NEA Selects Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts for The Big Read; Only Organization in New Jersey to be Named

Camden residents are once again invited to join a book club numbering in the thousands, as the Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts prepares to celebrate the works of Edgar Allen Poe through lively discussions and innovative activities this fall.

Thanks to a $15,000 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant, the Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts has been named a grantee of The Big Read. Participating for the fourth year, the center is the only organization from New Jersey to be selected for the 2013-14 cycle, and one of only 77 organizations to earn the nod nationwide.

Launched in 2006, NEA’s The Big Read program promotes a lifelong love of reading by uniting communities across the nation in discussion and celebration of one of 34 selections from U.S. and world literature.

Rutgers–Camden aims to connect approximately 2,000 New Jerseyans to the influential poet and each other, and has already begun coordinating with Camden City schools by agreeing to provide hundreds of books for Camden students.

“Our Camden audiences really look forward to these annual events,” says Noreen Scott Garrity, associate director and curator of education for the Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts. “We enjoy broad participation from pre-schoolers to seniors for a variety of events geared towards different age groups.”

Beginning the two-month celebration in late September, the Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts will host a number of events organized around The Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, including a festive kick-off event, where copies of the book will be distributed; a related stage performance; a visual arts component, and distribution of a companion book for young readers. There will also be multiple discussions and lectures, including a Literary Tea event, and a family-friendly storytelling series in the Camden County Library’s Nilsa I. Cruz-Perez Downtown Branch, located on the Rutgers–Camden campus. Public programs are free of charge and open to all Camden residents.

In partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and in cooperation with Arts Midwest, The Big Read offers grants ranging from $3,000 to $17,300 to promote and carry out community-based programs. Participating communities also receive high-quality, free-of-charge educational materials to supplement each title.

The Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts seeks to provide performances, exhibitions, education programs, and community projects, that inspire a full appreciation and enjoyment of the arts, create meaningful opportunities to participate in the arts, advance the central role of the arts in pre K-12 education, and increase awareness of the arts as essential to cultural, economic, and community vitality.

For additional information about The Big Read at Rutgers–Camden, contact Noreen Scott Garrity at (856) 225-6306.

For more information about Rutgers–Camden news stories, visit us at news.rutgers.edu/medrel

Media Contact: Tom McLaughlin
856-225-6545
E-mail: thomas.mclaughlin@camden.rutgers.edu

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