HELENA – Actor and Montana rancher Bill Pullman was among those honoring Montanans with the Governor’s Humanities Awards on Thursday.
Five people received the award for their contributions to the state’s art, literature and cultural heritage during a ceremony in the state capitol building.
This year’s winners included Stephenie Ambrose Tubbs, Ellen Crain, Tami Haaland, Elizabeth McNamer, and Thomas McGuane.
McGuane, an author, told MTN the humanities help people understand each other better and more completely.
“They’re not designed to solve problems or make life convenient, but they lead to a kind of spiritual fulfillment that I think we’re struggling for right now,” said McGuane.
Ambrose Tubbs is a historian who’s written popular books on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Crain is the director of the Butte-Silver Bow Archives. Haaland is a leader in poetry education, and McNamer is a religious studies professor at Rocky Mountain College.
At a banquet Thursday night, Pullman was the keynote speaker. Longtime Montana broadcaster William Marcus was also there to emcee the event.
Pullman told MTN his heart remains in Montana, where he was a professional actor before Los Angeles or New York. He came to Montana decades ago to work with Shakespeare in the Parks.
“There’s people that have dedicated their lives to the higher pursuits, and it’s great that Montana has a great crop of them,” said Pullman.
“There’s a particular sense of humility and a certain kind of sense of wanting to engage with what change is going on here, and seeing ourselves as a certain kind of culture on this part of the Rocky Mountains,” he added.
Pullman said he is excited to see a new generation invested in the humanities. He is currently working on a series with a young group of filmmakers in Bozeman.
-Evelyn Schultz reporting for MTN News