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PEORIA READS! ONE OF 79 ORGANIZATIONS NATIONWIDE
TO RECEIVE AN NEA BIG READ GRANT
Peoria Reads! to Read and Celebrate Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
In Spring 2019
June 5, 2018—Peoria Reads! is a recipient of a grant of $6,575 to host the NEA Big Read in Peoria and the surrounding community. A national 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. Peoria Reads! is one of 79 nonprofit organizations to receive an NEA Big Read grant to host a community reading program between September 2018 and June 2019. The NEA Big Read in Peoria will focus on activities will take place in spring 2019.
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant is by Roz Chast, a longtime cartoonist for the New Yorker and tells the story of Chast’s parents’ final years through cartoons, family photos, found documents and narrative prose. Peoria Reads! chose this book as so many in the community have elderly family members who need assistance. Younger generations are dealing with conflicting emotions, memories and the many practical challenges of the last days and passing of older family members. Told with humor and pathos, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant is a book that will launch discussion and entertain while it offers comfort.
“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support opportunities for communities across the nation, both small and large, to take part in the NEA Big Read,” said NEA Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter. “This program encourages people to not only discuss a book together, but be introduced to new perspectives, discuss the issues at the forefront of our own lives, and connect with one another at events.”
The NEA Big Read showcases a diverse range of contemporary titles that reflect many different voices and perspectives, aiming to inspire conversation and discovery. The main feature of the initiative is a grants program, managed by Arts Midwest, which annually supports dynamic community reading programs, each designed around a single NEA Big Read selection.
Lead partners for Peoria Reads! are Peoria Public Library and Common Place. Each year a variety of other community organizations participate including Bradley University, Illinois Central College, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Delta Kappa Gamma, Methodist College, Peoria Public Schools and Notre Dame High School and others. Peoria Reads! was founded in 2002.
Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,400 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $19 million 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 $44 million in local funding to support their NEA Big Read programs. More than 4.9 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event, approximately 82,000 volunteers have participated at the local level, and 39,000 community organizations have partnered to make NEA Big Read activities possible. For more information about the NEA Big Read, please visit arts.gov/neabigread. 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.
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.
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