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IU South Bend Receives NEA Big Read Grant

Jun 8, 2017

Indiana University South Bend, with community partners Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library and the local chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America, is a recipient of a grant of $11,300 to host the NEA Big Read in St. Joseph County. An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read program is designed to broaden understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book.

IU South Bend is one of 75 nonprofit organizations (and one of only three in the state of Indiana) to receive an NEA Big Read grant to host a community reading program. The NEA Big Read in St. Joseph County will focus on The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. The program will take place in the Fall and include book discussions, a film series, museum exhibits, gallery showings, and cultural events.

IU South Bend will be working with Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library and the St. Joseph Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of American in planning the program. The grant was written and received by James VanderVeen, associate professor of Sociology and Anthropology, and Rhiannon Carlson, Veteran Counselor & Program Coordinator at IU South Bend.

Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,400 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $19 million in grants to organizations nationwide. In addition, Big Read activities have reached every Congressional district in the country.

Over the past eleven years, grantees have leveraged more than $42million in local funding to support their NEA Big Read programs. More than 4.8 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event, approximately 79,000 volunteers have participated at the local level, and 37,000 community organizations have partnered to make NEA Big Read activities possible. Last summer, the NEA announced a new focus for the NEA Big Read Library on contemporary authors and books written since the NEA was founded 50 years ago. For more information about the NEA Big Read, please visit

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 NEA 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. Visit to learn more about NEA.

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. For more information, please visit


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