for young people in the hours when they are often the most vulnerable. [caption id="attachment_3697" align="alignnone" width="620"] An Arts Corps participant learns how to draw in perspective. Photo: Susie Fitzhugh, Arts Corps[/caption] The twelve award-winning programs this year will receive $10,000 and an invitation to accept their award from the President’s Committee’s Honorary Chairman, First Lady Michelle Obama, at a ceremony at the White House. In addition, winners will receive an award plaque, have the opportunity to attend the Annual Awardee Conference in Washington, DC in the summer of 2013, and will be featured on the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award website. [caption id="attachment_3695" align="alignnone" width="620"] Teen Arts Council members with artist Swoon. From left: Terry Voong, August Rosenberg, Caledonia Curry (Swoon), and Shaquille Alberts. Photo: Joe Douillette[/caption] After-school and out-of-school time arts and humanities programs sponsored by museums, libraries, performing arts organizations; educational institutions (e.g., preschools; elementary, middle, and high schools; universities; and colleges), arts centers, community service organizations, businesses, and eligible government entities are encouraged to consider submitting an application. Programs applying for the award must meet all of the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award’s Eligibility Criteria. Via: National Arts and Humanities Youth Program