POUGHKEEPSIE - Adriance Memorial Library hosted a reception of local civic, business, education and community leaders on Thursday, June 10, to celebrate the news of The Big Read grant received by the Poughkeepsie Public Library District and showcase the diverse talent of thirty-six local high school artists.
Each year the National Endowment for the Arts selects communities to receive funding for Big Read literacy projects based on a specific list of literature. The Poughkeepsie Public Library District is honored to be one of 77 communities to receive a Big Read grant. The Library District is awarded $15,000 for a program focused on Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 in the fall of 2014. This will be Poughkeepsie’s eighth annual Big Read.
"The NEA requires that their grant is matched by local support," says Development Officer Gareth Davies. "This is why the funding provided by local banks and other sponsors is so important." Local sponsors supporting The Big Read in 2014 include the Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, Riverside Bank, TD Bank, Norman and Jeannie Greene, and the Friends of PPLD.
It has become a local tradition for the Library District to challenge local High School students to create art based on themes from The Big Read selected literature. This year 36 students submitted work at the end of May to the Teen Art Contest. The works varied in style and media, and were created by students from Spackenkill High School, Poughkeepsie High School, Oakwood Friends School, John Jay High School, Warwick Valley High School, Keystone High School, and one home-schooler. The works were judged by Linda Marsten-Reid, Executive Director of Arts Mid-Hudson, and Julie Hering, Graphic Designer with the Library District.
Before the winners were announced on June 10, Linda Marsten-Reid complimented the students on their creativity, technique, insight into themes of the book, and their courage. "Showing your work in public like this is the final step in becoming an artist. Congratulations to all of you. You made the work of judging very difficult indeed!" commented Marsten-Reid.
The top prize winners in the Big Read Teen Art Contest are:
1st – Max Samson, an 11th grade student at Spackenkill – "A Pleasure to Burn"
2nd – Isabel Long, a 9th grade student at Spackenkill – "The Hound"
3rd – Deeanna Ouimet, a senior at Spackenkill – "Blind Ignition"
And three artists receiving Honorable Mentions are:
Catherine Pomeroy, a 9th grade student at Oakwood Friends – "The Burning Book"
Nathan Liang, a 9th grade student at Spackenkill – "To the Dust We Shall Return"
Leona Lau, a 10th grade student at Spackenkill – "Hope".
Teachers, community members, family, and library staff celebrated the artistic accomplishments of all the students, surrounded by the 36 pieces of art. Contest winners receive cash and gift card prizes and their work may be featured in the Big Read brochure to be widely distributed throughout the region. All Big Read student art will be on display at Adriance’s Strba Teen Room through the end of the month. The artwork will also be exhibited at Mill Street Loft, 45 Pershing Avenue in Poughkeepsie, from September 20 through October 14.
The Big Read will run from October 5 through November 2, with programs in Staatsburg, Hyde Park, Highland, Marlboro, Poughkeepsie, Pleasant Valley, LaGrange, Beekman, Wappingers Falls, and Beacon. Local colleges, school districts, arts and literacy organizations are all involved in this community-wide effort.