I made my first pilgrimage to Willa Cather's childhood hometown, Red Cloud, NE, as a graduate student at the University of Nebraska over twenty years ago. It was inspiring to see the buildings and sites that helped shape Willa Cather's life and writing. Since that first visit it's been exciting to watch Willa Cather's reputation continue to soar and resources for readers of her work continue to grow.
Today Ken Burns announced the creation of the National Willa Cather Center in Red Cloud, Nebraska. Burns is a long-time Cather enthusiast and is serving as the honorary national chairman of the fundraising event to get the center off the ground.
The Willa Cather Foundation has already raised most of the money needed for the creation of the new center, which will include a museum, archive, research center, classrooms, bookstore, art gallery, retail space, facilities for the Opera House, as well as housing for visitors. The Foundation is now asking the public for helping in raising the last chunk of money. According to an article from the JournalStar.com, "To meet a $400,000 challenge grant offered by the Peter Kiewit Foundation of Omaha, the Willa Cather Foundation must raise $144,000 by June 30."
Watch Ken Burns's announcement video below or at the Willa Cather Foundation website.
Please help the Willa Cather Foundation make its financial goal by spreading the word (use #fundnwcc where appropriate), and I hope you consider making a donation yourself!
Donations can be mailed to: Willa Cather Foundation, 413 North Webster St., Red Cloud, NE. 68970 or made online at willacather.org.