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National Endowment for the Arts announce BIG READ grant to Amherst organization

National Endowment for the Arts announce BIG READ grant to Amherst organization

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The National Endowment of the Arts, in partnership with Arts Midwest, has announced that Amherst Glebe Arts Response, Inc. (AGAR) has been awarded a BIG READ grant to support the Amherst community in reading ‘An American Sunrise’ by Joy Harjo, poet laureate of the United States.

AGAR’s community partners for this project include the Amherst County Public Library, the Amherst County Museum and Historical Society, Amherst County Public Schools, the Monacan Nation Cultural Foundation, the Amherst Woman’s Club, the Central Virginia Alliance for Community Living, Central Virginia Community College and Sweet Briar College. Of 61 grants announced for 2021-2022, AGAR is the only organization in Virginia to receive an award, according to a news release from AGAR.

Joy Harjo is a member of the Muscogee Creek Tribe who lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Harjo is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and the board of directors chair of the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation. She holds a Tulsa Artist Fellowship.

AGAR has ordered and received 200 copies of ‘An American Sunrise,’ which will be available by Sept. 1 through AGAR and its partners, including the circulation department of the Amherst Public Library. AGAR has also ordered audio CD books of ‘An American Sunrise’ (as read by Harjo) and copies of companion books by Harjo, as well as two books of poetry by the late Monacan poet and historian Karenne Wood, which will also be available through the library.

AGAR’s and their partners’ BIG READ AMHERST COUNTY, VIRGINIA events, including two virtual talks by Harjo on her work and on Native American poetry, will take place in March 2022. All events will be free of charge. Free copies of books will also be available. For more information, or to volunteer, please go to or call AGAR at (434) 989-3215.

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts that is administered by Arts Midwest. AGAR has produced two previous Big Read programs.


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