Brenda Thomson

As the executive director of Arizona Humanities, I have the awesome responsibility of building Arizona’s cultural community with the help of many talented scholars, historians, authors, poets, artists, musicians and thought leaders. Together, we encourage Arizonans to think about the past, as they envision the future of our state and our nation. 

Arizona Humanities is the Arizona affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Our role is important because we are stewards of American culture. American culture is important. It is a reflection of all that we are. The music we hear, be it jazz, country, rock ’n’ roll or opera, this is America singing. The dance — line dancing, hoop dancing, swing, hip-hop and square dancing — this is America dancing. The art, sculptures, paintings, murals, photography and more, this is the story of America unfolding before our eyes. Nothing is more important than preserving, honoring and celebrating the cultural legacy of our country.

The humanities are all about people. We bring people together to learn, listen and discuss things that are important to us all. We provide funding to libraries, schools, museums and community centers so that people can explore books, films, performances and exhibitions. They can talk about the challenges we face each day that affect our communities, environment and planet, and explore creative solutions together. Some people think humanities and arts are not important. Can you imagine a world without libraries or books? Books feed the soul.

We know that teaching people how to engage civilly and respectfully, and to hear other perspectives is fundamental to democracy. It sounds like a small thing, but it is a really big deal to bring people together to share their experiences, and to learn about people and places different from themselves. It is important to know who you are, where you come from and where you are going. Why? Because despite the fact that we may be very different from one another, we have one thing in common: our destiny. What will be the future of the people on this planet? I don’t know the answer to that question. But I do know that the future is what we make it. What you do every day, and what you don’t do, can change the world forever. Arizona Humanities is making the world a better place for us all.

Company Name: Arizona Humanities
Main Office Address: 1242 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85004
Phone: (602) 257-0335
Number of Locations in Metro Phoenix: 1
Number of Employees: 6
City Nationally Headquartered: Phoenix
No. of Years with Firm: 8 1/2
Year Established Locally: 1973
Specialties/Services: Arizona affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, providing grants to libraries, schools, museums, and nonprofit organizations for cultural programs statewide; More than 150 AZ Speaks free public presentations on history, culture, literature, the environment, and more to 14,000 people statewide; Literacy and cultural programs for K-12, including distribution of free books to promote family reading; “FRANK Talks” open and safe community conversations on current topics facing communities, the state and our nation; and Smithsonian Traveling Exhibitions and Pulitzer award winning authors, poets and journalist programs.

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