Lifetime Achievement in the Humanities: Honoring Gary Holthaus

Gary Holthaus will be awarded the 2018 Lifetime Achievement in the Humanities Award at the 2018 Governor's Arts & Humanities Awards on February 8 in Juneau.

For over 60 years, Gary Holthaus has strengthened communities through his work forging connections between people across, race, class, and cultural divides. For the past five years, Gary served as the minister at Anchorage Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. He is also a poet, non-fiction author, educator,non-profit administrator, and an advocate for environmental and social justice issues.

As Alaska’s first Director of Bilingual Education, he helped put together the state’s bilingual education law, making Alaska the second state in the union to have such a requirement. Gary was also the founding director of Alaska Humanities Forum, and for nearly 20 years developed many of the programs that are still part of the Forum’s activities. Outside Alaska, Gary taught at the University of Colorado and was the Director of The Center of the American West. As Director of The Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Minnesota, he authored From the Farm to the Table: What All Americans Need to Know about Agriculture. More recently, Gary authored the book, Learning Native Wisdom: What Traditional Cultures Teach Us about Subsistence, Sustainabilty, and Spirtuality. Two of Gary’s essays that appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review were cited in Robert Atwan’s “Notable American Essays” series. Gary also received an Individual Artist’s Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts. His book length poem, Circling Back, is a poetic history of the American West. Of it, poet Gary Snyder said, “If I had to recommend one book on the West, this would be it.”

Congratulations and thank you for your service, Gary!


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