The mission of Literary Arts is to engage readers, support writers, and inspire the next generation with great literature.
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Literary Arts is a community-based nonprofit literary center located in downtown Portland, with a 35-year history of serving Oregon’s readers and writers. Our programs include Portland Arts & Lectures, one of the country’s largest lecture series; Oregon Book Awards & Fellowships, which celebrates Oregon’s writers and independent publishers; Youth Programs, which inspires students to write, revise, edit, publish, and perform their own creative writing; and Portland Book Festival, which builds community around literature through author events, workshops, a book fair, and more. We also host guided discussion groups around great works of literature through a program called Delve.
Oregon is a community that values its readers and writers. We have a vibrant history as creators of great art and as a community that supports the creation of such work. Stories are all around us…”
-Andrew Proctor, Executive Director
Portland Arts & Lectures brings the world’s most celebrated writers, artists, and thinkers to our community. In addition to events that are broadcast statewide through The Archive Project podcast and OPB radio show, the program connects readers and writers of all ages with classroom visits and workshops.
Youth Programs inspires public high school students to write, publish, and perform their own creative writing. Writers in the Schools residencies bring working writers into classrooms; Students to the Schnitz gives young people access to great books and influential authors; The College Essay Mentoring Project pairs mentors with college applicants; and the annual Verselandia! poetry slam showcases high school spoken word artists.
Oregon Book Awards & Fellowships supports, promotes, and celebrates Oregon’s writers and publishers. In addition to awards and fellowships for emerging and established writers, the program also offers writing classes and literary events at our downtown center and produces the Oregon Book Awards Author Tour, which connects writers and readers throughout the state.
Portland Book Festival (formerly Wordstock) brings writers and readers of all ages together to celebrate a shared passion for books. This daylong celebration features author events, readings, workshops, and an extensive book fair. Save the date: November 9, 2019, at the Portland Art Museum.
Delve Readers Seminars cultivates community around the shared experience of reading. By gathering around books, we engage in dialogues with authors we love, and artists who show us new perspectives.
The Literary Arts Strategic Plan is the product of a full year’s work by the staff and board of Literary Arts. Click here to read a summary of the plan or view the complete version and help us shape our future.
The first phase of work was to assess the changes in our community—artistically, structurally, socially, as well as locally and nationally—and to take stock of our current programs (both quantitatively and qualitatively). Our process was driven by the professional staff, and it incorporated information from surveys, evaluations, and other means of collecting data about, and feedback from, all our constituents. The result of this work is the Organizational Assessment, found in Section Three.
The second phase of our work was to describe how the organization’s programs would evolve in a coordinated way to ensure that Literary Arts is prepared to meet the challenges of our changing community, ensuring our organization is serving in relevant and progressive ways.
The results of this work can be found in Section Two: Program Priorities and Initiatives. Finally, we synthesized and condensed all this work to create Section One: Summary.
We view this plan as a living document that will continue to be updated and changed between now and 2017.