I’ve received a press release, appearing below, on UW-Whitewater’s Young Auditorium grant to host a Community Big Read. Embedded immediately below is a video from the National Endowment for the Arts about the program, followed by information about events in Whitewater.
The Young Auditorium is partnering with the Arrowhead Library System (Rock County Public Libraries), and the Irvin L. Young Library in Whitewater to engage the communities of southeastern Wisconsin in a diverse range of activities related to American author Mark Twain.
The effort was awarded a $17,000 grant by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). A total of 76 not-for-profit organizations have been recommended for grants totaling $1,000,050 to host a Big Read project between September 2011 and June 2012. The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The NEA presents The Big Read in cooperation with Arts Midwest.
The last year’s Big Read included the participation of 20 libraries, 18 schools, and 11 additional partners. Their efforts reached 2,351 children and 3,013 adults at over seventy events throughout southeastern Wisconsin.
For 2012 the theme of Twain in the Rock River Basin will link our community’s physical location, as part of the greater Mississippi River Basin and our connection as a nearby hub on the Underground Railroad. Investigating Twain’s seminal novel will take place in our community’s Big Read through the written word, the spoken word, visual images and cultural engagement bringing together diverse groups for fellowship.
Check your local library for their participation and event calendar. Updates will be available at the Big Read Blog: http://youngauditorium.wordpress.com/
Big Read 2012 Highlights:
Hal Holbrooke presents Mark Twain Tonight! On April 21, 2012, 7:30. Legendary actor Hal Holbrooke presents his historic portrayal of Mark Twain. Hal Holbrooke has been awarded an Emmy and Tony Award for his indelible personification of Mark Twain, a role that he has been performing since 1954.
And Glory Shone by The Rose Ensemble. April 10, 2012, 7:30. This award winning ensemble from St. Paul, MN, will perform a special selection of early American hymns, ballads and spiritual songs that will evoke Tom Sawyer’s America.
No Foolin’ A Free Book. 4/1/12 or 4/2/12. All public library partners will kick-off the Big Read by offering give-away of books, student designed t-shirts and tickets to the performance of The Rose Ensemble.
Mark Twain’s Racial Relevance. Free lecture and discussion by Dr. Alan Gribben on Monday April 9, 2012, 7:00 PM. Part of the College of Letters and Sciences Contemporary Lecture Series. Dr. Allan Gribben is a nationally recognized Mark Twain scholar who sparked considerable controversy when he published versions of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn in 2011 that removed a racial pejorative as an attempt to reverse the trend of school districts removing both books from their reading lists.
Big Read T-Shirt Design Competition K-12 Students.
Big Read Mural. Joel Schoon Tanis, a noted children’s book illustrator and muralist will engage four area schools with hands-on workshops that demonstrate the nature of translating words into larger than life visual representations. Students will delve into specific works by Twain to create visual art that capture the mood and emotions of the author’s work. The last week of March, Joel will return for a week-long residency and each school will complete a panel of a Mark Twain mural. The mural will be unveiled at the Big Read Kick Off at the historic Horticultural Hall in Lake Geneva, Thursday March 29th, 6:00 pm.
Moments with Mark Twain. Geneva Lake Art Association 2012 Spring Exhibit. February 3-29, 2012. 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Opening reception February 3, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. GLAA Gallery. This show highlights GLAA Member works recall images of the 19th Century time period, Twain’s stories, the grandeur of the Mississippi, or other images that are inspired by this literary icon. The Geneva Lake Art Association gallery and art school are located inside the North Shore Pavilion Mall at 647 E. Main Street, Lake Geneva.
Through the Eyes of Jim. A new production by Uprooted Theatre. Milwaukee’s Uprooted Theatre Company, whose mission is to engage the community through the performing arts for the exploration and expression of African-American voices and cultural experiences, will present a performance as part of the Young Auditorium’s Horizon Matinee Series. The performance will give a unique point of view of Twain’s work as interpreted through the slave Jim’s perspective. A community performance will take place at the Milton House Museum, as part of the Big Read finale, Friday, May 4th. Time TBA. The Milton House Museum is Wisconsin’s only authenticated stop on the Underground Railroad.
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has selected 76 not-for-profit organizations have been recommended for grants totaling $1,000,050 to host a Big Read project between September 2011 and June 2012. The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The NEA presents The Big Read in cooperation with Arts Midwest.
The Big Read provides communities nationwide with the opportunity to read, discuss, and celebrate one of 31 selections from U.S. and world literature.. Among the organizations receiving a Big Read grant are libraries, humanities councils, museums, theater companies, literary centers and presses, public broadcasting stations, universities, YMCAs, and boys & girls clubs. The selected organizations will receive Big Read grants ranging from $2,500 to $17,000 to promote and carry out community-based programs….
NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman said, “Since 2006, nearly three million Americans have attended a Big Read event, more than 39,000 volunteers have participated locally, and nearly 27,000 community partner organizations have been involved. The Big Read’s success depends on these commitments of time, energy, and enthusiasm and I look forward to seeing these 76 communities come together in celebration of a great work of literature.”
Participating communities also receive high-quality, free-of-charge educational materials to supplement each title, which also are available for download on neabigread.org. Reader’s Guides include author biographies, historical context for the book, and discussion questions. Teacher’s Guides are developed with the National Council of Teachers of English and State Language Arts standards in mind and include lesson plans, essay topics, and classroom handouts. The Big Read Audio Guides feature readings from the novel along with commentary from renowned artists, educators, and public figures.
Each community’s Big Read includes a kick-off event to launch the program; activities devoted specifically to its Big Read book or poet (e.g., panel discussions, lectures, public readings); events using the selection as a point of departure (e.g., film screenings, theatrical readings, exhibits); and book discussions in diverse locations aimed at a wide range of audiences.