Welcome to The Big Read in Kansas City! – a citywide celebration of the Mark Twain classic The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, coordinated by the Kansas City Public Library and Kansas City Ballet.
The 2011 Big Read in Kansas City tooks its inspiration from the world-premiere production of Tom Sawyer – A Ballet in Three Acts, commissioned by KC Ballet and featuring music by two-time Tony-Award-winning composer Maury Yeston.
This Big Read collaboration connected readers with Tom Sawyer through a variety of free public events, such as:
- a piano performance and discussion with Maury Yeston
- a critical perspective on the novel offered by Twain scholar Robert Hirst, editor of the bestselling Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1
- an art exhibit featuring original Thomas Hart Benton illustrations of Twain books, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
- a discussion by art historian and exhibit curator Joan Stack about how Benton responded to the challenge of illustrating this classic Twain novel
All Big Read activities – including book group conversations, story times, and online discussions – took place starting in September 2011.
The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The NEA presents The Big Read in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. Support for The Big Read has been provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, the Boeing Company, the Poetry Foundation, and the Ford Motor Company.
Additional support for The Big Read in Kansas City comes from the Kauffman Foundation and the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.
Additional partners for The Big Read in Kansas City include: Park University; the State Historical Society of Missouri; the Coterie Theatre; and the UMKC Communications Studies Department.