UW-Waukesha will soon be participating in a Big Read initiative - thanks to a $15,000 grant awarded to The University of Wisconsin Colleges. Waukesha is one of several Wisconsin communities selected to host the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Big Read in 2018. The NEA Big Read is in partnership with Arts Midwest and is meant to broaden understanding of the world and communities through the sharing of a good book. The book selected for the 2017/18 community readings is Louise Erdrich’s 2012 “The Round House”. The UW Colleges was one of 75 non-profit organizations in the country to receive a NEA Big Read grant.
“We are delighted to see our proposal for an NEA Big Read on ‘The Round House’ by such a fine writer as Louise Erdrich go forward,” said Lee Friederich, Wisconsin Reads The Round House project director and senior lecturer and international programs coordinator at UW-Barron County.
Written in the voice of a 13-year-old boy named Joe whose mother was brutally raped, “The Round House” explores the impact of the rape on family members and the tribal community, as well as the larger issue of sexual assault on Native American women. With discussions, films, lectures, art exhibits, and story-telling workshops on university campuses, public libraries and other venues around the state, the project will also provide programming for youth, who will be introduced to Erdrich's children's novel, “The Birchbark House,” and her first book of poetry, “Jacklight.”
UW-Waukesha students enrolled in the UW Colleges’ Bachelors of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) degree program, are helping to plan and promote next year’s NEA Big Read activities. Joining the effort are students at UW-Baraboo/Sauk County, UW-Barron County, UW-Marshfield/Wood County and students at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College (LCO-OCC) in Hayward. “I am proud that the NEA Big Read is not only a collaboration with LCO-OCC, but it also has been a collaborative project for our BAAS students on various campuses,” said Friederich. “Last summer, we started to develop our ideas for participating in the NEA Big Read during their Writing for Non-Profits course. Last fall, as part of their internship experience, our BAAS students followed through on writing the proposal.”
Kicking off Big Read events will be several Wisconsin writers including Kim Blaeser, Chippewa 2016 Wisconsin Poet Laureate and a UW-Milwaukee Professor and b: william bearhart, a former UW-Barron County student, graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts and descendant of the St. Croix Chippewa tribe. More than 70 events are being planned in the state as part of the Big Read initiative.
Since 2006, the NEA has funded more than 1,400 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $19 million in grants to organizations nationwide and resulting in more than 4.8 million Americans participating in a NEA Big Read event. For more information on the NEA Big Read program, contact Lee Friederich at 715-234-8176, ext. 5480 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 diverse cultural heritage. Visit arts.gov to learn more about NEA.
Arts Midwest promotes creativity, nurtures cultural leadership, and engages people in meaningful arts experiences. Arts Midwest connects the arts to audiences throughout a nine-state region, including Minnesota and Wisconsin. For more information, visit artsmidwest.org.
The University of Wisconsin Colleges is composed of 13 freshman/sophomore campuses and the UW Colleges Online. Offering an Associate of Arts and Science degree at all campuses and a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences at six locations, the UW Colleges campuses serve more than 14,000 students and more than 25,000 continuing education learners around Wisconsin. More information is available at https://www.uwc.edu/.
UW-Waukesha is located at 1500 N. University Drive in Waukesha. For more information, visit waukesha.uwc.edu