THE BIG READ 2012:   Mark Twain


Big Read Mural: Noted children’s book illustrator Joel worked with students from four area schools to create a culminating artistic response to Mark Twain’s writing.  The students created four large 4’x6’ panels that depict scenes from the works of Tom Sawyer.  2012 participating schools included:  St. Joseph’s School in Fort Atkinson; Eastview Elementary in Lake Geneva;  Jefferson Elementary in Janesville;  and East Troy High School in East Troy.  The 2012 mural was unveiled at the Big Read Kick Off at the historic Horticultural Hall in Lake Geneva. The mural was exhibited again at the Finale at the Milton House Museum.

No Foolin’ A Free Book. All public library partners kicked off the Big Read by offering give-away of books, student designed t-shirts and tickets to the performance of The Rose Ensemble and Hal Holbrook.

Art Exhibts: Before the unveiling the Geneva Lake Art Association held an exhibit of a Mark Twain “Mail Art” exhibit.  This exhibit featured artwork from artists all over the world, sixteen countries and ten states. The theme of Mark Twain was sent out via internet and artists responded by mailing their artwork to Lake Geneva. The exhibits was then on display during the month of April at the Lake Geneva Public Library.

The Rose Ensemble: This award winning ensemble from St. Paul, MN, performed a special selection of early American hymns, ballads and spiritual songs that evoked Tom Sawyer’s America.  Again, this additional performance, while not as prominent as Hal Holbrook, was enthusiastically received by our library partners and the community.

Big Read Finale and Big Read Mural:  Our finale was free with complimentary  refreshments and included an exhibit of the Big Read.  The program was a big success.  One of the Big Read Mural schools came early to tour the Milton House and mingled with the community during the exhibit.  Two Wisconsin State Legislators also attended and gave keynote addresses.  The smaller production of Through the Eyes of Jim by Uprooted Theatre. Milwaukee’s Uprooted Theatre Company, was sold out.  The performance gave a unique point of view of Twain’s work as interpreted through the slave Jim’s perspective.  It was a powerful performance, made even more relevant by the fact that the Milton House Museum is Wisconsin’s only authenticated stop on the Underground Railroad.

Thank you to everyone that made this Big Read Event possible.  Without your support and efforts our event would not have been successful.



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