Livingston humanities gets a boost thanks to Montana non-profit

By: 
Samantha Hill

Starting this fall, Hometown Humanities began offering programs for Livingston residents interested in expanding topics of interest, including cultural differences.

A Missoula-based organization through Humanities Montana, HH visits communities across the state offering lecture series, grants and opportunities for residents to be more in tune with history, the arts and hot news topics.

Livingston was chosen as the location for the nonprofit last spring after members of the community wrote letters about why they think the program would be important for locals.

Since launching, the programs have been growing in popularity at Livingston-Park County Library, according to Library Programs Coordinator Tim King.

King was one of the people who applied for HH to come to Livingston. Initially he thought it would bring new ideas to the library and provide an added benefit to other areas of Livingston.

“I had no idea how far reaching this would be,” he said.

King said there have been a number of programs just the library has hosted that include minorities of Montana and  the “What Happened to the News?” lecture series. There will also be a series on women of Montana and writers workshops.

HH Program Officer Sarah Kahn said Livingston was unique because of the already well-developed humanities scene and the many nonprofit organizations established in the area.

“For many places, its more about dipping their toes into the humanities, but for Livignston, you guys are already there,” Kahn said.

She said Livingston is also unique because of the interest in politics and religion.

One of the HH programs included a Muslim scholar from Montana State University talking to students at Park High School. He will continue to visit throughout the school, Kahn said, adding there might be a possibility for other religious officials to come as well.

The high-schoolers have also taken interest in the program and, with the help of HH, were able to make a movie about teen dating violence.

“I am very proud of them — they really took the lead on this,” Kahn said.

She said the students wrote and directed the film, and have worked with ASPEN (Abuse Support Prevention & Education Network) to make people more aware of abuse that can happen.

Most recently in Livingston, there was a discussion on housing at Katabatic Brewing on Thursday. Kahn said this and other discussions will help locals discuss issues and possibly come to a solution.

Although there are many programs already set into motion, there is always more room for ideas, Kahn said, including applying for a grant which would supply $1,000 to secure any type of humanities programs.

Kahn said HH will help with Livingston programs throughout the spring and a little into summer, when it ends in August.

For the full list of HH programs in Livingston, visit http://www.humanitiesmontana.org/programs/hometown.php.

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