Richard Hugo House Programs
Our classes are taught by accomplished writers who are also stellar teachers. We offer courses on a wide range of subjects, from poetry and performance to zine-making, memoir, blogging, novel-writing, the nuts and bolts of the publishing business and even reading seminars.
At the Hugo Literary Series, you will meet writers willing to take risks, to work without the safety net of editors, publishers or reviewers affirming the work before they stand in front of an audience and read it aloud. They are writers who share the exhilaration of creating something new and sharing it with an audience for the first time before the work appears in a book, between the glossy covers of a magazine or within the shrink wrap of a compact disc.
We also produce readings, gallery shows, events, book releases and author meet-ups throughout the year to help sustain Seattle's wonderful writerly community.
Through the writer-in-residence program, Hugo House supports the work of outstanding writers in the community, and, in turn, the writers offer their support to the writing community at large—by holding office hours (free of charge) to anyone who’d like to meet with them; by curating or participating in public programs (readings, performances, writing workshops, etc.) and by working with populations who don’t get a lot of exposure to the arts.
For those interested in self-publishing and very small independent presses, ZAPP (our Zine Archive & Publishing Project) maintains a non-circulating library of more than 20,000 handmade and independent publications that are available to be viewed by the public.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
One recent success at Hugo House was ending 2012 with a surplus. That was a by-product of tough budgeting as well as the continued success of our programs (for example, we averaged 98% capacity audiences for our commissioned solo shows by David Schmader and Marya Sea Kaminski, and we also increased income from classes by about $20,000). Though we provided nearly $16,000 in scholarships to youth and adult students (something very important to us, and an increase of about $1,000 from 2011), we were able to still end the year in the black.
Currently, our biggest need is to make ourselves sustainable. Artistically speaking, we have made great strides—we partner with other organizations to expand our reach and make our shared resources go further, we prioritize programs that have a large impact on those we serve without demanding large amounts of money or staff time and, above all, we make sure we produce quality programs, resources and events that makes a difference and that people care about. Administratively, sustainability means creating and maintaining an operating reserve, not leaning too heavily on single sources of funding and making good use of data. Ending two years in a row in the black is a great start for building an operating reserve; we continue to work on diversifying our income sources and leveraging our data for fundraising and marketing purposes (and to help best communicate with our patrons).