NEA Big Read

NEA Big Read grants

What does an NEA Big Read grant entail?

NEA Big Read supports organizations across the country in developing community-wide reading programs which encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences. These programs include activities such as author readings, book discussions, art exhibits, lectures, film series, music or dance events, theatrical performances, panel discussions, and other events and activities related to the community's chosen book. Activities focus on one book from the NEA Big Read library.

Can I choose any book?

Applicants must select one of the following 28 titles for their proposed NEA Big Read:

Watch this webinar to learn more about the 13 new titles added to the NEA Big Read catalog.

Which organizations are eligible?

Applicant organizations for NEA Big Read must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit; a division of state, local, or tribal government; or a tax-exempt public library. Eligible applicants include organizations such as arts centers, arts councils, arts organizations, colleges and universities, community service organizations, environmental organizations, fairs and festivals, faith-based organizations, historical societies, housing authorities, humanities councils, libraries, literary centers, museums, school districts, theater companies, trade associations, and tribal governments.

Local education agencies, school districts, and state and regional education agencies are eligible. We do not fund individual elementary or secondary schools — charter, private, or public — directly. Schools may participate as partners in projects for which another eligible organization applies. If a single school also is a local education agency, as is the case with some charter schools, the school may apply with documentation that supports its status as a local education agency.

What is provided with the grant?

In addition to grant funds, organizations selected to participate in the NEA Big Read receive access to online training resources and opportunities, digital resources produced for their chosen book, and limited quantities of promotional materials.

When does the application open?

Each October, Arts Midwest posts a new set of Guidelines and Application Instructions and opens the online application. Applications are due at the end of January. Award notifications occur in April and organizations conduct their NEA Big Read programming at any point between September and June.

Thinking about applying?

Contact Arts Midwest at 612.238.8010 or

Use the sign-up form below to receive information about future application cycles and timelines.

The Big Read

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