Some trees form interesting patterns based on a phenomenon is known as "crown shyness." Photo: Dag Peak, (CC BY 2.0).
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Staying Connected Through the Humanities

At California Humanities, we believe in connection. In fact, it’s the second word in our mission statement:

To connect Californians to ideas and one another in order to understand our shared heritage and diverse cultures, inspire civic participation, and shape our future.

We’re heartened by calls we have heard for people to rethink the idea of “social distancing” as “physical distancing” while staying socially and intellectually connected.

We think of the natural phenomenon of “crown shyness,” when trees share a canopy but do not actually touch each other. It’s unknown exactly why this happens, but some researchers believe that it inhibits the spread of insect parasites from tree to tree.

We find ourselves inspired by the elegant image of these trees and the metaphor they provide of taking care of each other by being apart. It’s especially critical, in the midst of current uncertainty, that we find ways to relate across difference and space, and cultivate our ability to see the humanity in one another.

California Humanities has been doing this for the past 45 years. We’ve been keeping the people of California connected through sharing ideas and stories and conversation and are proud to be a part of a state that knows our strength is in our diversity. Despite the current public health crisis, our focus on connection won’t go away.

Our staff is working hard to make sure that the support we provide across the state through grants and other programs continues uninterrupted, and that we also practice flexibility that will allow our grantees and partners to meet the urgent and critical needs of their communities.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks as California Humanities shares humanities-focused resources for the general public that help amplify our shared humanity and bring us courage and inspiration. We hope that they help to lift your spirits as they have ours.

Current resources:

  • The Humanities at Home, a collection of virtual humanities experiences to enrich your time as you shelter-in-place.
  • A list of resources, including grants, loans, technical assistance, webinars, and best practices for organizations and individuals in the humanities and arts.
  • Guidance for grantees, including program and event changes and cancellations as well as upcoming deadlines.
  • Our approach to event postponements and cancellations publicized on our calendar.

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