By Letty Fernandez
Texas Border Business
Rio Grande Valley, Texas – Jan. 31, 2017 – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is a recipient of a $16,000 grant to host the NEA Big Read in the Rio Grande Valley.
UTRGV is one of 77 nonprofit organizations to receive a grant to host an NEA Big Read project between September 2016 and June 2017. The NEA Big Read in the Rio Grande Valley will focus on the novel In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez.
A program of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Big Read broadens our understanding of the world, our communities and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book.
This is the fourth successfully funded NEA Big Read grant written by Dr. Steven Schneider, professor of Creative Writing in the College of Fine Arts at UTRGV.
“This is an exciting program,” Schneider said. “It will be launched during FESTIBA and continue through the month of March. Our Big Read will offer an opportunity to engage with an important novel through a variety of creative programs.”
FESTIBA – the annual Festival of International Books and Arts – promotes the importance of literacy, culture and the arts to students, parents, educators and community members throughout the Rio Grande Valley.
Highlights of this year’s Big Read include a lecture and reading by U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera at noon March 2 in the Performing Arts Center on the UTRGV Edinburg Campus. Herrera’s trip to the Rio Grande Valley is made possible by the NEA Big Read grant.
Other activities include Valley-wide book discussions coordinated by the Dustin Michael Sekula Library, and a theatrical performance of the novel at the FESTIBA community festival on the evening of March 3.
Managed by Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read offers grants to support innovative community reading programs designed around a single book.
The program supports organizations across the country in developing community reading programs, which encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences. Organizations selected to participate in the NEA Big Read receive a grant, access to online training resources and opportunities, and educational and promotional materials designed to support widespread community involvement. TBB