Art Works Blog

The Big Read

Just a few more weeks before our newest National Endowment for the Arts Big Read programs will kick off around the nation. Until then, why not get excited by digging into a few of our recent podcasts with Big Read authors? Enjoy! Adrian Matejka “How do you embody someone with such a complex and...
"The greatest gift is not being afraid to question." — Ruby Dee Ruby Dee was an award-winning actress, Civil Rights activist, poet, and playwright. In 1995 she received the National Medal of Arts (with her husband Ossie Davis). Listen to her inspiring words on the human spirit—recorded as part of...
"We have become even more aware this year of the important ways the arts help us connect with others, and how they bring meaning, joy, and comfort to our lives. These 84 organizations leading NEA Big Reads will provide opportunities for deep discussion and ways to help us better understand one...
On a recent trip to Miami, Endowment Director of Literary Arts Amy Stolls found herself at the city’s police headquarters. Home to a 911 call center, offices for top brass, and an investigations department, Stolls was there “to talk about books,” as she told an officer who was directing visitors...
"I think the two things that make me happiest if I can sort of achieve them in a story is to make somebody laugh, or to make them feel kind of a sense of eeriness or maybe a chill. And in some ways I think the two sensations they run parallel with each other. In fact, sometimes I think that they’re...
"The concept of a literature of witness—of bearing witness—has embedded in it the need for action. One must not simply hide in the shadows and type; one must also stand in the light." — Luis Alberto Urrea Catch up on what's new with the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read here .
Did you know that Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 was one of the original books for the NEA Big Read ? In this short film— created expressly for the program—Bradbury, who received the National Medal of Arts in 2004, enthuses about his enduring love of libraries, reveals how an encounter with a...
Maybe it’s the hot hazy days of summer that make my surroundings feel surreal sometimes, but I’ve been thinking about strange creatures lately. Evenings especially can be eerily quiet with so many of my fellow city dwellers out of town that I get to thinking: what else is out there in the dark? Did...
"We live in what is, but we find a thousand ways not to face it. Great theater strengthens our faculty to face it." — Thornton Wilder What's on your summer reading list? Visit the NEA Big Read library if you're looking for suggestions—from Thornton Wilder's classic play Our Town to Emily St. John...
NEA Big Read author Nathaniel Philbrick hated Herman Melville’s novel Moby-Dick as a teenager because his father, an English professor specializing in maritime literature, talked at length about the book. Once he finally read it in high school, he was hooked by the first sentence, and to this day...

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