Seattle Arts & Lectures Programs
SAL offers innovative programs by established and emerging authors to raise the understanding, appreciation, and visibility of the written and spoken word.
Literary\Arts Series presents the world's finest contemporary writers and cultural thinkers. Speakers represent many genres and backgrounds and their work consistently impacts contemporary culture nationally and, through our series, locally. We hope that our diverse, culturally relevant, and topical programming inspires our community to think more, read more, write more, and engage in dialogue that will lead to the betterment of our society.
Writers in the Schools (WITS) improves the reading, writing, and self-confidence of thousands of underserved K-12 youth each year while providing lasting professional development to their teachers. WITS matches public schools with local, professional creative writers who are also dynamic teachers. These writers-in-residence design innovative lesson plans that inspire students to explore creative writing and give them the skills to succeed as students and members of our global community.
The Poetry Series presents nationally prominent poets—ranging from peak- career masters to up-and-coming artists—in readings and on-stage interviews. Poets are rarely, if ever, sent on tour by their publishers. SAL makes it possible for readers to connect with these writers. Poetry is an oral art. To hear it read by the author is a rare experience that provides insight into the author’s intentions.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
SAL has made collaborative partnerships a priority. We have successfully engaged partners to manage event expenses and maximize attendance and audience building for all involved. For example, we have an ongoing partnership with Seattle Art Museum that began in 2008 which spans our programming. This year, also in partnership with Wave Books, poets Eileen Myles and Maggie Nelson read their poetry and spoke about art from SAM's Elles exhibit. A SAL U course, Life of an English House, was curated this year in conjunction with the SAM Exhibit Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: Treasures of Kenwood House. 5 scholars will speak on trends in literature, history, landscape architecture, art, and architecture as exemplified by Kenwood House. Our WITS program continues its partnership with SAM’s education department to bring WITS students to the museum to write in response to artwork.
SAL’s challenge this year has been financial. The Board of Directors took a level-eyed look at the financial equilibrium of the organization. With this in mind, the organizational budget has been revised to guarantee we end the year without a deficit. To right-size the organization, programming not closely tied to mission has been eliminated, and staffing reduction and reorganization has been completed. Strategic planning and board training and development plans are under way. SAL looks forward to a future of relevant, mission-driven programming that continues to engage our community.