KHC is looking for fun and creative photos that capture the spirit of the humanities in Kansas in honor of National Arts and Humanities Month. Between October 1 and October 31, 2014, post a selfie taken at a KHC-sponsored event on Instagram and your photo could be featured in an upcoming KHC newsletter.

Here’s How it Works

1. Follow @kshumanities on Instagram.
2. Attend a KHC-sponsored event between October 1 and October 31, 2014. Find a full list of events  here.
3. Snap a selfie at the event with your Smartphone and upload it to Instagram.
4. Include the hashtag #humanitiesselfie in the caption field and tell us where you are and what event you are attending.
5. Don’t forget to mention @kshumanities in the caption field too.

Don’t have an Instagram account? Simply send your selfie and information to Tracy Quillin, director of communications, at tracy(at)kansashumanities.org and we’ll take care of the rest.

National Arts & Humanities Month: Week 5

HARVESTOctober is National Arts & Humanities Month. Gather ideas and insights with humanities events supported by the Kansas Humanities Council each week this month.

A Fist Bump for the Humanities


Click on the image to watch Richard Brodhead’s interview on The Colbert Report (5:41)

In August, the humanities joined the ranks of politicians, actors, and musicians by receiving the Colbert Bump from Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report. Richard Brodhead, president of Duke University and co-chair of the Commission on the Humanities & Social Sciences, was on the program to talk about The Heart of the Matter, the Commission’s report on the role of the humanities in creating a “more civil public discourse, a more adaptable and creative workforce, and a more secure nation.” Click here or on the above image to watch the six-minute clip and see how Brodhead, a 19th-century American literature scholar, responds to Colbert’s question, “Is Moby Dick a metaphor for the struggle of trying to read Moby Dick?”

Give KHC a Fist Bump

Support the humanities in Kansas with a gift to the Kansas Humanities Council. Your tax-deductible donation to KHC expands the reach of the humanities in Kansas through innovative and engaging programs in communities across the state, including Speakers Bureau, the Poet Laureate of Kansas, and the upcoming Hometown Teams Smithsonian exhibition tour. Click here to donate safely and securely through the Network for Good giving site.


National Arts & Humanities Month Week 4

HARVESTOctober is National Arts & Humanities Month. Gather ideas and insights with humanities events supported by the Kansas Humanities Council each week this month.

Week 4: Say Hello to History

Welsh immigrant Richard Howe, a stonemason, put his skills to use constructing a limestone home in Lyon County in 1867. The house served as a gathering place for the Welsh immigrant community and was home to three generations of the Howe family. Nearly 150 years later, the Howe House and Welsh Farmstead offers visitors a glimpse into 19th-century Kansas farm life as part of the Lyon County Historical Society in Emporia. The Howe House is doing what Kansas museums and historic sites do everyday: bring history to life. This month, Kansas museums are hosting a number of KHC-supported exhibitions and programs that connect people over time and across generations, including the A Welsh Farmstead: The Story of the Howe Family from 1858 exhibition and companion documentary at the Lyon County Historical Museum. Watch the two-minute trailer for the documentary film to learn more about the history of the Howe House:

Explore a museum or historic site in your community. View exhibitions, attend a Speakers Bureau presentation, research your genealogy, donate an artifact, or volunteer. Not sure where to go? TravelKS.com has a list of museums and historical attractions throughout the state.

Getting to Know You: Lon Frahm

In honor of National Arts and Humanities Month, KHC is featuring profiles and essays by people who make the humanities happen in Kansas. This week, we’ll get to know Lon Frahm of Colby, KHC board member and Friend of the Humanities since 1986. 


Lon Frahm.
Photo courtesy of Top Producer.

Lon Frahm is the manager of Frahm Farms and the sixth generation of his family to farm in Thomas County. In 2009, Lon was named Top Producer of the Year by Farm Journal magazine, a national honor awarded to agricultural producers who possess entrepreneurial innovation, business success, and industry and community leadership. “I remember Lon describing his work to me in three simple words: sowing and reaping,” remarked Julie Mulvihill, KHC’s executive director. “I think this is also reflected in how he approaches community service: We sow and we reap. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.”

“I grew up hearing my grandmother often repeat one of her favorite sayings: ‘Service is the rent we pay for the space we occupy on earth.’ I find myself living out her ideals more every day,” shared Lon. In addition to serving on the Kansas Humanities Council Board of Directors, Lon serves on state and regional boards including the Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas, Midwest Energy, High Plains Public Radio, and he is a convener for the Kansas Dialogue. Frahm Farm employees also contribute at the community level. “We often assist at community events, volunteer at the Prairie Museum, and are involved in service club activities,” added Lon.

Education, culture, and sense of place play a big role in Lon’s life and work. “I’ve always considered education to be one of the highest and best uses of time and resources, something that was instilled in me by my parents and grandparents,” explained Lon. “It has been a policy that everyone on the farm participate in all the educational and informational field days, seminars, tours, and field trips that are available to us.”

The employee field trips extend to annual farm trips to destination including Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean. “I like giving people opportunities to experience new things. I try to work in cultural events when possible – we’ve been to museums, the symphony, and theater,” shared Lon, who is an accomplished pianist, tenor soloist, and High Plains history enthusiast. “I believe a wider view of the world gives us a broader vision and makes us more connected at the same time and that’s why the humanities are so important. They help us make sense of the wider world; yet respect our sense of place. I support KHC – and I’ve done so for many years – because I think these things are important for Kansans and KHC does a great job of engaging communities with these topics.”

Do you agree with Lon? Consider a donation in support of the Kansas Humanities Council.  

National Arts & Humanities Month Week 3


October is National Arts & Humanities Month. Gather ideas and insights with humanities events supported by the Kansas Humanities Council each week this month.

