The YMCA Writer’s Voice and Billings Public Library present The Big Read True Grit: John Wayne Film Festival – March 2014

PRESS RELEASE: February 24, 2014
Contact: Corby Skinner 294-1620
The YMCA Writer’s Voice and Billings Public Library present
The Big Read True Grit: John Wayne Film Festival – March 2014
In celebration of the Big Read and Charles Portis’s True Grit, the Library and YMCA are presenting a John Wayne film series. Films will be held in the Billings Public Library Community Room, 1:00pm, every Saturday in March! Films are free of charge with a discussion to follow.
March 1Red River(1948)
It’s mutiny on the cattle drive when hot-tempered trail boss Tom Dunson (Wayne) relentlessly brutalizes his drovers, causing his adopted son Matt Garth (Montgomery Clift) to intercede and take charge. Tom vows vengeance for Matt’s unpardonable offense, leading to the quintessential Western showdown. The movie was director Howard Hawks’ immortal sagebrush saga.
March 8The Searchers (1956)
After his entire family is viciously wiped out, hardened war veteran Ethan Edwards (Wayne) embarks on a long journey to find his only surviving niece, Debbie (Natalie Wood), who has been captured by hostile Comanche Indians. Stephen Spielberg called director John Ford’s richly scenic Western one of the greatest films of all time.
March 15How the West Was Won (1962)
Three generations of the adventurous Prescott family risk their lives to carve out a new existence on the American frontier. The film epic demanded the talents of three directors, including the master of Westerns, John Ford. The stellar cast includes John Wayne, Karl Malden, James Stewart, Debbie Reynolds, Gregory Peck and George Peppard.
March 22The Cowboys(1972)
Wayne plays Wil Andersen, an aging rancher who can’t find local cowboys to run his cattle drive. His solution is to hire schoolboys, who will be quickly forced to become men during a treacherous 400 mile cattle run from Montana to South Dakota. Join this odd group of cattle drivers as they brave the trail and face not only obstacles of nature, but also a group of cattle thieves.
March 29Rooster Cogburn (1975)
John Wayne returns as the irascible Rooster Cogburn in this entertaining sequel to True Grit. This time, Wayne gets saddled with prim Eula Goodnight (Katharine Hepburn), a minister’s daughter who’s more than a match for the cranky U.S. Marshal.
Sign up for a Big Read Book Discussion!
To register for one of these discussion groups and to receive a free copy of “True Grit,” call the Billings Public Library at 657-8258 or go to the 2nd Floor Service Desk.
Monday, March 3    7pm            Library, Castle Rock Jr High        Terra Beth Jochems  
Monday, March 3    7pm            Billing Public Library                   Bernie Quetchenbach
Tuesday, March 4   7pm            Rocky Mountain College Library  Bernard Rose  
Wed., March 5       7pm            Billings Public Library                  Kris Keup  
Wed., March 5       7pm            YMCA                                        Corby Skinner  
Thurs., March 6     7pm             Huntington Learning Center      Jennifer Quinn
Corby Skinner
The YMCA Writer’s Voice and Billings Public Library present The Big Read True Grit: John Wayne Film Festival – March 2014

YMCA Writer’s Voice receives National Endowment for the Arts grant to support “Women Writing the West”

