One ‘Big Read’ grant from NEA awarded to S.C. community

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), in partnership with Arts Midwest, announced support yesterday for 62 nonprofit organizations to hold NEA Big Read programming in 2022/2023.

In total, the NEA is investing $1,071,140 to support programming centered around one of 15 different contemporary books, with the aim of inspiring meaningful conversations, artistic responses, and new discoveries and connections in participating communities.

MOJA Arts Festival in Charleston will receive a $17,500 grant to bring the book Homegoing to its community. Homegoing is a “novel about the legacy of chattel slavery by African-born writer Yaa Gyasi spanning eight generations.” It shows the parallel lives of two 18th-century Ghana-born half-sisters and follows their descendants through historical periods such as the American Civil War and the great Harlem Jazz Age.

“It is inspiring to see how NEA Big Read grantees 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, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts.

“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 this year’s grantees as they bring the pages of these wonderful books to life through inventive programming.”

Each NEA Big Read grantee is receiving a matching grant ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 to support programming around one of 15 contemporary books, 12 of which are new for the 2022/2023 NEA Big Read. Examples of 2022/2023 grantee programming include:

  • Arts Connection’s (San Bernardino, California) programming around Tommy Orange’s There, There will include guided tours hosted by the Native American Land Conservancy of the Oasis of Maará, first settled by the Serrano people and later the Chemehuevi. Cultural resource tribal representatives will share the historical significance of the site and discuss its present-day and continued vibrancy and relevance.
  • Delta State University’s (Cleveland, Mississippi) programming around Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing will include a scheduled presentation by culinary historian Adrian Miller about Black culinary history and a conversation about the culinary traditions, knowledge, and goods enslaved Africans brought to the United States and their rich culinary contributions.
  • Eastern Connecticut State University’s (Willimantic, Connecticut) programming around Charles Yu’s Interior Chinatown will include an online virtual exhibition with creative responses (visual arts, graphic design, new media, and literary texts) to the book’s study of stereotypes.
  • Maryland Public Television’s (Owings Mills, Maryland) programming around Ross Gay’s Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, will hold a ten-day challenge of gratitude. Participants will be encouraged to reflect and look for elements of challenging experiences that will help them experience gratitude.
  • Quincy Public Library’s (Quincy, Illinois) programming around Rebecca Taussig’s Sitting Pretty will include events for patrons to learn more about and participate in adaptive sports and learn conversational/basic American Sign Language. Library programming will be adapted to meet a wider range of our communities’ needs through sensory-friendly story times and resource kits to provide additional support to community members who would like to experience the library and the NEA Big Read.
  • Wichita Public Library Foundation (Wichita, Kansas) will kick off its programming around Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? with a community event featuring a photo slideshow, The Beauty of Aging, with images submitted by community members depicting their family and friends in the later stages of life.

About the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read

The National Endowment for the Arts Big Read, a partnership with Arts Midwest, broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. 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, NEA 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.

Visit for more information about the NEA Big Read. Organizations interested in applying for an NEA Big Read grant in the future should visit Arts Midwest’s website for more information.

  • 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 U.S. Visit 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