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Youth Programs

Help Send Students to the Schnitz

The Youth Programs of Literary Arts inspire Portland students to find their stories and play an active role in the broader community. The voices and perspectives of students are an invaluable part of our conversations, and we are proud to elevate and engage with them whenever possible.

Students to the Schnitz began with the 2010/11 season of Portland Arts & Lectures, and connects local high school students with award-winning writers. The program provides books, admission tickets, and transportation to and from the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall to more than 1,400 students annually. Students also have the opportunity to connect with the author and have a deeper discussion about their values and experiences as a writer.

Susan Orlean visits Lincoln High School in 2020

“It gives me more insight into the human spirit behind writing. I find it too easy to put writers on a pedestal I can never reach, but [Ta-Nehisi] Coates’ talk gave me some perspective on the road of growth as a writer.”


Since its launch, Students to the Schnitz has been supported by the generosity of our Portland Arts & Lectures audience. Each year, Andrew Proctor, Executive Director of Literary Arts, asks the audience to share the lectures they love with the next generation by donating to Youth Programs at the time of their renewal.

Attendees from three schools on the Zoom call
with Professor Ibram X. Kendi

As we prepare for the 2021/22 lecture season, Andrew is again asking our incredible audience to support this program by renewing their subscription and making a $200 donation. We’re excited to announce that Literary Arts’ Patron Advisory Council has put forward a matching challenge, so the first $11,000 that is donated by subscribers to our Youth Programs will be matched and doubled. Of course, any amount is helpful and deeply meaningful to the students we serve.

Thank you to the following Patron Advisory Council Members who made this match possible:

Jill Abere

Kim Bissell

Rebecca DeCesaro

Sarah Gibbon

Susan Hathaway-Marxer

Earl Hines

Phillip M. Margolin

Carolyn McKinney 

Vanessa McLaughin

Lora Meyer

Katherine O’Neil

Barbara Sepenuk

Roslyn Sutherland

Kristi Wallace Knight

Kim Weyler

Marcia Wood

2020 was a difficult year of isolation and uncertainty for all of us, but was particularly stressful for the youth in our community. Literary Arts is proud to continue providing these students with opportunities—both virtually and in-person—to engage with literature.

“Thank you for your time and energy around Professor Kendi’s phenomenal event this afternoon! This type of engagement in a virtual environment is inspiring, to say the least. THIS is what our BIPOC students and staff want and need, myself included! Thank you for creating space for this opportunity, for emphasizing accessibility, and for the smoothest author event experience I have attended to date.”


Please consider making a gift today to Students to the Schnitz and help support the extraordinary work of Literary Arts’ Youth Programs.

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