Congratulations to Liz Warren, Dr. Almira Poudrier, Dagoberto Bailon, the Arizona State Library, Archives, and Public Records, and the Shackelford Family

Arizona Humanities is delighted to announce the recipients of the 2018 Arizona Humanities Awards. The recipients will be honored at a public reception on Sunday, March 25, 2018 at Phoenix Theatre in downtown Phoenix. The recipients of this year’s Humanities Awards are:

Two new Community Partner Awards will be presented this year. The Arizona Humanities Board of Directors created the Community Partner Awards to recognize organizations or individuals that have demonstrated outstanding support to Arizona Humanities, and the advancement of the humanities in Arizona.

Brenda Thomson, Executive Director of Arizona Humanities shared, “We are delighted to honor all of the award winners, and especially pleased that we are able to salute these community partners. These award winners help us bring the rich cultural history of Arizona to communities everywhere.”

Read more about each award recipient below. Save-the-date for the Arizona Humanities Awards to be presented on Sunday, March 25, 2018 at Phoenix Theatre (100 E McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85004). For more information or to purchase tickets through eventbrite, visit or call 602-257-0335.

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Liz Warren, Faculty Director, SMCC Storytelling Institute

Liz Warren, a fourth-generation Arizonan, directs the South Mountain Community College Storytelling Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. The Institute received the Maricopa Community Colleges 2016 Diversity Award, and the 2014 New Times Best of Phoenix award for “Best Place to Learn to Tell Tales.” Her textbook, The Oral Tradition Today: An Introduction to the Art of Storytelling is used at colleges around the nation. Her recorded version of The Story of the Grail received a Parents’ Choice Recommended Award and a Storytelling World Award. Warren serves as storytelling coach for the popular Arizona Storytellers Project produced by the Arizona Republic. In July 2014 she received the Oracle Award for Service and Leadership from the National Storytelling Network. In September 2014 Warren was named to the New Times list of 100 Creatives in Phoenix.  She has also served on the Arizona Humanities AZ Speaks roster as a Road Scholar. Warren holds a B.S. in Anthropology and M.A. in Anthropology from Arizona State University and spends most summers in Ireland teaching for Mesa Community College’s Study Abroad Ireland program.

“I am so thankful to Arizona Humanities for all it has done to promote and deepen the public’s understanding of storytelling, and I’m deeply honored to be named the 2018 Humanities Public Scholar. Historian and filmmaker Ken Burns has said, “the humanities help us all understand almost everything better.” In my experience, the humanities and oral traditional storytelling have this in common.  Participating in storytelling as tellers and as listeners helps us open our hearts and minds to others. When we share stories with each other face-to-face in real-time, we forge connections that make our society stronger and more comprehensible….we learn to understand each other better and develop compassion for ourselves and our neighbors.” Liz Warren

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Almira Poudrier, Senior Lecturer, School of International Letters and Cultures at Arizona State University

Dr. Almira Poudrier is Senior Lecturer in the School of International Letters and Cultures at Arizona State University.  Her research interests include Greek history and religion, particularly the material culture of religious space and cult described in Herodotus. A specialist in teaching first-year Latin, she teaches many of the lower division Latin courses at ASU, as well as courses in ancient Greek and Roman language, myth, culture, the classical tradition, and comparative literature. Dr. Poudrier is faculty sponsor of Solis Diaboli (the Classics Club on campus), and liaison for Apples + Archaeology, where she organizes the yearly Fall Forum in Classics, and outreach activities both on and off campus. She organizes the annual international poster contest at the SILC Language Fair, and serves as Vice-President of the Central Arizona Society of the Archaeological Institute of America, which brings monthly lectures on archaeology and material culture from national and international scholars to the Valley. As the organizer of the ACMRS Medieval Latin Research Group, she also leads weekly reading sessions in translating Medieval and Renaissance Latin authors. Dr. Poudrier holds a BA in Classical Civilizations from Beloit College, an MA in Ancient Greek from the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis, and  PhD in Classics from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

“Earth without art is just eh. This award is a lovely way to acknowledge all the people fighting in the trenches, every day in every little way, to keep humanities alive and thriving… They are gentle warriors for truth and beauty, and I’m so honored to be counted among them.” Dr. Almira Poudrier

