Fall 2022 Bulletin: Annual Report

The Humanities, Arts & Culture

Broadway theatres in Times Square New York city. iStock.com/aluxum

The humanities, arts, and culture are woven through virtually every Academy program, where artists and humanists add interdisciplinary breadth to projects in science, democracy, and security. However, the Academy also undertakes projects that put humanities, arts, and culture at the forefront, strengthening their practice and highlighting their importance to all aspects of the nation’s thriving intellectual life. These projects call attention to the role the arts and humanities play in enriching the growth and vitality of individuals, communities, and the nation.


Commission on the Arts

Woman painting in a studio. Courtesy of Torpedo Factory Art Center

The Commission on the Arts was organized to reframe the national conversation about the role the arts play in a diverse twenty-first-century democracy, with a membership that spanned the cultural field and the geography of the United States. The work of the Commission was given added urgency by the COVID-19 pandemic, which closed venues and institutions, disrupted arts education, and threatened both the lives and livelihoods of creative workers. The artists, scholars, institutional leaders, and community advocates on the Commission issued two reports, making the case for arts education and the need for better federal policies and institutional structures to support a strong and diverse creative economy. The recommendations in the reports have already been used in the development of legislative proposals on Capitol Hill, as well as in local initiatives from Maine to California. A Mixtape of digital contributions from Commission members and other artists as well as a crowdsourced poem, curated by cochair of the Commission and Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, “Remix: For My People” (developed with PBS), supplemented the reports.

Commission Chairs

John Lithgow
Actor and Author

Deborah F. Rutter
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Natasha Trethewey
Northwestern University


Project Staff

Susy Bielak

Mary Lyons
Program Coordinator

Allentza Michel
Program Officer

Tania Munz
Chief Program Officer

Jessica Taylor
Louis W. Cabot Humanities Policy Fellow

Robert B. Townsend
Program Director



The Barr Foundation

Ford Foundation

The Getty Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The Kresge Foundation

Roger W. and Victoria P.† Sant

Commission Publications

Art for Life’s Sake: The Case for Arts Education (American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2021)

Art Is Work: Policies to Support Creative Workers (American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2021)


The Humanities Indicators

Stack of books with a graph behind them.  iStock.com/Svitlana Unuchko

The Humanities Indicators provide nonpartisan statistical information about all aspects of the humanities: from early childhood reading, through undergraduate and graduate education in the humanities, to employment and humanities experiences in daily life, such as reading and visits to museums. Now in its thirteenth year as a publicly available website, the project tracks the condition of the humanities enterprise via analyses of data gathered by the federal government as well as through its own rigorous survey research. The project is one of the most cited activities of the Academy, and journalists, advocates, government agencies, and academics regularly call on the project staff for information and their expertise. Building on the Indicators work, the Summer 2022 issue of Dædalus is dedicated to the humanities and the public, covering topics from the public humanities to the medical and environmental humanities.

Recent work has focused on outcomes for college graduates in the humanities at both the undergraduate and graduate level. The project is developing additional studies, including a survey of high school student attitudes about their encounters with humanities subjects and skills, a report on the state of the humanities in K–12 education, a study about public understanding of the term humanities, an examination of the salaries of humanities faculty relative to other fields, as well as a separate survey of humanities departments about their situation post-COVID. The Humanities Indicators are accessible at www.amacad.org/humanities-indicators.

Project Directors

Norman M. Bradburn
NORC at the University of Chicago

Robert B. Townsend
American Academy of Arts and Sciences


Project Staff

Carolyn Fuqua
Program Officer

Maysan Haydar
Carl and Lilly Pforzheimer Humanities Policy Fellow

Jessica Taylor
Louis W. Cabot Humanities Policy Fellow


Project Publications

State of the Humanities 2022: From Graduate Education to the Workforce (American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2022)

State of the Humanities 2021: Workforce & Beyond (American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2021)

The Humanities in American Life: Insights from a Survey of the Public’s Attitudes & Engagement (American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2020)


Mellon Foundation

Carl H. Pforzheimer III

The Humanities Indicators was developed with generous support from the National Endowment for the Humanities; Elihu Rose and the Madison Charitable Fund; John P. Birkelund; Peck Stackpoole Foundation; Rockefeller Foundation; Sara Lee Foundation; Teagle Foundation; Walter B. Hewlett and the William R. Hewlett Trust; and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.