Ray Bradbury Surprise Bookshelf element with video

American Writers Museum To Receive a National Endowment For The Arts Big Read Grant For Fahrenheit 451 Programming

June 17, 2020 (CHICAGO) – The American Writers Museum (AWM) is a recipient of a grant of $15,000 to host the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read – Chicago with a focus on Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) designed to broaden our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. The AWM is one of 84 nonprofit organizations selected to receive a grant to host an NEA Big Read project between Fall 2020 and throughout 2021. The NEA presents NEA Big Read in partnership with Arts Midwest.

The NEA Big Read grant will help the AWM plan a robust programming series in conjunction with its new exhibit Ray Bradbury: Inextinguishable, set to open in early 2021. In addition, the museum is building a microsite that will feature curated content from the exhibit, video of the Big Read keynote and book discussions, student curriculum, and digital resources.

“We are excited about The NEA Big Read grant as it will provide opportunities for in-depth exploration of the themes of Fahrenheit 451 and the life, work, and influence of Ray Bradbury,” said AWM President, Carey Cranston. “The themes of censorship, controlled media, and the power of technology to control human thought are especially timely in today’s world, and Fahrenheit 451, written in 1950, has a great deal of enduring relevance.”

The AWM plans to bring in experts who can facilitate enlightening discussions on the book and the author. Partners include but are not limited to the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at Indiana University, Waukegan Public Library, Ray Bradbury Experience Museum, Adler Planetarium, Newberry Library, Authors Guild of Chicago, and Bradbury’s official biographer Sam Weller.

“We have become even more aware this year of the important ways the arts help us connect with others, and how they bring meaning, joy, and comfort to our lives,” said Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “These 84 organizations leading NEA Big Reads will provide opportunities for deep discussion and ways to help us better understand one another.”

The NEA Big Read offers a range of 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 National Endowment for the Arts Big Read selection.

“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 arts.gov 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 artsmidwest.org.

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