Young Auditorium Awarded 8th NEA Big Read Grant




Rock, Walworth and Jefferson County Communities to Read and Celebrate


From MARCH 22 to May 6, 2018


June 8, 2017—UW-WHITEWATER’S YOUNG AUDITORIUM is a recipient of a grant of $13,500 to host the NEA Big Read in Whitewater and neighboring communities. 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.  YOUNG AUDITORIUM 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. This NEA Big Read will focus on The Round House by Louise Erdrich. Activities will take place March 22 – May 6.

Shannon Dozoryst, Assistant Director and Director of Education and Outreach for Young Auditorium, states that the organization is thrilled that they have been awarded this grant for the 8th time.  “We have been able to connect and engage with community members, libraries and other organizations in a genuine and meaningful way through the NEA Big Read program over the years.  We look forward to planning a program that will include thought provoking discussion, hands-on arts experiences, lectures, and family events,” says Dozoryst.  In addition to the featured title, Young Auditorium also selects a companion novel to involve youth in the program.  The featured youth title will be The Birchbark House, also by Louise Erdrich.  Young Auditorium is enthusiastic about working with multiple campus and community partners, including: UW-Whitewater’s Office of Continuing Education, UW-Whitewater’s Office of Diversity, Student Engagement and Success, UW-Whitewater’s Andersen Library, Old World Wisconsin, The Hoard Historical Museum, Irvin L. Young Memorial Library, Lake Geneva Public Library, American Association of University Women (AAUW) Geneva Lakes Branch, the School District of Janesville and the Whitewater Unified School District, among others.

“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

Community libraries, businesses and organizations that are interested in partnering with Young Auditorium for The Big Read should contact Shannon Dozoryst (262-472-1432/ for more information.  A calendar of events and more detailed information about our community’s Big Read program will be posted to – as information becomes available.  You will also find information on the Young Auditorium website as it becomes available –


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 NEA 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 to learn more about NEA.


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