West Virginia University is throwing a birthday party and the celebration is going to last the whole year.

Join the Celebration: 50 Years of the Arts and Humanities” is WVU’s yearlong celebration of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s signing of the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act into law, which created the National Endowment of the Arts and the National Endowment of the Humanities.

WVU will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the law with a two-day campus celebration.

On Tuesday, September 29, at 7 p.m. at the Creative Arts Center’s Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre, Provost Joyce McConnell will premiere a video featuring students and faculty that articulates WVU’s commitment to the arts and the humanities. The video will be followed by a free performance by the Amernet String Quartet, who will complete their weeklong residence at WVU with a recital appearance.

The next day, September 30, President Gordon Gee will show the video again at 2:30 p.m. in 130 Colson Hall to introduce the Department of English’s annual Jackson Distinguished Lecture Series, which will feature Coleman Hutchinson of the University of Texas discussing “Is It True What They Say about Dixie? Race, Memory and a Song of the South.”

Click below to hear the WVUToday radio spot about the celebration.

“The arts and the humanities are about connecting and communicating with one another, preserving our history and discovering meaning. It is about finding new ways to question the way things are so that we can find new solutions to the world’s grand challenges. That is surely a reason to celebrate,” said President Gee.

“Discoveries are being made where arts and humanities intersect with other disciplines. Those intersections have tremendous potential to change our world and our lives. I hope you join in my excitement and join the celebration.”

In the years prior to the signing of the act, there was a nationwide outpouring of support for the federal government to invest in culture. Glenn Seaborg, then the head of the Atomic Energy Commission, told a Senate committee:

“We cannot afford to drift physically, morally, or esthetically in a world in which the current moves so rapidly perhaps toward an abyss. Science and technology are providing us with the means to travel swiftly. But what course do we take? This is the question that no computer can answer.”

When President Johnson signed the act on September 29, 1965, it was a seen as a momentous step, creating two separate, independent agencies that would become two of the largest sources of funding for the arts and the humanities in America.

NEH and NEH advance and advocate for the practice and study of the arts and the humanities. Their endowments fund museums and public radio stations, support artists and scholars, and ensure that students of all ages receive education in the arts and the humanities.

“I am thrilled that the celebration of the arts and the humanities has begun—and I hope that it never really ends,” said Provost McConnell. “This is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the work of the scholars and practitioners of the arts and humanities on our campus, and on how that work enriches both campus life and our students’ educational experience.”

More details about the celebration and a calendar of events are available at http://artsandhumanities.wvu.edu/. Check back often for features, updates and showcases of WVU departments throughout the year.



CONTACT: University Relations/News

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