Announcing the 2024-2025 National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Communities

Each Grantee will Explore the Theme “Where We Live”
Collage of photos

Clockwise from upper left: Dana McCall speaking at Wichitalks as part of the 2022 NEA Big Read: Wichita. Photo by Riverside Photography, courtesy of Wichita Public Library and KMUW; Community celebration with Indigenous musical and dance performances at Kansas City Public Library, Central as part of their 2021-2022 NEA Big Read program. Photo by Chase Castor; Alley Theatre’s El Zócalo Committee gather at Blanca’s Café to kick-off NEA Big Read: Alley Theatre/ El Zócalo in 2021. Photo by Emily Frazee, Alley Theatre Education & Community Engagement

Washington, DC—The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), in partnership with Arts Midwest, is pleased to announce grants to 62 nonprofit organizations for NEA Big Read programming in 2024-2025. In total, the NEA is investing $1,075,000 to support programming centered around a book from the NEA Big Read Library, with the goal of inspiring meaningful conversations, celebrating local creativity, elevating a wide variety of voices and perspectives, and building stronger connections in each community.

Community programming during this cycle is focused on the theme “Where We Live.” Grantees chose their NEA Big Read book based on how its themes, characters, and setting relate to the unique aspects of their community. They will use this selection as inspiration for book discussions, writing workshops, and creative activities in collaboration with a range of local partners.

“With every page turned, the NEA Big Read fosters understanding, empathy, and connection,” said Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. “Through a shared reading experience, our NEA Big Read grantees will explore their collective story and sense of place, cultivating a deeper appreciation for the diverse narratives that make up our beautiful and complex communities.”

“We live in a nation full of so many stories,” says Torrie Allen, president and CEO of Arts Midwest. “The NEA Big Read offers jumping off points for us to connect, converse, and learn about each other, all inspired by incredible books."

Grantees are from 35 states with 40 percent of the recipients receiving their first NEA Big Read grant this year. Nearly 30 percent of grantees self-identify as rural. Each NEA Big Read grantee will receive a matching grant ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 to support their project.

Examples of 2024-2025 programming:

  • Focused on There, There by Tommy Orange, the Northern Arizona Book Festival in Flagstaff will develop an anthology and walking tour of literary Flagstaff featuring local Indigenous writers responding to the theme "Write From Place." The tour will be available via an app, allowing individual poems to be “pinned” to specific locations around Flagstaff. 
  • The Museum of Chinese in America in New York, New York, a new grantee, will launch its programming of Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu with dramatized reenactments of scenes from the book performed by local Asian American Actors. The museum will also curate a special exhibition on Asian American writing and publishing featuring early publications, rare manuscripts, first editions, literary artifacts, and community bulletins from its permanent collection. 
  • The Lake County Library in Lakeport, California, will partner with a variety of local partners on programming for The Bear by Andrew Krivak, including the Audubon Society, Sierra Club, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The area has experienced a number of devastating wildfires since 2015, and activities will explore the local environment while addressing disaster relief efforts and offering bereavement services related to the fires.

About the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read 

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 1,800 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $25 million to organizations nationwide. In addition, NEA Big Read activities have reached every Congressional district in the country. Over the past 15+ years, grantees have leveraged more than $57 million in local funding to support their NEA Big Read programs. More than 6 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event, over 100,000 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. Organizations interested in applying for an NEA Big Read grant in the future should visit Arts Midwest’s website for more information; guidelines will be released in the Fall.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that is the largest funder of the arts and arts education in communities nationwide and a catalyst of public and private support for the arts. By advancing equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, the NEA fosters and sustains an environment in which the arts benefit everyone in the United States. To learn more, visit

About Arts Midwest

Arts Midwest supports, informs, and celebrates Midwestern creativity. We build community and opportunity across Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, the Native Nations that share this geography, and beyond. As one of six nonprofit United States Regional Arts Organizations, Arts Midwest works to strengthen local arts and culture efforts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, state agencies, private funders, and many others. Learn more at


Carolyn Coons,, 202-682-5552