CCAC Kicks Off 'The Big Read in Pittsburgh' with Feb. 28 Event
Woodland Hills High School and Western PA School for the Deaf are partnering with CCAC for this initiative.
Community College of Allegheny County will kick-off a month-long series of outreach events designed to promote literacy, reading and community engagement with a free community event, The Big Read in Pittsburgh, held Thursday, Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture.
The Big Read in Pittsburgh is a project of the CCAC One College … One Community initiative, an innovative partnership among CCAC and local school districts, libraries, correctional facilities and other organizations focusing on the discussion of a novel and its themes. The initiative focuses on Carson McCullers’ novel The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, the book selected for this year’s The Big Read program.
Centering on the experiences of a deaf man, McCullers’ first novel gives a voice to the forgotten and mistreated amidst the racially charged atmosphere of the Depression-era South. Debuted to great acclaim in 1940, the novel has endured, with McCullers’ story of the personal search for redemption and beauty just as relevant today as when it was first published.
Courtney George, director of the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians at Columbus State University in Columbus, GA will be the keynote speaker at the kickoff for The Big Read in Pittsburgh, which also features live music from the Lee Robinson Trio.
The Big Read, a program of the NEA in partnership with Arts Midwest, provides communities nationwide with the opportunity to read, discuss and celebrate one of a number of selections from U.S. and world literature. CCAC is one of 78 organizations nationwide—and the only one in Pennsylvania—to receive the grant this year.
Throughout March, students in several Allegheny County high schools and English and history students at CCAC will be studying the book. The students will also participate in essay, poetry, art and project contests. Libraries will host book discussions and film screenings. CCAC faculty and administrators will also facilitate book discussions among inmates at the State Correctional Institution of Pittsburgh and residents at Shuman Juvenile Detention Center and Renewal Inc.
Besides CCAC and the August Wilson Center, the One College…One Community partnership includes the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council, Imani Christian Academy in Penn Hills, Kelly Strayhorn Theatre in East Liberty, Monroeville Public Library, North Urban Pathways Charter High School, Pittsburgh Job Corps, Pleasant Hills Public Library, Renewal Treatment Inc., Shuman Detention Center, State Correctional Institution of Pittsburgh, Steel Valley High School, University Prep 6–12 Milliones, West Mifflin High School, Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and Woodland Hills High School.
The event will follow recognition of the initiative from Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who has proclaimed Feb. 28 as “Big Read Day” in the city of Pittsburgh. In the proclamation, CCAC and 17 partners are recognized for their participation in the national Big Read program through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts.