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National Endowment for the Arts Announces 2017-2018 NEA Big Read Grants

75 Grants Will Support Community Reading Programs in 32 States

Staten Island OUTLOUD_Group wideshot 2 by Eileen Monreale.jpg

A group of people of diverse ages sit around a classroom discussing a book.

Staten Island OutLOUD hosts a community conversation as part of their 2016 NEA Big Read activities. Staten Island OutLOUD will receive a 2017-18 NEA Big Read grant for a program on True Grit. Photo by Eileen Monreale, courtesy of Staten Island OutLOUD
 

Washington, DC—Today the National Endowment for the Arts announced seventy-five nonprofit organizations will receive grants totaling more than $1 million to host an NEA Big Read project between September 2017 and June 2018. An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book.

The 2017-2018 grants range from $5,000 to $20,000 for community reading programs taking place in 32 states and focusing on 21 works of literature, such as Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric, and Dinaw Mengestu’s The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears. Grant recipients range from schools to libraries to arts organizations.

“Through the NEA Big Read we are bringing contemporary works to communities across the country, helping us better understand the diverse voices and perspectives that come with it,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “These 75 organizations have developed unique plans to celebrate these works, including numerous opportunities for exploration and conversation.”

2017–2018 NEA Big Read grants:

Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,400 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $19 million in grants to organizations nationwide. In addition, Big Read activities have reached every Congressional district in the country. Over the past eleven years, grantees have leveraged more than $42 million in local funding to support their NEA Big Read programs. More than 4.8 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event, approximately 79,000 volunteers have participated at the local level, and 37,000 community organizations have partnered to make NEA Big Read activities possible. Last summer, the NEA announced a new focus for the NEA Big Read Library on contemporary authors and books written since the NEA was founded 50 years ago. For more information about the NEA Big Read, please visit neabigread.org.

About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more about NEA.

About Arts Midwest
Arts Midwest promotes creativity, nurtures cultural leadership, and engages people in meaningful arts experiences, bringing vitality to Midwest communities and enriching people’s lives. Based in Minneapolis, Arts Midwest connects the arts to audiences throughout the nine-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. One of six non-profit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest’s history spans more than 25 years. For more information, please visit artsmidwest.org.

Contact

Media Contact: Liz Auclair, auclaire@arts.gov, 202-682-5744
For general inquiries: Arts Midwest, neabigread@artsmidwest.org, 612-238-8010