Fishtrap is a recipient of a $12,800 grant to host the NEA Big Read in Wallowa County. 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. Fishtrap is one of 75 nonprofit organizations to receive an NEA Big Read grant to host a community reading program.

Every year since 2006, Fishtrap has celebrated one great work of literature by providing events, discussions, and books to Wallowa County schools, libraries, and community members. Fishtrap’s 2018 Big Read selection is Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Community events will begin late February and run through the month of March. Read more about Fishtrap’s Big Read program here.

Station Eleven was a finalist for the National Book Award and PEN/Faulkner Award, was an Amazon Best Book of the Month, and was named one of the best books of 2015 by more than a dozen publications. The novel is set 20 years after a devastating flu pandemic destroys civilization, and follows a traveling troupe of actors and musicians dedicated to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive through their performances for surviving settlements.

“I’m excited for Wallowa County to discover a new book by a young female author. I think it has a lot to offer,” said Fishtrap Executive Director, Shannon McNerney. “Station Eleven gives us a chance to examine what makes community, and explores how art can bring us together. We’re grateful to the NEA and Arts Midwest for once again helping Fishtrap bring shared reading experiences to Wallowa County.”

“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.”

The NEA Big Read showcases a diverse range of contemporary titles that reflect many different voices and perspectives, aiming to inspire conversation and discovery. The main feature of the initiative is a grants program, which annually supports approximately 75 dynamic community reading programs, each designed around a single NEA Big Read selection.

Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,400 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $19 million in grants to organizations nationwide. In addition, Big Read activities have reached every Congressional district in the country. Over the past eleven years, grantees have leveraged more than $42 million in local funding to support their NEA Big Read programs. More than 4.8 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event, approximately 79,000 volunteers have participated at the local level, and 37,000 community organizations have partnered to make NEA Big Read activities possible. Last summer, the NEA announced a new focus for the NEA Big Read Library on contemporary authors and books written since the NEA was founded 50 years ago. For more information about the NEA Big Read, please visit neabigread.org.

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 artsmidwest.org.