National Endowment for the Arts Awards Vigo County Public Library $15,000 "Big Read" Grant

IAC-Press Release

June 16, 2020



Vigo County Public Library exterior and Station Eleven Book Cover

National Endowment for the Arts Awards Vigo County Public Library $15,000 "Big Read" Grant

(Indianapolis, Indiana) Today, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced funding for 84 organizations to lead NEA Big Read projects between September 2020 and June 2021, providing a range of activities—in person or virtually—around a book selected from the NEA Big Read library.

Each year, the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read initiative brings communities together around the shared activity of reading and discussing a book. 

The main feature of the NEA Big Read is a grants program, managed by Arts Midwest, which annually supports dynamic community reading programs, each designed around a single National Endowment for the Arts Big Read selection. 

Vigo County Public Library in Terre Haute, IN will receive $15,000 from the initiative to host a community reading program focused on the book Station Eleven written by Emily St. John Mandel.

"Equal parts page-turner and poem" (Entertainment Weekly), the novel is set 20 years after a devastating flu pandemic destroys civilization as we know it. A woman moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians until they encounter a violent prophet who threatens the tiny band's existence. 

Station Eleven is ultimately and intentionally a hopeful book, says Mandel. And it's a reminder that art—a play, a comic book, a musical interlude, a museum display, even an apocalyptic novel—can be the best means towards cultivating a civilization and preserving our humanity.

“We are honored to continue our partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts on this incredible program,” said Torrie Allen, president & CEO of Arts Midwest. “For more than 14 years this national effort has invested in communities as they gather to discuss the stories and ideas that connect us to one another. We are especially inspired by the projects and organizations that are finding new, virtual ways of creating those connections with their communities and are thrilled to support them at this critical time.”


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 Arts Endowment 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.

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 35 years. For more information, please visit

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