The Galesburg Public Library is one of 62 organizations nationwide selected to receive a 2022-2023 NEA Big Read grant. A grant of $10,000 will support a community reading program focusing on Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu in April 2023. An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the power of a shared reading experience.
“We are thrilled and honored to have been selected to host the NEA Big Read in Galesburg for the fifteenth time. We can’t wait to share Charles Yu’s book with the community, and to come together in thoughtful conversation about the Asian-American experience, as well as the universal feelings of being overlooked and underestimated that shine so brightly in Yu’s writing,” said Big Read Grant Coordinator Eileen Castro.
“It is inspiring to see how NEA Big Read grantees like the Galesburg Public Library utilize these books as launchpads for their own programming, often creating opportunities for community conversations, new partnerships, and encouraging participants to incorporate art into their daily lives,” said Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts.
The NEA Big Read offers a range of titles that reflect many different voices and perspectives, aiming to inspire meaningful conversations, artistic responses, and new discoveries and connections in each community. The main feature of the initiative is a grants program, managed by Arts Midwest, which annually supports dynamic community reading programs, each designed around a single NEA Big Read selection.
“All across America, in communities small and large, the NEA Big Read connects neighbors and inspires creativity,” said Torrie Allen, President & CEO of Arts Midwest. “We're excited to support grantees like the Galesburg Public Library as they bring the pages of these wonderful books to life through inventive programming.”
Interior Chinatown, written as a screenplay, follows a young Asian-American man as he tries to become a famous actor, and the discrimination he faces in doing so. It manages to explore serious topics while still being funny and uplifting. To celebrate Interior Chinatown, the library will host free educational and entertaining performances, speakers, book discussions, craft events, and other fun activities for all ages. Free books will be given away during the kickoff event and at the library. If your classroom or private book club is interested in receiving free copies of the book, please contact the Big Read Coordinator, Eileen Castro, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 309-343-6118.
Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,700 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $24 million to organizations nationwide. In addition, Big Read activities have reached every Congressional district in the country. Over the past 16 years, grantees have leveraged more than $56 million in local funding to support their NEA Big Read programs. More than 5.9 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event, over 97,000 volunteers have participated at the local level, and over 40,000 community organizations have partnered to make NEA Big Read activities possible. For more information about the NEA Big Read, including book and author information, podcasts, and videos, visit arts.gov/neabigread.
The Galesburg Public Library strives to serve the community as a general center of information, and to provide opportunity and encouragement for people to use its services and materials to meet their educational, personal, professional, recreational and cultural needs. Located at 40 E. Simmons St., their current hours are Monday-Thursday 9AM–8PM and Friday-Saturday 9AM–5PM.
Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that is the largest funder of the arts and arts education in communities nationwide and a catalyst of public and private support for the arts. By advancing equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, the NEA fosters and sustains an environment in which the arts benefit everyone in the United States. Visit arts.gov to learn more.
Arts Midwest believes that creativity has the power to inspire and unite humanity. Based in Minneapolis, Arts Midwest grows, gathers, and invests in creative organizations and communities throughout the nine-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. One of six nonprofit United States Regional Arts Organizations, Arts Midwest’s history spans more than 30 years. For more information, visit artsmidwest.org.