Humanities Nebraska Awards 34 Grants Totaling $123,853 to Communities in Nebraska.

Nebraska Cultural Endowment’s sole purpose is to sustain and amplify the arts and humanities in Nebraska. This year, over $250,000 has been awarded to Humanities Nebraska to help create more opportunities for Nebraskans to engage thoughtfully with history and culture throughout the state.  Prime Time Family Reading Time, touring exhibits from the Smithsonian, the Chautauqua summer history festival and workshops for veterans were awarded funding as well as many others through Humanities Nebraska’s discretionary grants.

Chautauqua Seward Youth

Storyteller for Prime Time Family Reading Time works with families on reading together

Humanities Nebraska has awarded 34 grants totaling $123,853 in the following Nebraska Communities:


Strategic Air and Space Museum – Apollo 11 50th Anniversary exhibit.


Friends of the Homestead – “Traditions of Homesteaders 2019”.

Central City:

Malaika Foundation – Global Education for Nebraska School.


Platte Valley Literacy Association – in support of citizenship classes.


Bethany Lutheran – African Culture Connection workshops for students.

Fort Calhoun:

Fort Atkinson Foundation – “When the Troops Meet the Native Americans.”

Washington County Historical Association – exhibit on pioneer history.


Scotts Bluff County Tourism –Scotts Bluff Celtic Gathering.


Crane River Theater Company – “Of Mice and Men” student matinee.

UNK’s Women’s and Gender Studies 30th Anniversary.

UNK’s PAWs (Personal Achievement Workshops) Summer Camps.


Asian Community and Cultural Center – continuation of “Stories of US.”

Flatwater Shakespeare Company – “Little But Fierce” youth education.

Lincoln Orchestra Association – Lincoln Crossroads Music Festival.

Nebraska Folklife Network, Inc. – Cultural Traditions of Nebraska Places.


Elkhorn Valley Historical Society – “Young At Art.”


Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts – Speaking Sounds lecture series.

El Museo Latino – “Traditional Textiles: Huipiles.”

Great Plains Black History Museum – “Will Brown & Lynching in the Great Plains of America.”

Kaneko – Passages program.

Metropolitan Community College – Great Plains Theatre Conference.

Nebraska Shakespeare Festival, Inc. – Shakespeare On Tour statewide.

Nebraska StoryArts – Moonshell Storytelling Festival

Nebraska Writers Collective – “post show discussion about “A Day in the Life.”

Omaha Area Youth Orchestra – “Common Ground in Sounds” program.

Omaha Public Library Foundation – Omaha Lit Fest 2019

UNO’s “The Arts of Samuel Bak”

UNO’s ArteLatinX 2019.

Red Cloud:

Willa Cather Foundation – Willa Cather Spring Conference 2019.


Nebraska National Guard Museum Society – commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day

Plum Creek Children’s Literacy Festival 2019.


Valentine Community Schools – toward summer learning and reading activities.

Concordia, KS:

National Orphan Train Complex Museum and Research Center – “Riders of the Orphan Trains

Foundlings to the Frontier,” presented in Nebraska communities.


The Nebraska Cultural Endowment is pleased to play a part in bringing these rich experiences to the communities of Nebraska.  We are grateful for the support of our donors and the State of Nebraska which helps to enrich the lives of Nebraska families, today and for future generations.


Jack Campbell to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

National Philanthropy Day is a day set aside to recognize those whose great contributions in philanthropy have made a difference in the lives of many.  On November 13, 2019, NCE Emeritus Board  Member Jack Campbell will be recognized with the Lifetime Achievement award for 2019 at the National Philanthropy Day Luncheon at the Embassy Suites, LaVista.

1977 Cooper Foundation Board

Campbell’s extensive community involvement includes serving as past chair/president of the Nebraska Foundation for the Humanities, the Nebraska Library Commission, Lincoln City Libraries and its Foundation and the Sheldon Art Association.  Campbell is the longest serving chair of the Cooper Foundation in Lincoln, as well as a long-time trustee and now serves as Cooper Foundation’s Chair Emeritus.   Jack also has served as Board member of the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Nebraskans for Public Television, The Lincoln Community Foundation, the Museum of Nebraska Art, and the Nebraska Historical Society Foundation.

As a director for the Nebraska Foundation for the Humanities, Jack recognized the key to sustainability and growth for the long term was to develop a strong fundraising program which reduced dependence on federal dollars.  Jack helped to recruit other business people and community volunteers to join the foundation board and instilled the importance of fundraising and their role in those responsibilities.

As a founder of the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, he worked tirelessly to bring together the interests of private citizens and elected officials in order to establish the first public-private trust to fund both the arts and humanities in 1998.  These public and private funds serve to perpetuate the arts and humanities in Nebraska by expanding and sustaining the program and projects of the Humanities Nebraska and the Nebraska Arts Council.

