Letter from the Director

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September was a busy month at Humanities Montana! Early in the month, we finished awarding the last of our Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan (SHARP) general operating support grants, which came to Humanities Montana through the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Since June 14, we have awarded 46 grants of up to $10,000 each to help cultural organizations throughout the state respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

We awarded 26% of the grants to organizations in eastern Montana and 22% to Native-led organizations. Click here to see a full list of SHARP general operating support grant recipients. These SHARP general operating support grants contribute to the economic recovery of the state’s cultural sector and come on the heels of the almost $420,000 in CARES Act grants we awarded last summer to provide a lifeline to Montana’s cultural infrastructure. Later in this newsletter, you can read about the SHARP project grants which allow organizations to develop special programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On September 30, Humanities Montana honored our 2021 Governor’s Humanities Awards recipients: Dorothy Bradley, Janine Pease, Jim Robbins, Jim Scott, and Chrysti Smith. The event was held virtually, allowing people from around the state and nation to join us in celebrating the significant contributions these five individuals have made to the public humanities in Montana. Our GHA honorees were nominated by their peers and selected by representatives from the Humanities Montana board of directors.

The Humanities Montana board had planned to meet last month on the Fort Peck Reservation, but the COVID resurgence meant that our board once again met virtually. The board welcomed new members Glory Blue Earth-Highly (Deer Lodge), Jennifer Corning (Billings), Jessica Flint (Billings), Ramey Growing Thunder (Poplar), Susan Hughes (Helena), and Lathie Poole (Bozeman). This was the last board meeting for Aaron Parrett (Helena) and Chris Hopkins (Miles City), who had served as the Humanities Montana board chair. Chris has been on the board since 2014, and he first became involved with HM through a Hometown Humanities community conversation in Miles City in 2012. The board had the chance to thank Chris for his leadership and contributions and welcome Carla Homstad (Stevensville) and David Dietrich (Billings) as the new board chair and vice chair.

Humanities Montana board members, Governors Humanities Awards honorees, and SHARP grant recipients remind us that the public humanities are thriving in communities and lives throughout the state. I look forward to updating you again in November.


Randi Lynn Tanglen, Ph.D.

Executive Director