Photo: Dr. Almira Poudrier courtesy Arizona State University School of International Letters and Cultures

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Dagoberto Bailon, Community Activist

Dagoberto Bailon, is a social justice activist and the co-founder of Trans Queer Pueblo “TQP”. Bailon uses art and culture as the primary vehicles for community building and facilitating social change for transgender and queer migrants of color in Phoenix. He began organizing in 2006 to stop Proposition 300 from barring undocumented students access to in-state tuition. His activism grew from there to include speaking, performing and grass roots fundraising to promote justice, and increase awareness of LGBTQ, transgender, and undocumented communities. Bailon is committed to creating safe spaces for us to examine the complex legal and social issues these communities face as they search for identity and home. TQP’s work includes programs on health justice, family acceptance, community defense, and economic justice.

“I feel hopeful to receive this award, especially in the current climate when we are seeing the normalization of bigotry, racism, inequality and hate. It is important to continue having platforms that celebrate and highlight the uniqueness of our Trans Queer Migrant communities of Color. When we analyze the things that divide us, we find that they are all part of the same thread.” Dagoberto Bailon

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The Shackelford Family

The Outstanding Supporter Award recognizes an individual or organization that has provided outstanding financial support to expand the reach of the humanities throughout Arizona. The Arizona Humanities business office for the past 20 years, is located in what was formerly the Shackelford family home. The Shackelford family preserved fixtures and artifacts of the home when it was slated for demolition, and returned those items when the home was earmarked for historic protection, and renovation. The family has committed significant volunteer time and financial support to the work of Arizona Humanities.

The Shackelford Family shared, “For five generations, The Shackelford Family has been a part of Arizona communities. Since the early 1900s, our history is persevered with many artifacts and memories, including ties to the historic Ellis-Shackelford House at 1242 N. Central Avenue, the home to Arizona Humanities for almost 30 years.  In the words of Stuart Graff, CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, “the best way to preserve a historic home is to make it a living legacy to the values of those who created it.”  We are grateful for the stewardship Arizona Humanities demonstrates through the care of the house and its use for programs that promote community engagement. We thank Arizona Humanities for this living legacy and appreciate opportunities to support them in the work they do.”

For more information about the Ellis-Shackelford House and history of the family, please visit:

Pictured: Sue Spahle and Brian Shackelford at the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the Ellis-Shackelford House, 2017

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Arizona State Library, Archives, and Public Records

The Founder’s Community Partner Award is named for Arizona Humanities founder, Lorraine W. Frank, and recognizes an outstanding partner who has promoted the humanities through sustained program contributions to communities. For more than one hundred years, the Arizona State Library, Archives, and Public Records has dedicated itself to preserving Arizona history and providing continued public access to the historical documents that tell the story of our state. Few cultural institutions have the type of impact community libraries have on our society. The Arizona State Library has collaborated with Arizona Humanities on programs for over 30 years and in particular on AH’s longest running AZ Speaks program (originally Arizona Speakers Bureau) which reached every county last year, and was attended by over 14,000 people. The Library currently partners on the new FRANK Talks community conversation program in libraries statewide.

Holly Henley, State Librarian shared, “Working with Arizona Humanities is a natural partnership for the Arizona State Library, since our missions support one another. The State Library strives to provide Arizonans access to information, preserve Arizona’s history, and empower local institutions to engage their communities in learning. We appreciate that public programs supported by Arizona Humanities, such as FRANK Talks

and AZ Speaks, create opportunities for community engagement in libraries throughout Arizona.”  

Photo: FRANK Talk program courtesy Chandler Public Library Flickr

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Arizona Humanities would like to recognize all of the nominees for this year’s awards. Every nomination packet contained letters of support outlining the achievements of these individuals in the humanities community.

Humanities Public Scholar Nominees: Erica Alexander, Fabian Alfie, Laura Camden, Betsy Fahlman, Grace Gamez, Doug Hocking, Bjorn Krondorfer, Joan McGregor, Kathy Nakagawa, Michelle Tellez

Friend of the Humanities Nominees: Carol Osman Brown, Susan French, John Genette, James Pennington, Jean Reynolds, Christine Rhodes, Adama Sallu, Rodo Sofranac

Humanities Rising Star Nominees: Jose Gomez, Will Hightower 



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