Troy University awarded National Endowment for the Arts ‘Big Read’ grant

TROY Montgomery's Rosa Parks Library and Museum will parnter with area high schools and libraries, and others to present Big Read events next spring.

TROY Montgomery's Rosa Parks Library and Museum will parnter with area high schools and libraries, and others to present Big Read events next spring.

Troy University has received a National Endowment for the Arts grant in the amount of $15,000 to host the NEA Big Read, a program designed to revitalize the role of reading in American culture.

An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read seeks to broaden understanding of the world, local communities and individuals through the joy of sharing a good book. The grants enable selected organizations to promote and carry out community-based reading programs around a single book, featuring activities such as read-a-thons, book discussions, lectures, movie screenings and performing arts events.

Troy University, one of 78 organizations nationally to be awarded an NEA Big Read grant, will organize activities around the book, “Citizen: An American Lyric,” by poet, essayist and playwright Claudia Rankine, a 2016 MacArthur Fellow and the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University.

Troy University Montgomery’s Rosa Parks Library will partner with the University’s Rosa Parks Museum, the Montgomery City-County Public Libraries, Montgomery area public high schools, Trenholm State Community College and the Alabama Book Festival to host a series of events in March and April of 2020.

“Troy University Libraries is remarkably grateful that the NEA has once again provided funding for our Montgomery campus to host a Big Read, as well as to Alyssa Martin for writing the successful grant,” said Dr. Christopher Shaffer, dean of library services at Troy University. “In choosing ‘Citizen: An American Lyric,’ Ms. Martin has selected a book that will resonate in the Montgomery community and beyond. I am excited about the opportunity the Troy University Libraries has to share this unique book with both the community in Montgomery, as well as our student body.” 

The Rosa Parks Library and Museum will hold a kickoff celebration featuring a keynote speaker and the opening of a community art exhibit. Other events will include book discussions and film screenings by Troy University faculty members dealing with themes discussed in the book. The events will culminate with a poetry slam and book discussion at the Alabama Book Festival.

Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,400 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $20 million to organizations nationwide. In addition, Big Read activities have reached every congressional district in the country, and more than 5.7 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event.

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 Arts Endowment 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.

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.