Home Programs National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Guidelines and Application Instructions

Guidelines and Application Instructions

The application deadline has passed. Please bookmark this page and visit again in October 2022 for updated instructions. The guidelines below should be used for reference only.

Application Deadline: Wednesday, January 26, 2022
Programming Dates: September 1, 2022—June 30, 2023

Steps to follow

  1. Download the application checklist to guide you through the process.
  2. Download a copy of the application guidelines in Word format.
  3. View the list of eligible reading selections to choose from.
  4. Submit your intent to apply to begin your application.
  5. Complete and submit the application form by midnight (Central time) Wednesday, January 26, 2022. Instructions to access your application will be sent once your intent to apply has been processed.

Contact Us

Arts Midwest manages all grant applications for the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read from eligible applicants nationwide and serves as the program manager on behalf of the National Endowment for the Arts. If you have questions about the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read, application components, or the application guidelines, please call Arts Midwest at 612.238.8010 or email [email protected].

Application accessibility

The National Endowment for the Arts and Arts Midwest strive to provide accessibility services and accommodation solutions to ensure that people of all abilities are included. Arts Midwest staff is available to assist with adapting processes to ensure that people with disabilities have equal opportunity to apply.

Please contact us to connect about your needs. You can also visit Arts Midwest’s Accessibility Center at https://www.artsmidwest.org/resources/accessibility


Applicant organizations for NEA Big Read must be a 501c(3) nonprofit; a division of state, local, or tribal government; or a tax-exempt public library. Eligible applicants include organizations such as arts centers, arts councils, arts organizations, colleges and universities, community service organizations, environmental organizations, fairs and festivals, faith-based organizations, historical societies, housing authorities, humanities councils, libraries, literary centers, museums, school districts, theater companies, trade associations, and tribal governments.

Local education agencies, school districts, and state and regional education agencies are eligible. We do not fund individual elementary or secondary schools—charter, private, or public—directly. Schools may participate as partners in projects for which another eligible organization applies. If a single school also is a local education agency, as is the case with some charter schools, the school may apply with documentation that supports its status as a local education agency.