YMCA Writer’s Voice receives National Endowment for the Arts grant to support “Women Writing the West”
Grant one of 817 NEA Art Works grants totaling $26.3 million in funding nationwide
Billings, Montana — National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa announced today that the YMCA Writer’s Voice is one of 817 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. The YMCA Writer’s Voice is recommended for a $10,000 grant to support “Women Writing the West,” a series of free public readings in Billings and Miles City, Montana.
In the fall of 2013 and spring of 2014, the YMCA Writer’s Voice will present a series of readings by several the most distinguished contemporary women authors from the Rocky Mountain Front. Writers include Kim Barnes, Julianne Couch, Emily Danforth, Alyson Hagy, Pam Houston, Ruth Rudner, Melanie Rae Thon, Claire Vaye Watkins, and Terry Tempest Williams.
Writer’s Voice Director Corby Skinner said, “On Friday, October 25, the High Plains BookFest will kick-off with a reading at the Babcock Theatre by Pam Houston, Emily Danforth, and Alyson Hagy.” “All three of the authors have books in consideration for the High Plains Book Awards and collectively represent both the wealth and diversity of contemporary fiction being written by women in the West,” he adds.
Acting Chairman Shigekawa said, “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support these exciting and diverse arts projects that will take place throughout the United States. Whether it is through a focus on education, engagement, or innovation, these projects all contribute to vibrant communities and memorable opportunities for the public to engage with the arts.”
In August 2012, the NEA received 1,547 eligible applications for Art Works grants requesting more than $80 million in funding. Art Works grants support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts. The 817 recommended NEA grants total $26.3 million and span 13 artistic disciplines and fields. Applications were reviewed by panels of outside experts convened by NEA staff and each project was judged on its artistic excellence and artistic merit.
For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at
YMCA Writer’s Voice receives National Endowment for the Arts grant to support “Women Writing the West”


PRESS RELEASE: March 12, 2013
Contact: Corby Skinner, 406-294-1620,
People can help the Billings Family YMCA win funding to bring another cancer support program to this community by voting for our LIVESTRONG application today at
The Billings Family YMCA has applied to receive funding from the LIVESTRONG Foundation and was selected as a finalist to host The Creative Center’s Outpatient Artist in Residency Program.  In order to secure funding, materials and training, the Y needs to demonstrate that the community supports the organization through an online voting campaign.   Organizations that receive the largest amount of votes from their community will receive funding.
The Y hopes to bring The Creative Center’s Outpatient Artist in Residence Program to the Billings community. Since 1994, The Creative Center has offered free-of-charge workshops in the arts to cancer survivors and their caregivers as a way to discover their own creative resources as they navigate the “cancer journey”—from diagnosis through survivorship.
Through the 2013 LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project, the Foundation is funding the replication of this program in locations including cancer support communities, YMCA’s, hospitals, art organizations, and faith-based centers. The program offers people living with cancer the opportunity to connect with others through the arts, which can reduce anxiety, allay fears, combat isolation and boredom—and most importantly, helping people who are often viewed as representatives of their disease, rather than the unique individuals they are.
In 2012, the Billings Family YMCA was selected for a LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project to address health and exercise for adult cancer survivors.
“Our current LiveStrong program has been an amazing success story,” said CEO Tina Postel. By providing physical training and social interaction for cancer survivors the Y is giving people the tenacity to strive, to succeed, to achieve their full potential. By adding an artist in residency component to the cancer support services, we can fully addresses what YMCAs everywhere should be doing – building strong spirit, mind and body – for all.
“Programs like the LiveStrong Artist-in-Residency program help the Billings Family YMCA build and diversify our reach into the community in new and exciting ways,” said Y Writer’s Voice Director Corby Skinner.
The Writer’s Voice has been a part of the Y since 1991. For 22 years, the program has taken a lead in integrating the Y with the greater educational and cultural community in Billings. Collaborations and partnership with the libraries, museums, hospitals, schools and other organizations help our members and the community-at-large understand that, in fact, the Y is so much more than a “swim and gym.”
For the Artist in Residency position, the Y has selected Danell Jones, an award-winning writer as well as a veteran teacher and cancer survivor. “In the many writing workshops she had taught over the years, her goal is always to create a safe, supportive atmosphere where creativity can flourish, said Corby Skinner. Her work with the medical community includes facilitating workshops for both for St. Vincent Healthcare and the Billings Clinic. She has a doctorate in English literature from Columbia University and has taught at the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Denver, and Montana State University Bozeman.  She is the author of the Virginia Woolf Writers’ Workshop:  Seven Lessons to Inspire Great Writing.
The deadline to vote is 5pm, March 28. The Y hopes members, friends and families in the community know about this opportunity and lend their support by going to
To learn more about this program visit the Community section of our website at