Cooper Foundation Board 2018

Campbell remains closely involved with the Nebraska Cultural Endowment as a founding member of its Legacy Donors, and remains one of the Endowment’s three Emeritus members.  He also continues to serve Humanities Nebraska as an Advisory Member.

Campbell has played a pivotal role in the strength of Nebraska, whether through its cultural sector, local foundations or public universities.  Each of these inform the state’s economic development, education outcomes and quality of life.

The Nebraska Cultural Endowment offers our sincere congratulations to Jack for this most deserving of awards and recognition for the extensive contributions he has made to the community in creating sustainable infrastructure for many of Nebraska’s most treasured resources.


Joe Starita to receive 2019 Sower Award

Joe Starita will receive the 2019 Sower Award in the Humanities as announced by Humanities Nebraska.  Starita will be presented with the award on Thursday, October 24 at Omaha’s Holland Performing Arts Center.  The presentation will immediately precede the 24th Annual Governor’s Lecture.


Starita is currently a journalism professor at University of Nebraska, Lincoln’s College of Journalism and Mass communications.  Before joining the faculty in 2000 Sarita was an investigative reporter at the Miami Herald where he specialized in exposing unethical practices in the medical community.  One of his stories of extortion of insurance companies with bogus claims was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in the category of local reporting.

Starita is also an author of three books that have been recognized for exploring the role of Native Americans in history.  “The Dull Knifes of Pine Ridge – A Lakota Odyssey” was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.  Proceeds from “I Am a Man: Chief Standing Bear’s Journey for Justice and “A Warrior of the People: How Susan La Flesche Overcame Racial and Gender Inequality to Become America’s First Indian Doctor” fund scholarships that enable Nebraska Native American students to attend college.  Starita earned the national civil right award, Leo Reano Award in July of 2011, for his work with the Native American Community.


Starita’s ability to deeply probe these subjects that have shaped the past and the lives of many secures him as one of Nebraska’s treasures.  The Nebraska Cultural Endowment would like to extend our sincere congratulations to Starita for this well-deserved honor.


Marc and Kathy LeBaron Receive 2019 Sheldon Award

Marc and Kathy LeBaron were presented with the 2019 Sheldon Award at the Sheldon Art Association’s biennial gala on Saturday, May 11, 2019 in Lincoln, Nebraska honoring their leadership, service and generous spirit.

The LeBaron’s love of art began as a passion early on in their lives and grew from there.  Much of their joy comes from sharing art with others and is evident at the Assemblage, a gallery in Lincoln, Nebraska which includes privately owned pieces from their collection.  Art is also present in their workplace, Lincoln Industries, where Marc is CEO and Kathy is Community Affairs Coordinator.  Art plays a big part in their lives and their generosity brings art to the community. 

Both Marc and Kathy appreciate art’s ability to stimulate creativity and to foster conversation, communication and understanding.  Neither do it for recognition, it is purely a passion that they love sharing with others.  Both recognize the positive impact that art has on society and work to make it accessible to their community.

Marc serves as a Board member for Nebraska Cultural Endowment.  Kathy has served on the Sheldon Museum of Art Board and the Nebraska Arts Council Board.  The Nebraska Cultural Endowment would like to congratulate Marc and Kathy for their vision and dedication to bringing the arts to Nebraskans and for the distinct honor of being named 2019 Sheldon Award recipients. 

Matt Mason Named Nebraska State Poet

Matt Mason of Omaha will be instated as Nebraska State Poet 2019-2023 at a 10:00 AM ceremony Monday, February 25 in the State Capitol’s Warner Chamber.  Governor Pete Ricketts named Mason as State Poet in late January.  The public is invited to attend the ceremony.

Mason is executive director of the Nebraska Writers Collective and an award-winning poet.  He has been actively involved in poetry education and advocacy programs through outreach and long-time community involvement.   During his tenure he will be giving public presentations and readings as well as leading workshops and library festivals in communities throughout the state.

The Nebraska State Poet selection is the joint effort of the Nebraska Arts Council, Humanities Nebraska and the Nebraska Library Commission in cooperation with the State of Nebraska.  To learn more you can visit his website at  Nebraska Cultural Endowment wishes to congratulate Matt on this great achievement and thank him for taking on this important role in our State.

