Home News & Events 2017 In Review: Extra, Extra, [Big] Read All About It

2017 In Review: Extra, Extra, [Big] Read All About It

A new year often marks a period of reflection and gratitude and serves as inspiration to tackle the new year. At Arts Midwest, we wanted to take a moment to look back at all the adventures our Big Read grantees have taken this year. From creative programming to community partnerships, this series explores some of the highlights from the NEA Big Read in 2017.

Extra, Extra, [Big] Read All About It

While we like to think we are their biggest fans, we aren’t the only ones who think that our Big Read grantees are great. From newspapers to blogs, radio stations to podcasts, our grantees get people talking.

  • The Lighthouse Writers Workshop was the center of a feature piece covering the growth and development of the local literary community in The Denver Post. Their Big Read programming for Citizen: An American Lyric was highlighted in the article, with the senior adviser for community communications at the mayor’s office, Rowena Alegria, stating: “We want people who don’t normally talk to each other about these kinds of topics – we wanted to provide them with that opportunity.”

full auditorium at author talk
Claudia Rankine and Mayor Michael B. Hancock in conversation at Boettcher Concert Hall, Photo taken by Amanda Tipton

  • The University of Tennessee-Knoxville’s Tennessee Today covered the Friends of the Knox County Library’s Big Read for Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, and their partnership with UT-Knoxville’s First-Year Studies’ program. From Tennessee Today’s interview with UT Director of First-Year Studies Jason Mastriogiovanni on the partnership: “’This year exceptional student work based on Station Eleven will be showcased on Market Square during the Big read program launch. We want Knoxville to see some of the work being done by the exceptional students we have at UT. We also want our students to know they have chosen a university that values community involvement and thoughtful dialogue.’”

students with books at farmer's market
Students and volunteers manning the book booth at the Knox County Farmer’s Market, Photo taken by Casey Fox

  • The Juneau Public Libraries were featured in “House Calls,” the quarterly magazine of the Bartlett Regional Hospital. The feature highlighted the illness prevention and emergency readiness programming the Juneau Public Libraries’ were launching for their Station Eleven Big Read.
  • The Waukesha Public Library’s Big Read for Charles Portis’ True Grit was promoted by former Waukesha mayor Larry Nelson in an article for The Waukesha Freeman. From the article: “One of the many reasons Waukesha is a great city is because Waukesha is a literate community that understands the benefits of reading. The record number of people using our library and supporting this program shows Waukesha Reads is more than a title, it’s a fact.”
  • The Billings Cultural Partners’ screening of Ivan and Ivy MacDonald’s documentary “When They Were Here” was covered by The Billings Gazette, in an article centered on the importance of telling Native American stories through indigenous perspectives.

Audience at documentary screening
Full audience at “When They Were Here” screening, Photo taken by Bronte Wittpenn

Do you have an NEA Big Read adventure to share from 2017? Let us know! Share your story in the Discuss section in the Grantee Dashboard or tweet #NEABigRead!