Week 3: Save a Story

Think you don’t have a story to tell? Think again. The Kinsley Library staff believes that everyone has a story to tell. To that end, the library staff has preserved and shared dozens of local oral histories from World War II veterans and children of the Great Depression to postwar community leaders and participants in the 1979 Tractorcade to Washington, D.C. What remains is a priceless audio archive of life in rural Kansas in the 20th century. These projects were supported by the KHC Heritage Grant program. Watch the KHC 5-Minute film about Kinsley’s oral history projects and click here to browse their oral histories.

Ready to save a story? Record an oral history with a relative, neighbor, or community member. Not sure what to ask? StoryCorps’ National Day of Listening website has a number of resources to help you conduct and share your story. Want to take on a community oral history project? Click here to learn more about KHC Heritage Grants.

Getting to Know You: John Edgar Tidwell

In honor of National Arts and Humanities Month, KHC is featuring profiles and essays by people who make the humanities happen in Kansas. This week, we’ll get to know John Edgar Tidwell of Lawrence, a longtime KHC Speakers Bureau and Talk About Literature in Kansas (TALK) scholar. Tidwell is a professor of English at the University of Kansas where his research specialties are African American and American literatures. He has edited seven books, including the memoirs, collected poems, and selected journalism of Kansas-born writer Frank Marshall Davis. His current Speakers Bureau topic, “Creativity As Art and Labor,” explores the work of Davis and fellow Kansas authors Langston Hughes and Gordon Parks. “Edgar’s small town upbringing led him to the humanities early on,” observed Julie Mulvihill, KHC executive director. “Now his scholarship and community engagement as a KHC discussion leader takes his early humanities education to the next level.”

John Edgar Tidwell

John Edgar Tidwell

Tidwell: My humanities training began in Independence, a somnolent little town nestled between two rivers in southeast Kansas. Mrs. Esther Teal, driving her 1955 dark green Chevy, would dutifully pick us young children up and carry us to Maple Street Baptist Church to rehearse our “pieces” or little speeches for Christmas, Easter, and other holidays. In between those opportunities to learn self-confidence by presenting ourselves before a church filled with appreciative members, Mom would recite poems by Paul Lawrence Dunbar, especially his “Little Brown Baby.” When our uncle, E.W. Collins, came, we were treated to a marvelous performance as they took turns reciting long passages of Dunbar’s melodic verse, which they had memorized more than thirty years earlier in a country school near Boynton, Oklahoma. Little did I know that their eloquence was instilling in me an understanding of the nature of humanities, in a process even more profound because the setting was not typically known for having such a shaping influence.

As I travel about the state for KHC, making presentations via the TALK program or Speakers Bureau, I am often reminded of my own inauspicious beginnings. I now see that perhaps I’m reenacting the devotion of those instructors who patiently instilled in me an enduring love of the humanities. Many of my discussions focus on the experiences of African Americans as expressed in a body of literature often unknown to participants. Such works can have their challenges. How do I avoid the potential for simple political or sociological analyses and strive instead for the far more fruitful inquiry into the humanity of a people? For instance, while the narrator in Gordon Parks’s The Learning Tree describes Cherokee Flats (modeled on Fort Scott) as “a land of uncertainty,” my charge is to present the participants with ways of seeing how the novel’s experiences are both distinctive and general. In other words, they are racially-specific at the same time they are revelations of the human condition.

Therein lies the hope for a successful presentation. If participants can see the possibilities of a cross-cultural exchange, then they are able to perceive how their own lives are revealed in the work being considered. What follows is the sine qua non of the discussion: its incentive for participants to engage in a rigorous self-examination. Armed with this new self-knowledge, participants can better situate themselves in the wider world. In doing so, the boundaries that separate people slowly dissolve and give way to a more profound, collective understanding of us as human beings – which I take to be the quintessential definition of humanities.

Do the humanities give meaning to your life? Support the humanities in Kansas with a donation to the Kansas Humanities Council.


National Arts & Humanities Month, Week 2

HARVESTOctober is National Arts & Humanities Month. Gather ideas and insights with humanities events supported by the Kansas Humanities Council each week this month.

Week 2: Neighborhood Nooks

Libraries offer engaging programs and access to endless amounts of knowledge and adventure through books. This month alone, 31 Kansas public libraries are hosting KHC TALK book discussions, Speakers Bureau presentations, and Poet Laureate of Kansas events. But, what about communities without a public library? Since 2009, the Little Free Library organization has been working to provide access to literacy, build community, and engage neighbors in towns around the globe through small micro libraries on front lawns, sidewalks, boat docks, and other community spaces. Watch the two-minute video to see Little Free Libraries in action. By the way, there are already at least 20 Little Free Libraries in Kansas.

Visit your local public library: check out a book or movie, attend an event, or sign up for your library card. You can also use this map to find a Little Free Library in your community and encourage your neighbors to stop by. Interested in bringing a Little Free Library to your neighborhood? Click here to find out how.




National Arts & Humanities Month

HARVESTOctober is National Arts & Humanities Month. Gather ideas and insights with humanities events supported by the Kansas Humanities Council each week this month.

Week 1: Watch and Share

Does song have the power to change lives? The documentary film Conducting Hope profiles the Lansing Correctional Facility’s East Hill Singers, the only prison choir in the nation to perform outside the prison walls. Produced by Margie Friedman and Arts in Prison, Inc., with the support of a KHC Humanities GrantConducting Hope premieres at the Kansas International Film Festival in Overland Park on October 5th. Click here for details.

What’s your community’s inspiring story? Use your smart phone to make a short film about your community, upload it to YouTube or Vimeo and share the link with KHC at info(at)kansashumanities.org. View the films in KHC’s Short Films Gallery for inspiration.