CLEVELAND, Miss.— Thursday, March 30 will see the culmination of the NEA Big Read: Bolivar County with a guest lecture and a musical performance. Dr. Lisa Beckley-Roberts, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at Jackson State University will present “Expansion, Contraction, and Transformation: The Creation of Sacred Space through Music for Communal Healing and Social Justice” at 12:15 p.m. in the Baioni Conference Center in Broom Hall on the Delta State campus.
Dr. Beckley-Roberts will then direct JSU’s African Drum and Dance Ensemble in a performance at 6:00 p.m. at the Jobe Hall Auditorium.
DSU Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator Michelle Johansen said, “I am excited to welcome Dr. Lisa Beckley-Roberts and the Jackson State University African Drum and Dance Ensemble to campus as the grand finale. We hope Bolivar Countians of all ages will enjoy the ensemble’s high-energy, educational performance.”
The NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest which annually provides support to selected nonprofit organizations around the country to host dynamic community-wide reading programs, each designed around a single NEA Big Read title. Delta State is one of 62 non-profit organizations nationwide and the only organization in the state selected to hold NEA Big Read programming in 2022-2023.
In collaboration with the Bolivar County Library System as well as campus and community partners, Delta State’s project hosted an array of programming centered around Yaa Gyasi’s award-winning novel, “Homegoing.”
“The Big Read has surpassed the planning committee’s expectations,” Johansen said. “We exceeded the number of ‘Homegoing’ books distributed to Bolivar Countians by 100. Also, we were able to create a Little Read program for elementary school age children in Bolivar County to enjoy award-winning companion literature with similar themes to ‘Homegoing.’ Our book discussions have been well attended and brought together many different audiences.”
For more information about the NEA Big Read or to see the full list of this year’s grantees, visit arts.gov/neabigread.