NEA Big Read: Spearfish to Kickoff in February

February 1, 2021

Spearfish to read A Wizard of Earthsea 

Get ready for a little magic, because the 2021 NEA Big Read: Spearfish is kicking off in early February! Community partners Black Hills State University, the Grace Balloch Memorial Library, and the Matthews Opera House & Arts Center are excited to announce that Spearfish will be reading the fantasy classic “A Wizard of Earthsea” by Ursula K. Le Guin. 

“It’s a book that can be enjoyed by all ages and one that has stood the test of time,” explained Kyler Flock, community engagement manager at the Matthews. “It also is a book rich with various themes which made planning the community events so much fun.”

The NEA Big Read kickoff will begin on February 9. Starting on that Tuesday, all area residents are invited to stop by the Matthews gallery to pick up their free copy of “A Wizard of Earthsea.” Additionally, every day that week through Saturday, February 13, clues will be released that can be solved using the text of the book. These clues will lead readers on a quest around the city of Spearfish to find medallions that can be returned to the Matthews for a prize.

“Most of the prizes will consist of $25 gift cards to local businesses,” Flock said. “But on Saturday, we will have a grand finale prize that will be worth quite a bit! It’s going to be really fun!”

The NEA Big Read: Spearfish will last through April 2021 with some events possibly going into May. 

Already on the schedule are craft workshops where participants can learn how to make spellbooks, dragon eye pendants, and wands; a fantasy film festival, community discussions about the author, and much more. 

Flock said the full list of events will be released via brochure and will be available on the website starting February 9. There will be things to do for readers of all ages, and while some are planned for in-person, many will be things that can be done at home or safe distances.

“As long as COVID-19 is part of our current way of life, we will be planning for contingencies,” Flock said. “We are hoping that our in-person events will be able to be carried out as planned, but just in case, we are working on having virtual options for everything ready to go.”

He added that in order for Spearfish residents to stay up to date on the latest changes and additions to NEA Big Read events, they should bookmark www.matthewsopera.com/bigread21

“We are so excited to get started and we hope everyone will read this incredible book with us!” Flock said. 

About NEA Big Read

Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,600 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $22 million to organizations nationwide. Over the past thirteen years, grantees have leveraged more than $50 million in local funding to support their NEA Big Read programs. More than 5.7 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event, approximately 91,000 volunteers have participated at the local level, and 39,000 community organizations have partnered to make NEA Big Read activities possible. For more information about the NEA Big Read, including book and author information, podcasts, and videos, visit arts.gov/neabigread.

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest

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