NEA Big Read in the St. Croix Valley

Join the St. Croix Valley as we read Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea

The NEA Big Read in the St. Croix Valley is a one book, one community program that brings together residents from throughout the St. Croix Valley around a common book. ArtReach is pleased to announce that in 2018 programming will include a variety of literary, visual and performing arts opportunities centered on themes found in Into the Beautiful North.

NEA Big Read Reader's Guide for Into the Beautiful North

Calendar of Events 
Click here for a full listing of NEA Big Read in the St. Croix Valley events.

Call for Stories  
Be part of a microfiction collection. Into the Beautiful North is a decidedly modern take on a familiar theme: journeys. Some say the destination is the journey itself. Can you tell a whole story on this theme in the space of a postcard? Learn more

Read the book 
Numerous copies of Into the Beautiful North and book club kits can be found in circulation at local libraries throughout the St. Croix Valley. In addition, ArtReach will be distributing hundreds of Read and Release copies of the book throughout the St. Croix Valley in Little Free Libraries, laundromats, coffee shops and doctor’s offices. If you prefer to purchase you own copy of Into the Beautiful North our local independently-owned bookstores Valley Bookseller in Stillwater and Chapter 2 Books in Hudson are offering at 15% discount for those who would like to purchase their own copy.

Experience the art 
There are multiple opportunities to experience art that looks at themes found in Into the Beautiful North. Art on Tour… is a mobile art exhibition features panoramic photographs of the vast expanses of desert found at the Texas – Mexico border. The exhibition is touring libraries throughout the St. Croix Valley from March through mid-May. Find dates and locations here.

ArtReach St. Croix Galleries will feature two exhibitions related to Into the Beautiful North from March 29-May 12. The Ache for Home is a photographic project by Selma Fernádez Richter about recent immigrants to the Twin Cities. And Bridges & Borders will feature work by local artists that reflects on what divides us and what brings us together.

At the Stillwater Library, encounter what it means to be an immigrant through Green Card Voices. The exhibition of stories and panel discuss will provide a learning opportunity for anyone who wants to learn more about immigration from a personal perspective.

See a play  
St. Croix Festival Theatre continues its partnership with the NEA Big Read in the St. Croix Valley with Lone Star Spirits, a heartwarming story by Minnesota playwright Josh Tobiessen that explores the themes of community, culture and coming home. Lone Star Spirits will be on state April 13-29. Learn more or purchase tickets at

Have a conversation  According to On Being host Krista Tippett, “Public life is bigger than political life. Public life includes all of our disciplines and endeavors, including ourselves as citizens…neighbors…and friends.” Join local hosts as together we create safe spaces for listening and conversation to explore questions and perspectives on immigration.


NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. NEA Big Read is designed to broaden our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. ArtReach St. Croix is one of 75 not-for-profit organizations to receive a grant to host an NEA Big Read project between September 2017 and June 2018.

ArtReach St. Croix is presenting the NEA Big Read in the St. Croix Valley in conjunction with core program partners Valley Bookseller, Stillwater Public Library, St. Croix Festival Theatre and library branches located in communities between St. Croix Falls, WI and Hastings, MN.