Blog Article

An Important Announcement about COVID-19

Dear Friends,

Illinois Humanities activates the humanities through free public programs, grants, and educational opportunities that foster reflection, spark conversation, build community and strengthen civic engagement.

What does it mean to truly support our community? Sometimes it means making hard choices.

Today our team made a hard choice: in the interest of supporting shared public health priorities during the COVID-19 outbreak we are suspending Illinois Humanities programming through Monday, May 11. Staff will be working remotely, and all work-related travel is being canceled. In no way are grantees or program providers going to be financially penalized or asked to return grant funding for taking necessary precautions during this time.

This is exactly the kind of moment in which the humanities can help us destress, reflect, explore ideas and encourage each other. We are committed to ensuring access to free, high-quality humanities experiences in Illinois, particularly for individuals living on low incomes, counties and towns in rural areas, small arts and cultural organizations, and communities highly impacted by mass incarceration.

It is not lost on us that suspending programs might further isolate some of our communities’ vulnerable members at a time when many other options (like having visitors, eating out or going to the movies) are also being limited.

We want our partners to be able to do the best work they can while keeping our communities safe and healthy. If you would like to develop or provide digital experiences – such as access to virtual meetings via zoom or programs via livestreaming – we would love to know about these and help promote them.

We will be working on thoughtful ways to continue to make the humanities accessible through grants, education and public programs and to bridge divides amongst disparate neighbors.

We’re eager to hear your ideas, support you, and be in community at this time with you. #BeMoreHuman.


Gabrielle Lyon
Executive Director, Illinois Humanities

PS. If you feel like you’d like a good, solid dose of the power of the humanities, take a listen to Aanika Pfister read and discuss her Gwendolyn Brooks Youth Poetry Contest award-winning poem with WBEZ’s Jen White.