The Big Read Grant

The Sturgis Area Arts Council, in collaboration with the Sturgis Public Library and the Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce, is a recipient of a grant of $11,300 to host the NEA Big Read in Sturgis. Sturgis is the only current recipient in the state of South Dakota. 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. The Sturgis Area Arts Council is one of 75 nonprofit organizations to receive an NEA Big Read grant to host a community reading program between September 7, 2017 and November 11, 2017. The NEA Big Read in Sturgis will focus on The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.

“The Veteran Community is such an integral part of the Sturgis Area. We are thrilled to tell their stories through our Big Read programming,” said committee member and Sturgis City Librarian, Julie Moore-Peterson. “The grant process was a community effort and we’re excited to come together again to carry it out.”

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.

Author, Tim O’Brien will be presenting in Sturgis to both students at the High School and later for the public at the Community Center on Friday, September 22. An additional $5000 was donated by AARP to make the visit by O'Brien possible.Prior to that visit, the book will be dispersed throughout the community and studied within several Sturgis Brown High School English classes. Additional book discussions, musical shows, visual art displays, and veteran focused events will take place beginning September 7 and ending on Veterans Day.

Our partners and sponsors include: The Sturgis Public Library, The Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce, The City of Sturgis, AARP, Stan Adelstein, Clover Foundation, Meade County Times-Tribune, KBHB Big 81, Meade School District 46-1, The Sturgis Center for the Arts, the South Dakota Humanities Council, The South Dakota Festival of Books, American Legion Meade Post 33, VFW Post 2730, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1039, and the Black Hills Veterans Writing Group.

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

If you’d like to support the Sturgis Big Read Programming, follow us on Facebook or visit our website We accept and appreciate donations of any size. They allow us to better promote and facilitate our events.

The Sturgis Area Arts Council was formed in the mi-1970s to promote the presentation of and participation in the arts in the Sturgis, SD community. The mission of the Sturgis Area Arts Council is "to initiate, sponsor, and conduct public programs to further the development and awareness of and interest in the arts.” To achieve this goal, we work closely with all facets of our community. We rely greatly upon donations and sponsorships from local individuals and businesses.

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