warbler in Magee Marsh, Ottawa County

Magee Marsh, Ottawa County

By now, we’ve all read many, many online messages about institutions closing their doors, cultural workers repositioning to work in isolation, events or services being canceled. Ohio Humanities is not immune to the massive disruption caused by the coronavirus, but we’re taking action to minimize disruption and still bring you humanities programming.

We’re monitoring state and federal guidance about the coronavirus, making program decisions based on the latest information. At this point, we all know that guidance changes from day to day, and so the best way to stay informed about Ohio Humanities programs is to check our website or follow us on FaceBook and Twitter.

We’ve created a virtual office to ensure the health of our staff while continuing to provide service and programming for the state. The best way to reach us is via email:

Pat Williamsen, Executive Director  
David Merkowitz, Assistant Director |  major grants
Rob Colby, Program Officer |  monthly & quarterly grants 
Sam Chase, Program Coordinator | Speakers Bureau & Ohio Chautauqua
Missy Flinn, Communications | Pathways & communications 
Jim Calder, Web Master  | social media & calendar
Roger Burns, Development
Marc Smith, Business Manager
Diane Schroeder, Administration
Program partners, such as Speakers Bureau hosts and directors for grant-funded projects are being encouraged to reschedule events, whenever possible. Visit www.OhioHumanities.org for calendar updates.

Deadlines for grant applications will remain the same as previously published. The pandemic won’t last forever and we encourage you to plan for the future when we’ll all be able to come together again. Our program officers are equipped to meet with you virtually to prepare a successful grant application.

We are embracing technology to bring you activities and ideas to explore, reflect, and interpret our lives and the world around us. Want a good book to read? We’ll share what we’re reading now. Have you run through all the Hollywood blockbusters and B-List films on Netflix? Tune in to our social media feeds to watch a documentary about an Ohio topic. Frustrated by conflicting information from too many news sources? Listen again to our media literacy podcasts.

Creative thinking knows no boundaries. We’ll be sharing great content created by other state humanities councils, like the poem by Ted Kooser at the end of this e-newsletter. Thus, while our daily lives are narrowed by self-isolation and physical distancing, you can enjoy a world of ideas from far and wide.

For reliable information about COVID-19 and the state’s efforts to contain the virus, visit https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/ or call the Ohio Department of Health hotline at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634). Governor Mike DeWine’s daily 2 p.m. press briefing can be accessed on PBS and NPR stations.

Like all of you, we share the anxiety and frustration of the current moment. As a humanities community, we are encountering profound challenges and many unknowns. But I want to assure you that our commitment to providing exemplary public programs remains unchanged. If anything, our sense of service is deepening as we explore innovative ways to share the riches of the humanities and the stories that matter.

Pat Williamsen

Executive Director

Ted Kooser teaches creative writing at The University of Nebraska. He served as United States Poet Laureate from 2004-2006, and was awarded the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Read more of his poetry at https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/ted-kooser. (Graphic by David Haldeman, Washington Humanities.)