June 16, 2017



UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA, IN COLLABORATION WITH SEMINOLE COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY, is a recipient of a grant of $14,000 to host the NEA Big Read in Orlando. 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. UCF is one of 75 nonprofit organizations to receive an NEA Big Read grant to host a community reading program between September 2017 and June 2018. The NEA Big Read in ORLANDO will focus on THE BEAUTIFUL THINGS THAT HEAVEN BEARS by DINAW MENGESTU. Activities will take place JANUARY 8 – FEBRUARY 4, 2018.

“We are delighted to have received such a prestigious grant,” said Project Director Keri Watson, Assistant Professor of Art History at UCF. “With this grant, we join a select few ‘repeat readers’ who have received the grant more than once. In 2017, we celebrated John Steinbeck and The Grapes of Wrath, and in 2016 we honored Zora Neale Hurston and Their Eyes Were Watching God. This year we are excited to offers programs related to Dinaw Mengestu’s The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, including an art exhibition and a theatrical production of the Pentecost. This is a great opportunity for UCF to engage the community in a discussion of art and literature, and this grant enables us to offer programs throughout Seminole and Orange counties.”

“Through the NEA Big Read we are bringing contemporary works to communities across the country, helping us better understand the diverse voices and perspectives that come with it,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “These 75 organizations have developed unique plans to celebrate these works, including numerous opportunities for exploration and conversation.”