Government Shutdown & National Arts & Humanities Month

Day two of the federal government shutdown has some citizens feeling the immediate sting of furloughs, or eliminated services. Others won’t be directly impacted until they start realizing that access to services or national treasures is halted.

Until the federal government is back to normal operations, national parks, national monuments, the entire Smithsonian institute; all the museums and even the Panda Cam at the National Zoo, are all off line.

Screen shot of Smithsonian Portrait Gallery website

Screen shot of Smithsonian Portrait Gallery website

What is a bit disappointing, is that October is National Arts & Humanities month. While we celebrate the arts every day in our work at Lehigh University, October is the month to commemorate the arts in a much bigger way. Even though the staff for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities are on furlough until elected leaders figure things out, we can localize our understanding of what this month means.

According to the Pennsylvania Arts Education Network,

National Arts and Humanities Month (NAHM) is a coast-to-coast collective recognition of the importance of culture in America. It is designed to encourage all Americans to explore new facets of the arts and humanities in their lives, and to begin a lifelong habit of active participation in the arts and humanities.

It was established in 1993 and is celebrated every October in the United States. It was initiated to encourage Americans to explore new facets of the arts and humanities in their lives, and to begin a lifelong habit of participation in the arts and humanities. It has become the nation’s largest collective annual celebration of the arts.

National Arts and Humanities Month’s four goals are:

  • To create a national, state and local focus on the arts and humanities through the media,
  • To encourage the participation of individuals, as well as arts, humanities and other organizations nationwide,
  • To provide an opportunity for federal, state and local business, government and civic leaders to declare their support for the arts and humanities,
  • To establish a highly visible vehicle for raising public awareness about the arts and humanities.

In an effort to celebrate the artistic and cultural heritage of our nation, we encourage all readers to share their appreciation for our shared treasures. On campus, in the city of Bethlehem, in the State of Pennsylvania, and even in communities around the country – there is evidence of great pride in the various expressions of who we are as people. Take a moment to wonder at the human spirit of creativity and expression. And if you are so moved to appreciate the work of artists in all genres and thinkers in all industries, be creative in your own celebration.

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