TERRE HAUTE – The community is invited to the Oakley Auditorium at 8000 South Education Drive, Terre Haute, at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 20 for a program dedicated to the book “My Antonia” by Willa Cather as a part of a nationwide reading program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) called The Big Read. From 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. participants will have an opportunity to view creative works by Ivy Tech students that complement the book’s rich offerings. The materials are expected to include cultural heritage projects related to students’ backgrounds, written compositions, visual collages, ethnic cookbooks, genealogy charts, videos about immigration, brochures and other representations related to cultural diversity, ethnic diversity, economic diversity and social diversity.
The viewing will be followed by a Reader’s Theatre at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium. Ivy Tech’s theatre class will present vignettes from “My Antonia” followed by a discussion of the topics of diversity illustrated in them. Those attending are encouraged to read the book and to join in this community celebration of the pleasures of the great American novel.
According to Jeanne Ann Graham, Program Chair for English and Communication, Ivy Tech is pleased to participate in an event designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. “This program is important on so many levels,” she said. “It helps us impress upon people the value of reading and education to our civic, social and economic life and gives us an opportunity to showcase the work of our Ivy Tech students. It also allows us to talk as a community about how diversity of all kinds enriches our lives.”
The Big Read, launched nationally in October 2006, is a partnership of the NEA with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. Its purpose is to address the national decline in literary reading by asking communities to come together to read and discuss one book. The program has been presented in more than 200 cities and has become the largest federal literature program since the Works Progress Administration, which was created in 1935 under Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal.
Willa Cather (1873-1947) is an American author who grew up in Nebraska. My Antonia is the story of Antonia Shimerda, a spirited immigrant girl from Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) who moves with her family to rural Nebraska. It was first published in 1918 and is the final book of Cather’s “prairie trilogy” of novels. The two others are “O Pioneers!” and “The Song of the Lark.”
About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech is the state’s largest public post-secondary institution and the nation’s largest singly-accredited statewide community college system with more than 150,000 students enrolled annually. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.