How to Celebrate National Arts and Humanities Month

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Illinois Humanities

Read Time 4 minutes
October 12, 2023

During each month of the year, week after week, you can find insightful and innovative humanities programs happening in Illinois. But October is something special: National Arts and Humanities Month is an opportunity to hold a light up to the transformative moments made possible through the humanities, and to the individuals and organizations who ignite this power for communities across our state. 

This, after all, is our year-round mission. A celebration we gather for each time we read together, share dialogue, ask big questions, and gain insight into our history, our present, and our future.  

Whether you are curious to be acquainted with humanities organizations in your area, attend an event, or read more about what we mean when we say “humanities,” here is a collection of programs and stories to spark your own celebration, one we hope will remain lively all year round. 

Read A letter from Executive Director Gabrielle Lyon

Reports of the Death of the Humanities are Greatly Exaggerated... You'll Know Them When You See Them

"I keep seeing articles about the erosion of the Humanities in the academic sphere. Maybe you have, too. But in the public sphere the humanities aren’t only alive and well, they’re accomplishing feats unlike any other effort: they are the thing equipping us to be able to be a diverse, complex society."

Read More

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Attend an event by one of our partners

Lit & Luz Festival: A Celebration of Language, Literature, and Art

October 13 - 21

The upcoming Lit & Luz Festival, “TEN,” celebrates ten years of remarkable programming by grantee partner MAKE Literary Productions. Lit & Luz presents more than a dozen bilingual programs throughout Chicago from Oct. 13 - 21.

This year’s festival kicks off on October 13th with REECOUNTERS/REENCUENTROS, an exhibition of work from Lit & Luz Collaboration Cohort artists from the past decade at Chicago Art Department and closes on October 21st with the Live Magazine Show at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

Learn More

Lit Luz Make Literary Productions
Attend the opening of 

Spark! Places of Innovation in Rushville

October 22, 2:00 p.m.

Rushville has a long history of innovation beginning with the Scripps Family's contributions to journalism that started with The Prairie Telegraph, still operating as The Rushville Times, to their support of the arts in Schuyler County. The Hub Arts and Cultural Center has become the model for collaborations among art institutions and artists in the region. Experience how innovation and the arts have shaped the community by visiting Spark!, the latest Smithsonian exhibition to travel Illinois, when it opens on Oct. 22 at The HUB with a reception at 2:00 p.m.

Plan Your Visit

Site Specific SM Tiles Rushville
Join a book group

The NEA Big Read: Reconsidering the American Dream

Fall 2023 - Spring 2024

This year’s statewide book group series, The NEA Big Read: Reconsidering the American Dream, is a great opportunity to connect with others in your community. Free book groups and events will be centered around two books: Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh, and Infinite Country by Patricia Engel. There are numerous book groups open across the state – find one near you, and get reading!

Join a Book Group

Big Read Hero courtesy Fox River Grove Memorial Library

The Black Chicago Renaissance

October 19, 6:30 p.m., Deerfield, IL

Road Scholar speaker Dr. Amira Davis will visit the Deerfield Public Library for a live presentation of "The Black Chicago Renaissance." Dr. Davis takes guests on a journey through through the Chicago Black Renaissance from the early- to mid-20th century. The presentation includes a Q&A and an interactive component where audience members can share their own migration stories.

Register to attend

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About Illinois Humanities

Illinois Humanities is a statewide nonprofit organization that activates the humanities through free public programs, grants, and educational opportunities that spark conversation, foster reflection, build community, and strengthen civic engagement for everyone in Illinois.Founded in 1974, we are the state partner for the National Endowment for the Humanities and supported by state, federal, and private funds. Stay connected with us by subscribing to the Illinois Humanities newsletter and following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn @ILHumanities.