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Santa Cruz Reads Project Receives Largest NEA Grant

Santa Cruz County to read and celebrate John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath during SANTA CRUZ READS project

July 10, 2012—SANTA CRUZ— The National Endowment for the Arts today announced that two partner organizations in Santa Cruz – Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries (FSCPL) and the Santa Cruz Public Libraries (SCPL) – have been awarded $20,000, the largest grant in the nation, to host Santa Cruz Reads throughout Santa Cruz County in 2013 (list of grantees). This year, Santa Cruz Reads will celebrate John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, with a series of events throughout the community and in area schools in February and March 2013.

This is the second year that FSCPL has successfully competed for an NEA Big Read grant. The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. Santa Cruz Reads is the local project that sponsors and presents all the month-long celebration of reading in the wider Santa Cruz community. The local grant was one of 78 grants announced today by the NEA. The grant amounts range from $2,500 to $20,000 across the country and the Santa Cruz application was awarded the maximum amount available.

"Santa Cruz Reads believe that great literature encourages conversations and stimulates thinking, which is why The Grapes Of Wrath is the ideal selection for the 2012-13 program," according to Janis O'Driscoll, SCPL’s Programs and Partnerships Manager. "The themes raised 80 years ago by Steinbeck – the impacts of unemployment, foreclosures, hunger, and extreme weather on families and society – have never been more relevant than they are today."

The 2013 Santa Cruz Reads events will kick off on February 27, 2013 with an event at the Museum of Art & History, one of the many local partner organizations helping to present the month of activities related to what is widely recognized as on of the greatest 20th Century American novels. Other Santa Cruz Reads partner organizations include: Santa Cruz City Schools, Santa Cruz Writes, Studio Holladay, Bookshop Santa Cruz, and Community Television of Santa Cruz.

NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman said, “At the NEA we know that the arts can help to create strong, vibrant communities by bringing people together. Through The Big Read, these 78 organizations are giving their communities the opportunity to share both great works of literature and memorable experiences."

The Big Read provides communities nationwide with the opportunity to read, discuss, and celebrate one of 31 selections from U.S. and world literature. The 78 selected organizations will receive Big Read grants to promote and carry out community-based reading programs featuring activities such as read-a-thons, book discussions, lectures, movie screenings, and performing arts events. Participating communities also receive high-quality, free-of-charge educational materials to supplement each title, including Reader’s, Teacher’s, and Audio Guides, which also are available for download on

For more information about The Big Read please visit

In 2011, Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries (FSCPL) and the Santa Cruz Public Libraries (SCPL) partnered to successfully compete for a National Endowment for the Arts Big Read grant, and Santa Cruz Reads was formed. Santa Cruz Reads believes great literature encourages conversations and stimulates thinking. (

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at

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

View similarly tagged posts: Library Administration, Services
Posted by teeterj on July 12, 2012 at 3 p.m.



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