Humanities Montana has announced their ten Humanities Heroes for 2012.

Monica Grable of the Bitterroot Performing Arts Series and Shawn Wathen of Chapter One Book Store are among the honorees.

The Heroes awards are given to people "who have contributed significantly to the humanities by presenting engaging programs, hosting many humanities events, composing important books and articles about humanities topics, donating funds to sustain humanities work and more."  The nominations come from the Montana communities, according to press release from the organization.

Monica Grable is executive director the Bitterroot Performing Arts Series, which includes "booking" the acts that perform at the Hamilton High School Performing Arts Center for each year's series. She has overseen the program through tight financial times and the nomination said, "Audiences benefit from Monica's efforts to bring people together in the same room and entertain them with bright lights and rich, meaningful experiences."

Shawn Wathen is co-owner of Chapter One Book Store, often called the Hamilton "cultural epicenter." He has a PhD in East European intellectual history and has taught the Bitterroot Public Library's Marjorie A Crawford Literature Seminar for about 10 years now, concentrating on translated works, which he believes offer unique perspectives on the world.  He also works with teachers in Ravalli county and organizations such as Literacy Bitterroot. From the nomination, "Shawn's passion for books and ideas has influenced the culture of humanity in the community through reflection, examination and reexamination of core values and cultures."

Others selected this year include:

  • educator Hal Stearns, high school and university history teacher
  • historian Stan Cohen, founding director of the Historical Museum at Ft Missoula
  • Mark Johnson, founder of the World Affairs Council of Montana
  • broadcaster Chere Newman of Montana Public Radio
  • the late Inez Ratekin Herrig, head librarian of Lincoln Co. Free Library 1929-1989
  • Mark Sherouse, executive director of Humanities Montana 1995-2009
  • Lisa Simon, creator and producer of public radio show "Reflections West"
  • scholar Bruce Siever, executive director of Humanities Montana 1972-74

The Humanities Heroes will be honored at a reception and awards ceremony October 6th at the Holiday Inn Downtown in Missoula, starting at 4 p.m. The event will be free and is open to the public.