Portland Arts & Lectures

Welcoming the world’s most celebrated writers, artists, and thinkers to speak to our community in the historic Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

Subscriptions are open for the 2020/21 Portland Arts & Lectures season.

Click here for the author line-up and currently scheduled event dates.

Due to high demand, the $90 Upper Balcony Subscription level is currently ONLY available to Upper Balcony subscribers to renew from the 19/20 season. Please give us a call at 503-227-2583, option 2 during weekday business hours to have a Literary Arts staff member assist you in renewing your Upper Balcony subscriptions. Any remaining Upper Balcony subscriptions after May 29th will be released for general sale. Please email us at la@literary-arts.org with any questions, or to request a call from a staff member for assistance in renewing.

A letter from our Executive Director:

April 2020

Dear Subscribers,

Most importantly, I hope this finds you, your families, friends, and colleagues healthy and safe.

For 35 years, Portland Arts & Lectures has presented some of the most engaging talks from the world’s best writers and thinkers to our community. World events have unfolded during this time that none of us could have predicted, and this year we face an unprecedented challenge.  

Our final lecture of the 2019-20 season, featuring Colson Whitehead, has been rescheduled for next spring: May 5, 2021. I will miss seeing you all. I will miss standing in the wings and hearing the expectant chatter of the audience at 7:27 p.m. I will miss how when the author takes the stage, a hushed respect takes hold of you all, the author begins to speak, and from there on in, we are one group— applauding, laughing, groaning, and sometimes just sitting in silent appreciation.

All of this is the joy of being together. 

Today, I am asking you to renew your subscription to the 36th season of Portland Arts & Lectures. Our promise to you is an incredible lineup of authors giving original talks in the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. And if, for any reason, one of the lectures cannot be safely held, we will reschedule it.  Literary Arts is here for you, bringing you the writers who can help us make sense of the changes around us.

The very best way you can support Literary Arts right now is to subscribe to the 2020-21 Portland Arts & Lectures season and make a $200 donation to the general fund. We are anticipating a very challenging funding year and need your help to make sure we are here for our whole community. Of course, any amount is helpful. Thank you!

With your subscription, we can all look forward to a time when we’ll again share the joy of being together in the concert hall, applauding, laughing, and yes, occasionally groaning. I look forward to seeing you there.

Andrew Proctor

Listen to the speakers from 2019/20 on The Archive Project.

The series began on October 24 with author and staff writer for The New Yorker, George Packer. His new book is Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century. On November 14, we welcomed Amor Towles, author of the New York Times best sellers Rules of Civility and A Gentleman in Moscow. The series continued on January 15 with Min Jin Lee, whose latest novel, Pachinko, was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction and a New York Times 10 Best Books of 2017. On February 20, we hosted Susan Orlean, author of eight books, including her most recent, The Library Book, a New York Times best seller and a Washington Post Top 10 Book of the Year for 2018. The series was due to close on May 7 with Colson Whitehead, author of The Nickel Boys and The Underground Railroad, a New York Times best seller which won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction and the National Book Award. (Note: the Colson Whitehead event has been rescheduled to next spring: May 5, 2021).

“By supporting readers, writers, and books, Literary Arts is doing the difficult and crucial work of building engaged communities, and for me, this is nothing short of protecting a democratic society that recognizes that you and I are deeply united by our vision of a world that is better, truer, and freer.” 

Min Jin Lee, 2019/20 Portland Arts & Lectures Speaker

Thank you to our 2020/21 season supporters:

A to Z Wineworks | Angeli Law Group | The Eberwein Family
Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund | ZGF Architects

Past Seasons

For more than three decades, Portland Arts & Lectures has presented the greatest writers and thinkers of our time. Browse past speakers by season and listen on our podcast, The Archive Project.

Learn More

“I’ve had the good luck to participate in many lecture series, and Portland Arts and Lectures is the gold standard.  They’ve established a virtuous cycle of literary engagement among local writers, local high schools, and an avid and vibrant reading community.  The visiting writer gets to reach and interact with all three, meaningfully and efficiently.” 

Jennifer Egan, Portland Arts & Lectures Author

Donate to Youth Programs

We provide local high school students with tickets and transportation to our concert hall events. Make a donation to help ensure students have access to these transformative arts experiences.


Community Tickets

We reserve seats for local community organizations at our concert hall events. Contact our box office at la@literary-arts.org or 503-227-2583, ext. 101 for more information about receiving free or discounted tickets.

The Archive Project

In addition to live lecture events, our Portland Arts & Lectures program connects readers and writers of all ages through classroom visits and workshops for professional writers. Events are featured on The Archive Project, our weekly radio show and podcast.