The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is announcing The Big Read, a grant initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The NEA presents The Big Read in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. The Big Read brings together partners across the country to encourage reading for pleasure and enlightenment.
Approximately 200 organizations in communities of varying sizes across the country will be selected to participate in the program from January through June 2008. To apply, the NEA strongly recommends a letter of intent by June 29, 2007. The deadline for receipt of the application is July 31, 2007. The application must be submitted online through The Big Read electronic eGRANT system, as well as a hard copy package of proposal materials.
Applicants may apply for grants ranging from $2,500 to $20,000; grant size will be determined based on community population, the number of activities planned, and the overall strength of the application. Communities with fewer than 50,000 people should apply for $2,500 - $7,500. Grants must be matched at least one to one with nonfederal funds.
Communities participating must develop and produce a well-planned, well-attended, community-wide read with innovative, diverse programming and widespread community involvement and participation. Activities should be approximately one month in duration and must occur between January and June 2008. A successful application will possess a wide range of imaginative activities; occur in a variety of locations; and reach lapsed and/or reluctant readers.
Applicant organizations must partner with a library. Other collaborating organizations might include museums, arts organizations, local businesses, chambers of commerce, community service organizations, community centers, youth groups, senior centers, prisons, neighborhood associations, social service organizations, and booksellers.
Eligible organizations must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization or a division of state, local, or tribal government. Eligible applicants include literary centers, libraries, museums, colleges and universities, art centers, historical societies, arts councils, tribal governments, humanities councils, literary festivals and arts organizations. K-12 schools and school districts, whether public or private, are ineligible to apply but are encouraged to participate as partners.
Applicant organizations must select one of the following 16 books for their programming prior to applying to The Big Read: Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya; Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury; My Antonia by Willa Cather; The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald; A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines; The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett; A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; The Call of the Wild by Jack London; The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers; The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick; The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck; The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan; The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy; or The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.
Successful applicants will be notified in September, 2007. For more information, call Arts Midwest at (612) 341-0755 or e-mail to [email protected]. The eGRANT application and specific instructions for using eGRANT are available online at www.NEABigRead.org. Interested applicants also may contact Gregg McAllister, arts in education coordinator for the Division, at (304) 558-0240, ext. 145 or e-mail at [email protected].
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. Its administrative offices are located at the Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, which also houses the state archives and state museum. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. The agency also operates a network of museums and historic sites across the state. For more information about the Division’s programs, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
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