The National Endowment for the Arts Big Read is a program that awards grants to organizations. These grants support community reading programs designed around a single NEA Big Read book. The goal of this program is to inspire meaningful conversations, celebrate local creativity, elevate a wide variety of voices and perspectives, and build stronger connections in each community.
NEA Big Read programs vary and can be as short as a week or as long as several months. Beyond discussions of the book, organizations may choose to include a kick-off event, invite the author for a visit, or have other events inspired by the content and themes of the book, including panel discussions, lectures, film screenings, art exhibitions, theatrical and musical performances, poetry slams, writing workshops and contests, and community storytelling events.
Programming for the 2024-2025 grant cycle will center around the theme WHERE WE LIVE. Using a book selection as inspiration, applicants will choose one or more aspects of this theme as it relates to their own communities. For example, a community may explore its physical environment, people, industry and culture, history, and/or imagine an alternate reality.
Applicants will facilitate book discussions, writing workshops, and creative programming that celebrates the unique aspects of their communities. Activities will seek to include local artists and welcome participation from a wide range of audiences.
For additional project requirements, see page 2 of the Guidelines document in Supporting Documents.
Eligible expenses are those that directly relate to conducting your community-wide program, such as speaker fees, artist stipends, book purchases, supplies, promotional and marketing fees, project staff salaries, and venue rentals. Contact Arts Midwest with inquiries about other potential expenses.