Humanities chairman visits GBC
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Humanities chairman visits GBC

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ELKO — National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman John Peede recently made an impromptu visit to the Great Basin College campus and met with directors of the Humanities Center at GBC and participants in the Veterans Writers Workshop.

The chairman was in Elko for his first visit to the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in January. During the visit, Humanities Center co-directors Gail Rappa, part-time art faculty at GBC, and Dr. Sam Lackey, English instructor at the Winnemucca campus, gave Peede an update on the past, current and planned initiatives, activities and events supported by the Humanities Center.

Formerly known as the Virtual Humanities Center, the Humanities Center received a $500,000 Challenge Grant from the NEH in 2013, which also required matching funds from private donations. This highly competitive and prestigious grant is often awarded to larger institutions.

The main goal of the Humanities Center is “to collect, curate, and cultivate the humanities, to create a greater cultural and historical understanding to demystify human difference, celebrate diversity, and build an engaged citizenry to enhance the well-being of rural Nevada.”

The NEH Challenge Grant, along with corporate and community partners, established an endowment fund for stable, long-term financing of operations for the Humanities Center.

During the meeting, Chairman Peede gave examples of other institutions that have received similar grants and spoke of his commitment to ensuring that the humanities reach all areas. In a recent interview, he emphasized the need for the NEH, “to be truly national: to be in small towns, not just in large cities; to be in small historic centers, not just at the major museums; and to make sure that our panels reflect that, and to encourage applications from institutions of all sizes.”

Some recent Humanities Center events include; recording lectures of humanities speakers Derek Knapp and Dr. Quintard Taylor, Jr. on campus; facilitating a post-film roundtable for GBC Film Festival feature “Parasite”; and filming the Elko County Poetry Out Loud finals. Complete and partial recordings of all events will be available to view on-line. Rappa shared how these activities fit into the goal for the Humanities Center.

“The idea behind recording these events is to be able to get humanities-related content online so that those of us in isolated areas can partake and learn from them, even when we are not able to attend in person.”

Some of the upcoming events at the Humanities Center include an online Book Spine Poetry Challenge in honor of National Poetry Month in April, a digital version of the 2020 GBC arts and literary Argentum in May, and exciting humanities speakers and activities planned for Nevada Arts and Humanities Month, October 2020.

Chairman Peede also visited the Veterans Writers Workshop which is hosted by the Veterans Resource Center at Great Basin College. The Veterans Writers Workshop is held annually in conjunction with National Cowboy Poetry Gathering and the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.

Program Director Karen Lloyd and Liaison Specialist of the Library of Congress Kerry Ward, traveled from Washington, D.C. to be a part of the workshop. One of the workshop’s goals is to ensure important chapters of U.S. military history are recorded and preserved for years to come. Poets Vess Quinlan, Bill Jones and David Richmond encouraged and supported veterans during the workshop to write down their personal stories.

All involved consider the writing workshop a therapeutic way to work through memories and to share a part of their lives. Jennifer Koopman, coordinator of the VRC, was honored to host the workshop and grateful the program is directly available to the local veteran community.

“It was wonderful to have Chairman Peede visit the Veteran Workshop. We appreciate his support for humanities within our community,” said Koopman.

For more information about the Humanities Center at GBC or the Veterans Writers Workshop, visit: humanities.gbcnv.edu or email hc@gbc.edu. For more information about the Veterans Resource Center, visit: www.gbcnv.edu/veterans or email Jennifer.Koopman@gbcnv.edu

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