Branigan Library & Branigan Cultural Center Receive National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Grant

Thomas Branigan Memorial Library and the Branigan Cultural Center are two of 61 organizations nationwide selected to receive a 2021-2022 NEA Big Read grant. A grant of $17,000 will support a community reading program focusing on Joy Harjo’s An American Sunrise in October and November of 2021. An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book.

“We are very excited to host a second Big Read event in Las Cruces,” said Library Administrator Margaret Neill. “We are especially looking forward to collaborating with the Branigan Cultural Center and our other community partners to explore An American Sunrise.”

Branigan Library and Branigan Cultural Center will be partnering with several organizations, including the Foundation for Las Cruces Museums, Unity Among Nations Youth Council, Ysleta del Sur Pueblo’s Tribal Empowerment Office, and the American Indian Program and Creative Writing Departments at New Mexico State University.

This will be the second Big Read event in Las Cruces this year. In February and March, the Library created programs and events around When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka.

“For 15 years, the NEA Big Read has supported opportunities for communities to come together around a book, creating a shared experience that encourages openness and conversations around issues central to our lives,” said Ann Eilers, acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “We congratulate the Branigan Library and the Branigan Cultural Center for receiving an NEA Big Read grant and look forward to a wide variety of meaningful community events.”

The NEA Big Read offers various titles that reflect many different voices and perspectives, aiming to inspire conversation and discovery. The main feature of the initiative is a grants program managed by Arts Midwest, which annually supports dynamic community reading programs, each designed around a single NEA Big Read selection.

“We’re inspired by the creativity of this year’s NEA Big Read grantees, who are finding new ways to bring people together after a challenging year,” said Torrie Allen, President & CEO of Arts Midwest. “We are proud to support these organizations and communities as they explore the richness and diversity of American history and culture together through reading.”

The books available for the 2021-2022 NEA Big Read explore different aspects of American history and culture. Grantees are developing programming that helps communities reflect on where we’ve been, where we are today, and where we’re going.

Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,700 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $23 million to organizations nationwide. In addition, Big Read activities have reached every Congressional district in the country. Over the past 15 years, grantees have leveraged more than $50 million in local funding to support their NEA Big Read programs. More than 5.7 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event, over 90,000 volunteers have participated at the local level, and over 40,000 community organizations have partnered to make NEA Big Read activities possible. For more information about the NEA Big Read, including book and author information, podcasts, and videos, visit arts.gov/neabigread.

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 arts.gov to learn more.

Arts Midwest believes that creativity has the power to inspire and unite humanity. Based in Minneapolis, Arts Midwest grows, gathers, and invests in creative organizations and communities throughout the nine-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. One of six nonprofit United States Regional Arts Organizations, Arts Midwest’s history spans more than 30 years. For more information, visit artsmidwest.org.

This document can be made available in alternative formats by calling 575/528-4102 (voice) or 575/528-4008 (TTY) If you require an accommodation for a disability to participate in this event, call the library at 575/528-4102 (voice) or 575-528.4008 (TTY) at least 48 hours in advance.