Rick Ardinger joined the staff of the Idaho Humanities Council in 1991 as Assistant Director, and became Executive Director in 1996. Soon after he became director, the Idaho Humanities Council was the recipient in 1997 of a $1 million grant from the Albertson Foundation to support humanities education in Idaho schools. In 2006 the council completed the establishment of a $1 million Endowment for Humanities Education to provide a sustainable source of funding for annual, intensive, weeklong, residential summer institutes for K-12 teachers, supported in part by an NEH Challenge Grant. Over the years, he’s served on NEH grants panels, and on various Federation committees, including Strategic Planning, Federation Conference Planning, and the Board Nominating committees.Prior to joining the IHC, he worked as a magazine editor and later as the Public Information Officer for the Idaho Centennial Commission.
As an avocation, for more than three decades he has been the editor/publisher of Limberlost Press, a small literary press devoted to “the black art” of letterpress printing, using lead type and a century-old printing press in his garage-turned-print-shop to produce more than 60 limited editions of poetry by such noted writers as John Updike, Sherman Alexie, Margaret Aho, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Hayden Carruth, Allen Ginsberg, Jennifer Dorn, Gary Snyder, Judith Root, Ed Sanders, and Jim Harrison, as well as many poets from Idaho and the West. He has compiled and edited several anthologies of essays and fiction, and published several books of poetry.