Dr. Amy Haddad joins NCE Board of Directors

The Nebraska Cultural Endowment is pleased to announce the election of Dr. Amy Haddad to our Board of Directors.  Dr. Amy Haddad is Professor Emerita in the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions at Creighton University.  Dr. Haddad served as Director for the Center for Health Policy and Ethics from 2004 to 2018 where during her tenure she led the development of a fully-online graduate program in health care ethics.  Amy was selected for the national Carnegie Scholars program in 2001.  She is currently the Immediate Past-President of the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities, the largest professional association in bioethics and health humanities in the United States.  Recently, Dr. Haddad completed her MFA in Creative Writing at Queens University in Charlotte, NC.

Amy has a deep passion and love for the arts and humanities.  Amy, along with her husband Steve, have been extensively involved in the arts and humanities of Nebraska for many years and see it purely as a labor of love.  Whether it be presenting a poetry reading at the Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha, serving as honorary chairs of the American Midwest Ballet 2018 Gala or supporting the Blue Barn Theatre 30th Anniversary Gala, among many others, Dr. Haddad is a champion for the arts and humanities in our state.


Amy Haddad and husband Steve at Durham Museum event.

The Arts and Humanities in Amy’s own words:

What are the purposes of the arts and the humanities in society?

I think the purpose of the arts and humanities in society is to remind us of what it means to be a human being.  The arts and humanities bring us out of the everyday in many ways but also bring us closer to what it means to be human individually and collectively. By this I mean that there are universal elements in the arts and humanities that lie in the details. The arts and humanities feed our souls as well.” 


How do you see the NCE making a real impact for our communities?

I believe that NCE secures a future for the arts and humanities in Nebraska that withstands the vicissitudes of politics and politicians. If the arts and humanities are necessary for our existence as human beings, and I believe they are, then we need to make sure that we have resources to support the work of artists and make their creative work available to as many of the citizens of the state as we can. I see the impact in programs that reach out to schools in Nebraska, community centers, etc. that bring art and the humanities to communities or bring students to them.”


What roles have the arts and humanities played in your personal growth?

I just completed a Master of Fine Arts degree at Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina in the creative writing program. Specifically, I am working on a poetry collection. I have written poetry since I was in grade school and by fits and starts worked on my creative writing without the benefit of any formal education. For the past two years, I have been studying and working on improving my writing and by so doing have learned a lot about myself. As one of my teachers noted, we keep writing different iterations of the same poem. I think you can say that about all creative work when you look at many art forms or sister-disciplines in the humanities. We focus on abiding images or themes and work creatively to express them.” 


Amy’s poetry installation at the Buffet Cancer Center in Omaha

Why do you serve as board member of the NCE?

My husband Steve and I have always been big fans of the arts and see as much local and regional theater as we can. Of course, we love the visual arts as well as literature. We have been blessed with the ability to help support arts organizations in the community and wanted to continue to do so on a level that would sustain the arts and humanities in the state. There are a lot of resources and talent in Nebraska that should not only be shared with as many people in the state as possible but with the country as well. I think by serving on the board I will be able to spread the word to others who have the financial resources to support such a worthwhile and sound endeavor as NCE.”


What surprises you, or has surprised you, about the arts and humanities in Nebraska?

I didn’t realize the span of some of the programs to reach so many communities. I was also pleased to learn that some very wise folks had the vision to set up NCE to accomplish its important work. I knew that there were amazing artists across the state as I have had the pleasure of meeting them including some fantastic writers as well. I was surprised about how many more there are that I am just learning about.”


The Nebraska Cultural Endowment is thrilled to welcome Amy to its Board of Directors. Amy brings to the organization a great passion and demonstrated involvement in the arts and humanities. We are grateful for her service to this mission.




NAC Director to Receive National Award

The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) has named Suzanne Wise, executive director of the Nebraska Arts Council, the recipient of its 2018 Gary Young Award. The award recognizes an executive director who has made an extraordinary contribution to public support for the arts at the state, regional and national levels. The award will be presented on November 3 during NASAA’s annual conference, Assembly 2018, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Suzanne Wise has been executive director of the Nebraska Arts Council (NAC) since 2003. Before her appointment, she served on the NAC staff managing grant programs, special initiatives and the 1% for Art program. She was part of the development team that established the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, a public-private partnership that raises and invests funds for NAC and Humanities Nebraska. The endowment is currently at $20 million and is on track to have assets of $30 million by 2029.

During Wise’s tenure as director, NAC has collaborated with the Nebraska Department of Education in developing the state’s first fine arts curriculum standards, reestablished the Nebraskans for the Arts advocacy organization and created an artist showcase gallery at the NAC offices in Omaha’s Old Market district.

Wise has served on the boards of the Lincoln Arts Council, Sheldon Film Theatre (now Ross Media Arts Center), National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and Mid-America Arts Alliance. Her service to the field also includes serving on grant review panels at the federal, state and local levels and providing facilitating services for area colleges and universities.

