IH Newsletter

Enews December 2021

Photo by Robert Ullmann

Dear Friends,

In the Northern Hemisphere, December brings us the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. December eases us into winter and, since Roman times, has marked the end of the Western calendar year (though back in those days, December was the 10th month rather than the 12th, hence, “Decem” or “ten.”) And it was on December 3, 1818, Illinois entered the Union as the 21st State.

For Illinois Humanities, December means closing the year out the way we went into it: putting the humanities – and the people who make them happen – at the center. I am excited to announce we’ve awarded $190,000 in grants to 28 projects through our Envisioning Justice program. These awards support organizations and individuals across Illinois who will use humanities to address the impacts of mass incarceration. You can learn more about the grantees and their work and how to get involved HERE.

Throughout the remainder of December, we are highlighting grantee partners from around the state. From poetry to preservation, from film to illuminating calls for freedom, these Spotlights remind us of the richness of our state’s history and culture, and the powerful diversity of our residents and their stories.

Thanks to support from people like you our programs are all FREE. I hope you’ll participate in one or more of the upcoming participatory programs described below.

And, if you’re in a position to make a year-end gift, we’d be grateful for your donation; we’ll certainly put it to good work. You can make a gift HERE.

Have a joyous, restorative December and we’ll be in touch again soon.

Gabrielle Lyon, Executive Director


Get into the Humanities in December 

Rememory: haunting, trauma, and historical fiction

Public book groups are open for sign up!

Sign up to be part of a for a free community book group and event series featuring Octavia Butler’s Kindred. Free books are available and you can sign up just in time to celebrate Read a New Book month with Illinois Humanities in January. This program is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read.

Learn more and sign up: ilhumanities.org/lobg


Museum on Main Street

Voices and Votes: Democracy in America

January 3 – February 5, 2022

Vespasian Warner Public Library District, Clinton, IL

Voices and Votes: Democracy in America opens in Clinton, IL on January 3! Follow along as the exhibition examines questions stemming from the leap of faith taken by the American revolutionaries. Learn about the people those who established a government that entrusted the power of the nation not in a monarchy but in its citizens. It’s a great excuse to visit Clinton if you haven’t been there before.

For more information visit ilhumanities.org/travelingexhibits


Illinois Freedom Project

January 3 – February 5, 2022

Vespasian Warner Public Library, Clinton, IL

In conjunction with Voices and Votes: Democracy in America, Illinois Humanities is honored to sponsor a complementary traveling exhibition, Illinois Freedom Project. Opening January 2, the Illinois Freedom Project explores the pursuit of civil rights by and for African Americans in Illinois.

For more information on the Illinois Freedom Project, visit ilhumanities.org/travelingexhibits


Futures, World-Building, and Art: Virtual Workshop

January 19, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. CT


Featuring: Ian Damont Martin – Executive Director of Inclusion and Belonging and Sam Ramos – Associate Director of Innovation and Creativity, Learning and Public Engagement, The Art Institute of Chicago

This virtual tour of the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago and workshop will focus on how we can use art to build community and imagine the future world we want to see. This program is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read.

Register HERE.