Posted July 9th, 2017 in Uncategorized
‘A Wizard of Earthsea’ to be celebrated during The Big Read
We are so excited that we received a $15,000 grant to host The Big Read in Washington County. A program of the National Endowment for the Arts, The Big Read broadens understanding of the world, communities and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Managed by Arts Midwest, this initiative offers grants to support innovative community reading programs designed around a single book.
WCPL is the only organization in Virginia to receive a grant to host a Big Read project. Grants were made to 75 non-profit groups, ranging from schools to libraries to arts organizations.
“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 Big Read in Washington County focuses on “A Wizard of Earthsea” by Ursula Le Guin. Activities begin with a kick-off celebration Oct. 7.
Set in the fictional archipelago of Earthsea, the story centers around a young mage named Ged, born in a village on the island Gont. Displaying great power while still a boy, he joins the school of wizardry, where his prickly nature drives him into conflict with one of his fellows. During a magical duel, Ged’s spell goes awry and releases a shadow creature that attacks him. The novel follows his journey as he seeks to be free of the creature.
The book has often been described as a coming of age story, as it explores Ged learning to cope with power and come to terms with death. The novel also carries Taoist themes about a fundamental balance in the universe of Earthsea, which wizards are supposed to maintain.
Local artist Charles Vess, who is an internationally-acclaimed fantasy illustrator, is creating new illustrations for the book’s 50th anniversary release next year.
WCPL is working with several partners to expand the offerings for the community. They include Charles Vess, the Symphony of the Mountains, William King Museum of Art, Arts Array, College of Older Adults, the local school system, local arts organizations, Abingdon Cinemall and Appalachian Poets and Writers. The Bristol Herald Courier and The Washington County News are media sponsors.
We don’t have specific dates and times nailed down for many of the events yet. But we have some awesome fun planned.
Some of the plans include:
- Kick-off Celebration (free books, juggler, book fair and more)
- Keynote Speaker: Charles Vess
- The Symphony of the Mountains performs scenes from “Fantasia”
- A Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing workshop
- Crafts and story time
- Upscaling books
- NY Times bestselling writer Jennifer Estep
- Tai Chi
- Fantasy Film Series
- Brian & Marie Bridgeforth
- William King Museum workshops
- Lectures of Birds of Prey
- And more …
About the National Endowment for the Arts
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 arts.gov to learn more about NEA.
About Arts Midwest
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, visit artsmidwest.org.