Home News & Events 2018 In Review: NEA Big Read Creative Spotlight

2018 In Review: NEA Big Read Creative Spotlight

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 2018.

Creative Spotlight

Innovative and thoughtful, celebratory and imaginative, these grantees found their creative spark in 2018.

  • Organizations across the nation led Halloween-themed programs during their fall NEA Big Reads: from Monster Balls to themed pumpkins, there was no shortage of creativity for these NEA Big Read grantees.
  • The NEA Big Read Lakeshore handed the microphone to Holland-area students in their Exhibition of Learning, where students created art surrounding Station Eleven and its questions of humanity, art, and the strength we discover in the wake of disaster.
  • During their NEA Big Read surrounding Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, the Schaumburg Township District Library showcased student work in an exhibit created by Changing Worlds and titled The Immigrant Experience: Through the Eyes of Teens.Through painted images, photographs, collage, poetry and prose, teens shared what it was like to leave their home countries and adjust to their new lives in Chicago.


A prose piece from the NEA Big Read-Changing Worlds exhibit. Photo courtesy of the Schaumburg Township District Library.

  • As part of the NEA Big Read – Wichita, the Wichita Symphony Orchestra launched a Traveling Symphony that swept the town: bringing music to unexpected performance spaces ranging from libraries to cafes to grocery stores.

  • In Odessa, TX, Odessa Arts took Station Eleven off the page: creating visual art, orchestral pieces, and more surrounding their community’s NEA Big Read reading selection. From their Featured Grantee interview

“The thing that I love about this, is these events that make people realize that they can be creative too. They can be artists. And there is no bad art! Too often, I feel like people are intimidated by art with a capital A, and it helps make art accessible to provide these opportunities for people to engage in a tangible and everyday way.”


Students play as a part of Odessa Arts’ Traveling Symphony programming for Station Eleven. Photo courtesy of Odessa Arts.

Do you have an NEA Big Read adventure to share from 2018? Let us know! Share your story in the Discuss section in the Online Community or tweet #NEABigRead!