The Utah Endowment for the Humanities recently won its third $50,000 merit award in a row for outstanding overall programming in Utah - one of seven or eight awards that the National Endowment for the Humanities hands out annually.
Projects that attracted the prize and those responsible were: Glade Hunsaker of BYU, "Willa Cather Symposium;" Ed Jenson, "A Symposium on the Medieval Period;" Sue McCoy of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, the Aston Magna Academy's exploration of culture in 18th century France; and Helen Cox of the Book Group, "War and Peace in Contemporary America," an eight-week film/reading discussion at the Salt Lake City Public Library.Also, Elise Lazar of Women Concerned about Nuclear War for "Utah/Soviet Awareness Week," in Granite School district; Roger K. Hanson of Marriott Library for "Newton's Principia, Understanding the Gravity of the Situation," an exhibit of rare books and lecture; Edward G. Lueders of the U. of U. for "Writing Natural History; Dialogues with Authors;" and Douglas Schrems of KUED for "Issues of Life and Death," a TV forum that dealt with abortion, capital punishment, and euthanasia.
Further, Cary Stevens-Jones of the Utah Arts Council, "A Woman's View: the Photography of Effie Huntington," exhibition and catalog, which is now traveling statewide; and Ann Floor, "The Traveling Scholar and Writer Forum."
Among the past year's outstanding NEH programs, executive director Delmont R. Oswald immediately highlighted the Great Author Speaking Tours by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Daniel Boorstin and popular Jewish author Chaim Potok. Programs of reading their works were established in Salt Lake City, Ogden, Vernal, Price, Blanding, Ephraim and St. George, followed by the authors' lectures. Oswald felt pride in Utah as he traveled the state with these men.
"Potok said that if he had given a lecture in New York state, he would not have had the quality of questions he had in Blanding," he said. "The school even changed the time of a football game so people could hear him! Potok found Utah scenery a mystical experience; and he is coming back, to travel and to speak at USU." Oswald hopes to make the Great Author Tour annual.
Another highlight was the Utah/
Soviet Awareness Week, keyed around the Russian observers who have come to Hercules. "They did things like having an actress dressed as Catherine the Great come into the classroom, and the kids could ask questions," he said. "Storytellers told folktales. The inspectors came into people's homes and got acquainted. Granite district has re-funded this project for another year, on the secondary level rather than elementary."
Oswald found it significant that KUED's `Issues of Life and Death' could draw upon expertise of top theologians, historians, doctors and lawyers to discuss subjects that a few years ago would have been taboo in Utah. (He's pleased with the broadening scope of areas that Utahns will discuss.)
"It was a risk-taking project, the sort our critics say we are loath to take on," he said. "Abortion, capital punishment and euthenasia are threatening issues, and we presented all different points of view. The one-hour program is already being used in high schools of Utah."