Mission & History


Arizona Humanities builds a just and civil society by creating opportunities to explore our shared human experiences through discussion, learning and reflection.

Who We Are

Arizona Humanities is a statewide 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the Arizona affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Since 1974, Arizona Humanities has supported public programs that promote understanding of the human experience with cultural, educational, and nonprofit organizations across Arizona.

What We Do

  • Provide grants and resources for high-quality public humanities programs
  • Promote literacy through reading events for children and families
  • Engage people in FRANK Talks about important issues facing our communities
  • Inspire lively discussions on books, films and poetry
  • Offer entertaining and informative speakers through the AZ Speaks program
  • Bring Smithsonian Museum exhibitions to rural communities
  • Recognize cultural and civic leaders through the Humanities Awards

How to Get Involved

The Arizona Humanities Story

Governor Rose Mofford and Lorraine W. Frank in 1989.

In 1973, Lorraine W. Frank became the founding Executive Director of Arizona Humanities, and within a year, with her leadership and vision for a new organization, changed the cultural development of Arizona. During her tenure, she elevated public discourse both locally and nationally and understood that engaging communities was critical to the life of the state. In 2015 Frank was inducted into the Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame.

To this day, Arizona Humanities continues to support public programming in the humanities that promotes understanding of human thoughts, actions, creations, and values. Through providing accessible and enriching educational programs, we strive to help Arizonans better understand themselves and the world around them.

Celebrating 100 Years at the Ellis-Shackelford House

In 2017 Arizona Humanities and the City of Phoenix celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Ellis-Shackelford House (1917-2017), home to Arizona Humanities in downtown Phoenix. Read more about the history of the house and facility rentals on the Ellis-Shackelford House page.

What are the humanities?

“The term ‘humanities’ includes, but is not limited to, the study and interpretation of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; those aspects of social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life.”
–National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, 1965


990 Fiscal Year 2020

To request printed materials, email info@azhumanities.org.

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