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New Year’s Means Resolution Time

New Year’s Means Resolution Time!

by Executive Director, Ashley Beard-Fosnow

New Year’s means resolution time! If you have a goal-driven personality like I do, you probably share my enthusiasm for hitting the new year running, full steam ahead. In the past, I’ve picked goals such as saving money, learning to play a new instrument, or building up mileage to run a longer race. This year, however, the soul of our state is calling me in a different direction: rather than accomplishing things, I genuinely want to fill my year with deep and meaningful experiences.

When I speak to groups across Missouri, I often describe the humanities as “the process for pursuing truth about the human condition.” Repeating this statement over and over is likely the origin of my redirected aspirations. Even beyond my 8-5 professional responsibilities as the Executive Director of Missouri Humanities, my goal for 2023 is to add meaning and beauty to my life by filling my discretionary time with quality humanities-based experiences. For example, I resolve to take my 82-year-old father to see Missouri’s National Veterans Memorial in Perryville. I want to retrace my grandmother’s steps through Hannibal, recreating the sightseeing trip she took in 1955, weeks before her death. Building on the fun we had at last year’s Sweet Corn Celebration in Trelor, I resolve to expose my teenagers to art and culture this summer at Horizons festivals across the state.

I resolve to read more, think deeply, and understand much. The Roots & Routes events in 2023 will offer plenty of enriching opportunities to achieve this goal. More than anything, though, I want to walk and talk with you this year! Let’s meet on the Katy or the Rock Island trails for long walks when the weather warms up to discuss the local communities along the trails. I would love to hear your stories and learn what humanities initiatives are being dreamed up and implemented in your neck of the woods.

The humanities help us weigh the ideas, statements, and discourse we read and hear. We gain wisdom and vision through literature, history, philosophy, ethics, and language. We already know that the humanities strengthen communities; in the coming year, I resolve to make sure they also have a greater impact on the lives of individuals like you and me.

What is your New Year’s resolution? I would be tickled to hear them. Please email me at I welcome your feedback on our work and I look forward to hearing your suggestions on how we can make the humanities a larger part of public life in communities across Missouri.

And of course…

Happy New Year!