Bellman Brown Bag Series: Dr. Jo Powell

NEA Big Read Programming: Mythology


Loading Events

Join us for this month’s free-to-attend Bellman Brown Bag Series on Wednesday, February 8 at noon in the Matthews Theater with speaker Dr. Jo Powell and her presentation On Mythology.

Most people are familiar with the myths of the ancient Greeks and Romans, stories of the gods and goddesses that ruled the world in early Western civilizations.  However, all people around the world have their own set of myths and legends. But what exactly is mythology?   Why is it so important to us? And is it still important to us in our modern world? What we call mythology today had its foundations in attempting to explain a terrifying world, and terrifying situations and their consequences (death and suffering).  We humans are complex beings, but we have simple needs—we need to know why things happen, we need to find meaning in things, events, ourselves.  Each human culture, from the beginnings of our human history, makes its own stories about the creation of the world, the origins of humankind, and the meaning of life. There is a great, inborn need in us to understand why things happen, to make sense of this, our world. Myths provide meaning/cohesion in a society.  Science, by its requirement that all things must be proven, destroyed myths to a certain extent.  Myths are not, for the most part, true and proven.  That said, though, the purpose of myths is still valid.  We need to understand the underlying truths of myths or chaos results.

This lecture will examine mythology as a universal human need, provide examples of world mythology, and discuss some examples of folk art that were created based on that culture’s mythology.  We will also discuss why mythology still exists in our “modern” cultures today.

About the Bellman Brown Bag Series

The Bellman Brown Bag series is a humanities program designed to explore ideas, history, literature, art and culture. The Brown Bag program was developed by Dr. Stewart Bellman in the 1990’s. Recognizing the Matthews Opera House as an ideal venue for the exploration of humanities topics, he engaged a line-up of speakers to present programs on a range of humanities topics each month.

Dr. Bellman was a professor of English at Black Hills State University, Spearfish, SD. His teaching career spanned thirty years. Bellman retired from BHSU and passed away in November 2002.

Programs are presented on the second Wednesday of each month, noon to 1pm. Designed to begin and end within the lunch hour, patrons are invited to bring their lunch, if desired, or simply enjoy an hour of learning and entertainment.  This is an opportunity to gain insight into themes that touch our daily lives.


Coffee for the Bellman Brown Bag Series is generously provided by Common Grounds in Spearfish, SD.



About the NEA Big Read Program

The National Endowment for the Arts Big Read, a partnership with Arts Midwest, broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,700 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $24 million to organizations nationwide. In addition, NEA Big Read activities have reached every Congressional district in the country. Over the past 16 years, grantees have leveraged more than $56 million in local funding to support their NEA Big Read programs. More than 5.9 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event, over 97,000 volunteers have participated at the local level, and over 40,000 community organizations have partnered to make NEA Big Read activities possible.

Visit for more information about the NEA Big Read. Organizations interested in applying for an NEA Big Read grant in the future should visit Arts Midwest’s website for more information.


NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.
El proyecto NEA Big Read es una iniciativa del National Endowment for the Arts (el Fondo Nacional para las Artes de Estados Unidos) en cooperación con Arts Midwest



Date and Time:


Wednesday, February 8, 2023


12:00 pm - 1:00 pm




612 Main Street
Spearfish, 57783 United States
+ Google Map

Our Sponsors

KEVN Black Hills Fox
Holiday Inn
Black Hills Pioneer
  • Prairie Hills Transit
  • Spearfish Motors
  • Spearfish
  • DeSmet and Biggs, LLP
  • Mitchell's Barber Shop
  • South Dakota Arts Council
  • Wolff's Plumbing & Heating
  • Great Western Bank
  • Lucky's 13 Pub
  • Real Estate Center of Spearfish
  • Killian's Food & Drink
  • TDG