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Monthlong Arts Fest is a Very Big Deal

Coastal Hancock, from Deer Isle to MDI, Swans & beyond -

BAR HARBOR, Maine –  It’s a BIG BIG Deal !!
It’s The Big Read, and it’s arrived on Mount Desert Island, Deer Isle, Swans Island, Long Island, Isle au Haut, Little Cranberry Island and Trenton.
Final preparations are under way for more than 1,500 people to participate in the only Big Read program in Maine this year, one of only five in all of New England. It’s bringing together scores of arts organizations, the MDI YMCA, area libraries, museums, theaters and volunteers – all dedicated to making The Big Read a big success.
There will be fascinating art exhibits, which are going up now at local libraries; along with lectures, films, public readings, concerts, storytelling, game nights, book discussions, workshops and crafting sessions, and even a logrolling class in the MDI YMCA pool – all free to participants.
All these activities are designed around a book, in this case “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain, that all program participants are encouraged to read. Free copies of the books are available now at local libraries.
There will be a gala kick-off event this Thursday, Jan. 12, with nationally renowned actor John Pogson portraying Mark Twain in his acclaimed one-man show about the man who was born as Samuel Clemens and became the premiere author, humorist and speaker in America. It happens at the Higgins-Demas Theater at Mount Desert Island High School beginning at 7 p.m.
A very special guest at the event will be Linda Lord, the Maine State Librarian.
Both Mr. Pogson and Ms. Lord can be made available for interviews with advance notice.
Other activities, including craft days, screenings of Ken Burns’ documentary “Mark Twain,” lectures on stereotypes and racist language in “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” performances of period music, storytelling sessions, book discussions, jam-making, quilting, and even reenactments of school day circa 1840 will take place throughout the following month, with things winding up on Feb. 11 with a potluck and contra dance.
Throughout the month, children at schools in Trenton, on Mount Desert Island, Deer Isle, Swans Island, Isle au Haut and Long Island will be reading and discussing “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and doing many related projects in school.
The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in partnership with Arts Midwest. MDI-based nonprofit Island Readers & Writers is the only recipient of an NEA grant for The Big Read in Maine this year. The program’s aim is to reinvigorate reading as part of shared American culture.
Many of the people involved with The Big Read would be delighted to give interviews about the project, including:
Jan Coates, executive director, Island Readers & Writers, 288-2211 or jcoates@islandreadersandwriters.org;
Anna Carr, assistant director, Northeast Harbor Library, 276-3333 or acarr@nehlibrary.org;
Clara Baker, director, Bass Harbor Memorial Library, 244-3798 or claralester@roadrunner.com;
Candy Emlen, director, Southwest Harbor Library, 244-7065 or candy@swh.lib.me.us;
Ruth Eveland, executive director, Jesup Memorial Library, 288-4245 or reveland@jesup.lib.me.us;
Raney Bench, curator of education, Abbe Museum, 288-3519 or educator@abbemuseum.org;
Kim Harty, executive director, MDI YMCA, 288-3511;
And many others.
We’d also be happy to put you in touch with school officials, Maine State Librarian Linda Lord, or performers Maudie March, Jeff “Smokey” McKeen or John Pogson.
For a complete schedule and list of activities, visit www.islandreadersandwriters.org.

For More Information:

Contact Name: Jan Coates

Telephone Number: (207)288-2211

Website: http://www.islandreadersandwriters.org

Email: jcoates@islandreadersandwriters.org