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NEA Big Read - CWU Libraries

This guide provides information on CWU Libraries' National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Big Read programming taking place spring 2023.

About the NEA Big Read

An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read supports community reading programs each designed around a single NEA Big Read book selection with the goal of inspiring meaningful conversations, artistic responses, and new discoveries and connections in each community. The National Endowment for the Arts Big Read is designed to broaden our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Central Washington University (CWU) Libraries is one of 70+ nonprofit organizations to receive a grant to host an NEA Big Read project.

NEA Big Read Partners

This NEA Big Read Event is possible thanks to the collaborative efforts of the following organizations/businesses:

Lion Rock Visiting Writers Series
Presented by the CWU English Department                
The Lion Rock Visiting Writers Series schedules readings every quarter and features nationally known writers reading their own work. They have hosted winners of the MacArthur Genius Award, WA State Poets Laureate, and recipients of Catamundo, Whiting, Guggenheim, Lannan, and NEA Fellowships, and other major prizes.
Wildcat Neighborhood Farm
CWU's Wildcat Neighborhood Farm provides opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to participate in growing food for the community. Their primary work is to grow fresh produce for CWU Dining Services, and to provide space for students and faculty to run experiments or projects centered around food and farming. Examples have included studying soil carbon respiration, offering K-12 education programs, and piloting dryland winter wheat production. The Farm is a space for building a culture of environmental stewardship, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing, new or traditional, with neighbors.
Ellensburg Public Library
The Ellensburg Public Library provides a safe and welcoming place where patrons can develop an appreciation for reading and learning; find information about their community and its opportunities; and investigate or explore a wide range of topics relevant to their work, school and personal lives. The Ellensburg Public Library informs, educates, entertains, enriches and empowers their community by:
  • stimulating young children’s interest in and appreciation of reading
  • encouraging lifelong learning
  • ensuring freedom of access to information
  • providing the space and the opportunity for people and ideas to come together
  • responding to the needs of our diverse community
Gallery One                                
Gallery One Visual Arts Center is dedicated to the creation, exhibition and appreciation of visual arts in Central Washington. To that end, the facilities, board of directors, and staff of Gallery One provide:
  • High-quality, innovative, and diverse visual arts exhibits
  • Educational programs for the appreciation and skills of the arts
  • Studios for a diverse group of resident artists
  • Networking opportunities with business organizations and educational institutions in support of the arts
  • A meeting place to foster community cohesion and arts appreciation
Heather Dappen
Heather Dappen is a freelance graphic designer, illustrator, and muralist based out of Wenatchee, Washington. She owns and operates her own full-spectrum design business called Tessellate Designs. She is also a co-owner of a mural cooperation called Fight the Beige. Her art focuses on making concepts whimsical, generating patterns, breaking boundaries, and finding balance between order and chaos. Heather uncrosses her eyes by getting outside to climb, ski, hike, and picnic amongst her namesake mountain shrub. Every time Heather begins a new project, she feels baffled and grateful that her work allows her to solve puzzles in a playful and colorful manner. Find Heather on Instagram @fightthebeige or @hdappen.
Kittitas County Regional Library Board
The Kittitas County Regional Library Board was established by the Commissioners in 1996 to advise them on public library services in rural Kittitas County. The Board collaborated on library service projects of mutual benefit, reports annually, to the Commissioners, and requests County support for public library service through the County budget process.
Kittitas Environmental Education Network (KEEN)       
KEEN's mission is to cultivate an active understanding of the impacts of climate change on the endangered shrub-steppe and foster commitment to environmental stewardship by providing culturally relevant nature-based education.
Kittitas Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation (KVUUC)                 
KVUUC is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association. They gather as a liberal religious community to provide a safe haven to celebrate diversity, to foster intellectual, ethical and spiritual growth, and to care for our Earth. They practice their beliefs by serving the larger community in the spirit of justice and compassion.
Marie Marchland
Marie Marchand is the first Poet Laureate of Ellensburg. Her poetry has been published in Crannóg Magazine, Catamaran Literary Reader, California Quarterly, Paterson Literary Review, Tiny Seed Journal, Tikkun Magazine, and The Awakenings ReviewShe has two books of poetry: Pink Sunset Luminaries (2018) and Gifts to the Attentive (Winter Goose Publishing, 2022). Her poetry has been recognized by the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards, Wyoming Writers, Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest, and Eugene V. Shea Contest. Marie enjoys giving poetry readings and community workshops. Read her poetry at and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @mishiepoet. 
Wooden Tubas
Wooden Tubas is an Ellensburg brass band with standup bass (the wooden tuba) and drums. For the Big Read, the band will play selections from the NYC brass band Lucky Chops. Members include Greg Lyman (bass), Marshall Bilodeau (drums), Sasha Burkhardt (trombone), Chris Chen (tenor sax), Ken Bergevin (bari sax), Bruce Herman (trumpet) and Tony Swartz (trumpet).