2020 Annual Report

Responding to a tumultuous year

Best Photos from 2020

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builder Kevin Gardner constructing a minature stone wall in a library

Author and builder Kevin Gardner discussed the history of stone walls while building a miniature wall for a First Wednesdays presentation at the Brooks Memorial Library in Brattleboro in January.

Choral group singing inside the Vermont State House

In a Farmers Night program commemorating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, Marlboro College professor Meg Mott led a dialogue on the history and meaning of the 19th Amendment, accompanied by Wesleyan University scholar and composer Neely Bruce conducting the State House Singers.

Jazz scholar Reuben Jackson speaking with a microphone

Jazz scholar Reuben Jackson illuminated the work of Duke Ellington in a talk at Rutland Free Library on February 5. His talk, “Daybreak Express: Duke Ellington’s Train-Inspired Compositions,” was part of the Vermont Humanities First Wednesdays lecture series that is free and open to the public.

Laura Jiménez gesturing in front of a group

Vermont Reads 2020: The Hate U Give began with a powerful training on reading and racism led by Dr. Laura Jiménez in February. In November we won one of four Schwartz Prizes for outstanding public humanities programming for Vermont Reads 2019: March: Book One.

Woman in green shirt at podium surrounded by protesting workers

We launched our new podcast series, The Portable Humanist, in January of 2020. Labor historian and Dartmouth professor Annelise Orleck is the author of “We Are All Fast Food Workers Now,” which provides a close look at globalization and its costs. We spoke with Annelise by phone in late March, after the Covid-19 pandemic postponed all of our public events. Photo by Liz Cooke.

Poet Geof Hewitt seated at a picnic table with a book, looking up

We spent time in our beautiful state parks recording three poets for our Words in the Woods program. Each poet read their work against the backdrop of Vermont’s colorful seasonal landscape. In an entertaining segment, writer Geof Hewitt recited several poems and led a fast-paced writing workshop at Elmore State Park.

Group including Congressman Peter Welch at an outdoor film screening

The Vermont International Film Foundation received $7500 in CARES Act funds distributed by Vermont Humanities and the Vermont Arts Council. In partnership with Burlington City Arts, the Vermont International Film Foundation presented an outdoor screening of John Lewis: Good Trouble, a timely (and timeless) film about an exceptional man. John Lewis died on July 17, 2020.

Group of women wearing sashes on a stage

The Next Stage Arts Project in Putney received a $7500 Emergency Relief Grant from Vermont Humanities and the Vermont Arts Council. Part of the grant was used to produce two live streamed events: a theatrical lecture about the women’s suffrage movement and the 19th Amendment, and a panel discussion on voter rights. Image by Next Stage Arts.

Teenager taking a photo in a care mirror with a digital camera

“Photos for Change” was a popular theme for the Humanities Camps held in 2020. The image above was taken by a camper at the Richford Junior/Senior High School. In the summer of 2020, camps shifted to a hybrid model but were still well-attended.

Staffers Jonny Flood and Rachel Edens in front of the Vermont Humanities sign in front of the building

Jonny Flood and Rachel Edens were four new staffers who joined Vermont Humanities in 2020. Elizabeth Malone and Sahra Ali also came on board during the pandemic year.

Vermont State Curator David Schutz in front of the Vermont State House

Our first-ever virtual Fall Conference was just one of the ways that we pivoted to meet the challenges that 2020 brought to us and our state. In an exclusive video tour, Vermont State Curator David Schutz explored the architectural symbolism of our beautifully restored capitol building and visited a rural town hall.

Colorful Vermont foliage

In October we visited Osmore Pond in New Discovery State Park with poet Judy Chalmer to shoot our final Words in the Woods video for the season. Although many of the leaves were down, it was still a brilliant day, and the bright Vermont sky made us feel both wistful and energized at the same time.