Celebrating National Arts and Humanities Month

When President Obama recently declared October 2011 National Arts and Humanities Month, he described the importance of the arts in a way that many of us in the arts and technology communities would readily agree with. Speaking about the artist Norman Rockwell, the president proclaimed the power of the arts “speak to our condition and affirm our desire for something more and something better. Great works of literature, theater, dance, fine art and music reach us through a universal language that unites us regardless of background, gender, race or creed.” Every October, we celebrate National Arts and Humanities Month as a way to bring much needed attention to the arts community and encourage participation in arts-related activities. First celebrated in 1993, National Arts and Humanities Month has grown to a truly nationwide celebration of events, celebrations, festivals and parties designed to promote the arts community and increase awareness of the impact the arts can have on local communities. Thanks to the efforts of such groups as the Americans for the Arts, millions of Americans are participating in celebratory activities this month.

There are several ways you can participate in the celebration. The first is to find an event in your community celebrating National Arts and Humanities Month; there are hundreds of events happening all across the country this month, and you can find a map of these activities through the Americans for the Arts website. You can also share your story about how you are personally celebrating by sharing your experience with others online.

Another way to celebrate is through Twitter. Tweet about your experiences with National Arts and Humanities Month by using the hashtag #NAHM, and follow the official National Arts and Humanities Twitter account @NAHM to hear about events and other news relating to the celebrations happening all across the country. We here at Technology in the Arts will be tweeting about our experiences with National Arts and Humanities Month this month on our Twitter page @TechintheArts.

The celebration could not have come at a better time. With federal funding for the arts in danger of more budget cuts, as we shared with earlier this month, it’s important that we in the arts community increase awareness of both the incredible value the arts provides us and the importance of the threat that arts funding now faces on a continued basis. Therefore, celebrating with friends and family outside the arts community is more important than ever.

Here at Technology in the Arts, we celebrate arts and the humanities every single day. But having an official month, designated by the President of the United States, certainly doesn’t hurt either. In thinking about what this month means to us, President Obama put it best: “This month, we celebrate the enlightenment and insight we have gained from the arts and humanities, and we recommit to supporting expression that challenges our assumptions, sparks our curiosity, and continues to drive us toward a more perfect union.”

You can read the president’s official proclamation at the White House website.

Now we would like to hear from you. How are you celebrating National Arts and Humanities Month, and what kinds of celebrations would you like to see in future years?