Wise has degrees in art history from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Kansas. She held curatorial positions at Sheldon Art Museum in Lincoln, Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha and Block Gallery at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and has taught at Creighton University and the Lincoln and Omaha campuses of the University of Nebraska. She was awarded an Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Hixon-Lied College of Fine & Performing Arts.

“NASAA applauds Suzanne Wise’s receipt of the Gary Young Award, our field’s highest honor for executive leadership,” said NASAA President and CEO Pam Breaux. “The constructive collaborations she has piloted throughout her state, her policy acumen, and her commitment to arts education and advocacy have greatly advanced the public value of the arts in Nebraska. NASAA is pleased to recognize Suzanne’s many accomplishments with this award.”

The Gary Young Award was established by the New England Foundation for the Arts to honor the memory of a man who made numerous contributions to the state arts council movement in the United States, and to provide recognition to those who carry on his tradition of leadership in this field.

Founded in 1968 and celebrating 50 years of service in 2018, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies is the nonpartisan membership organization that serves the nation’s state and jurisdictional arts agencies. NASAA helps state arts agencies fulfill their many citizen service roles by providing knowledge services, representation and leadership programs that strengthen the state arts agency community. NASAA also serves as a clearinghouse for data and research about public funding and the arts. To learn more about NASAA and state arts agencies, visit


Former NCE ED to receive 2018 Sower Award

Humanities Nebraska announced that Pamela Hilton Snow of Ashland will receive the 2018 Sower Award in the Humanities. Mrs. Snow will be honored on Tuesday, October 9 at a benefit reception and dinner held at Lincoln’s Embassy Suites hotel. The 23rd Annual Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham will follow at the Lied Center for Performing Arts.

The Sower Award is presented annually to an individual who has made “a significant contribution to public understanding of the humanities in Nebraska.” This contribution can be through any combination of time, expertise, or resources, and the selection committee examines how the nominee has helped inspire and enrich personal and public life in our state through the humanities.

Born and raised in Lincoln, Pamela Hilton Snow is known for her passion and commitment to the humanities in Nebraska. In his nomination letter, Robert Nefsky referred to Mrs. Snow as “among those Nebraskans whose contributions to the humanities have made a real difference.”

A founding board member (1999-2006) and former executive director (2006-2014) of the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Mrs. Snow’s long history of serving the humanities includes being a board member (1996-2006) and chair (1999-2000) of Nebraska Humanities Council, and board member (1999-2006) of the Nebraska Foundation for the Humanities. She was also instrumental in bringing the Great Plains Chautauqua to Grand Island, planning and consulting for the Nebraska Book Festival, and recruiting Humanities Nebraska board members.

Mrs. Snow has served on several other boards and is a current board member of the Cooper Foundation.  She travelled to other state humanities councils as a National Endowment for the Humanities site visitor and consultant, and helped strengthen many other Nebraska institutions.

Edythe Manza, retired director of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ (NEH) Federal-State Partnership Division, wrote from Maryland, “During my time at NEH, I worked with dozens of site visitors. Pamela Hilton Snow was one of the best…[She] understands the importance of collaboration. She represented NEH in the highest professional way while also bringing distinction to Nebraska, its cultural institutions generally, and Humanities Nebraska in particular.”

According to Kim West Dinsdale, Mrs. Snow is known for her talent to create successful teams through her incredible leadership skills. “Her name is synonymous with the Humanities,” Dinsdale wrote. “It is out of respect for Pam and all that she has done that people are eager to say, ‘Yes!’”

Mrs. Snow is credited for her leadership, organization, philanthropy, knowledge and love for the arts and humanities. She is also a talented writer and photographer. Her hard work in Nebraska, specifically the Grand Island area, led to the creation and enhancement of many institutions of the humanities that have benefitted countless communities.

The 2018 Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities is presented by Humanities Nebraska, along with co-sponsors E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues and the University of Nebraska. The free public lecture by Jon Meacham is titled, “Tumult, Tragedy and Hope: America in 1968 from a Half Century’s Perspective.”

The 7:30 p.m. lecture is free and open to the public. Table sponsorships and tickets for the pre-lecture benefit reception and dinner are now available for purchase. For more details visit

From the board and staff of the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, congratulations to Pamela Hilton Snow for being awarded the 2018 Sower Award in the Humanities. This award recognizes Mrs. Snow’s tremendous leadership, commitment and dedication to furthering the humanities in Nebraska. She has, and continues to, cultivate a legacy which has empowered communities and inspired many.

Please consider joining the Nebraska Cultural Endowment and Humanities Nebraska, along with the Nebraska Arts Council, as we, too, cultivate a legacy for the arts and humanities in Nebraska.