National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Arts Midwest
Grants ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 to USA and territories nonprofit organizations, government agencies, tribal governments, and public libraries for community reading programs and book events. Funding is intended to support keynote sessions, lectures by authors, panel discussions, writing contests, performances, and book discussions in communities throughout the Country. In addition to a cash grant, recipients receive access to online training resources, digital resources, and promotional materials to encourage community participation.
An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, NEA Big Read broadens one's understanding of the world, its communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Showcasing a diverse range of contemporary books that reflect many different voices and perspectives, the NEA Big Read aims to inspire conversation and discovery.
NEA Big Read annually supports approximately 75 dynamic community reading programs, each designed around a single NEA Big Read selection. Organizations selected to participate in NEA Big Read receive a grant, access to online training resources and opportunities, digital resources, and promotional materials designed to support widespread community involvement.
NEA Big Read applicants submit proposals to host a series of community events presented at a variety of locations over the course of one month or longer. Events use the same NEA Big Read book as a point of departure and encourage participants to engage both with the book and fellow community members. Each NEA Big Read program includes: a kick-off event, often attended by high-profile leaders and other local luminaries; major events inspired by the content and themes from the book (e.g., panel discussions and author readings); artistic events related to the book (e.g., art/writing contests, film screenings, and theatrical performances); and book discussions in diverse locations involving a wide range of audiences.
Successful NEA Big Read programming should encourage reading and discussion of the selected book on a community-wide scale. The NEA Big Read must include the following:
1. Diverse and imaginative events and literary activities held at a variety of locations. Specifically:
- A kick-off event to launch the program.
- A minimum of 5-10 discussions on the selected book.
- At least one keynote session on the selected book and its themes, either with the author or another appropriate speaker. If you are considering an author visit as part of your programming, please be aware that honoraria and availability vary by individual. Other considerations for a keynote could include a panel discussion or a presentation by someone associated with the book or author.
- A minimum of two special events involving other forms of artistic programming designed to engage participants with the selected book (e.g., art exhibits/contests, films, musical performances, theatrical readings, and creative writing activities related to the themes of the book.
Proposed events that seek to celebrate and/or build awareness of a particular culture described in the book must be conducted in a respectful manner, be relevant to the story, provide appropriate context for participants, and offer substantive educational opportunities.
Note: Event types may be combined (e.g., a kick-off event can include a keynote session and a discussion of the book).
2. Community Partnerships
- Applicant organizations must partner with a library (if the applicant itself is not a library). University and college applicants must partner with a library that is not directly affiliated with their educational institution.
- Applicants should partner with various community organizations to reach beyond their primary constituent base.
- Examples of potential partners include local community and arts organizations, community colleges and universities, correctional institutions, libraries, bookstores, local businesses, middle and high schools, military installations, museums, senior centers, social service organizations, and youth groups.
3. Promotional Efforts and Partnerships
To ensure strong community participation in NEA Big Read activities by individuals of various ages, cultural backgrounds, educational levels, and occupations, organizations should actively promote their programming through digital and print channels as well as other public relations/marketing efforts. Organizations should also consider partnering with local radio, print, TV, social media, and other media outlets as applicable.
Grants may be used for such expenses as book purchases, speaker fees and travel, salaries, promotion, and venue rental.
Application review will be based on the artistic excellence and artistic merit of the program. Specifically, each application will be evaluated based on the following review criteria:
- Quality of diverse and creative literary programming that: address the themes, writing, and content of the chosen NEA Big Read book; meet the programming requirements; and have the potential to engage a wide range of community members of various ability levels and backgrounds.
- Relevance and depth of involvement with community partner organizations that will broaden community participation beyond the applicant's primary constituent base and reach historically underrepresented and marginalized audiences. Examples of such partners are arts organizations, bookstores, community centers, community colleges, community service organizations, correctional institutions, libraries, local businesses, middle and high schools, military installations, museums, senior centers, social service organizations, universities, and youth groups.
- Comprehensive promotion of the NEA Big Read through digital and print channels as well as other public relations/marketing efforts; distribution of digital resources and promotional materials; and publicity through partnerships with local radio, print, TV, social media, and other media outlets as applicable.
- Capacity to manage and implement the proposed NEA Big Read programming including organizational capacity, the provision of appropriate personnel, reasonable budget plan, and evidence of the required 1 to 1 cost share/match.
GrantWatch ID#: 184644
Organizations will be selected for grants from $5,000 to $15,000.
Programming Dates: September 1, 2019—June 30, 2020
Recommended length of proposed programming is one month.
Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.
To submit the 2019-2020 NEA Big Read intent to apply form: https://cloud4good.tfaforms.net/386057
For any questions, or to schedule a 15-minute consultation with Arts Midwest staff, contact:
Joshua Feist, Program Director
2908 Hennepin Avenue, Suite 200
Minneapolis, MN 55408
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