Youth Programs

Seattle Arts & Lectures believes that literacy and a love for writing is a life-long process that starts in our public schools and connects directly to our public stages. Through Writers in the Schools (WITS) and our Youth Poet Laureate (YPL) programs, SAL connects working professional writers with students and teachers to elevate and amplify the voices of students throughout the Puget Sound region.

Writers in the Schools

Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Writers in the Schools (WITS) program places professional local writers in public elementary, middle, and high school classrooms, empowering young people to discover and develop their authentic writing and performance voices. Since 1994, the program has served over 100,000 students throughout the Puget Sound region.

Youth Poet Laureate

The Seattle Youth Poet Laureate is a joint program of Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Writers in the Schools (WITS) and Urban Word NYC. The YPL program aims to identify youth writers and leaders who are committed to poetry, performance, civic and community engagement, education, and equity across the Puget Sound Region. At community events throughout the year, Youth Poet Laureates share their powerful voices, leadership, and love of community, and also publish their poems in a collection released in May.

A Year-End WITS Digital Gallery

This multi‑media gallery commemorates the time students spent writing and creating with WITS during the truncated 2019/20 school year. This gallery is a testament to the hard work of students, writers, teachers, and school communities across the Puget Sound area. Now this work can be seen, shared, and celebrated by those we miss, care for, and wish we were closer to right now.

2020/21 Youth Poet Laureate Release

This video gallery celebrates the achievement of 2019/20 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate, Wei-Wei Lee, and the public release of her first poetry collection, In the Footsteps of a Thousand Griefs (Poetry NW Editions). The gallery opens with Wei-Wei reading from her debut, followed by conversation between Wei-Wei and her YPL mentors, Aaron Counts and Matt Gano. Following this celebration, we welcome the incoming 2020/21 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate cohort in a series of videos.