SPLAB Vision

When fully developed, with sufficient funding, SPLAB! will be an intergenerational spokenword Performance, Resource and Outreach Center in the Columbia City Neighborhood. It will be an internationally-known center for innovative poetry, theater, local journalism and other word arts.

It will be a critical community center where people meet, learn about issues affecting their community and debate the issues of the day in a respectful and intelligent manner.

It will host a weekly writer’s critique circle, with professional facilitators helping to facilitate an environment in which real constructive criticism is available to writers of all levels of experience and a weekly open mic, at which beginners will learn from peers and elders about innovative writing and performance.

A Visiting Poet Series will bring renowned as well as emerging writers from around the world to Columbia City to give readings, workshops, school lectures and appearances and to develop ties between writers of our community and others around the world. This will be part of a poetry-exchange program with similar institutions in other countries around the world. Poets from around the continent, and the world, will have extended residencies to teach, engage with local writers, give readings and have time to write.

Our education program will send writers into local schools to teach innovative techniques and supplement current curricula, as well as help develop new and more relevant curriculum. A writers mentoring program will provide free advice to writers of all levels of experience, and will also work in concert with local schools and colleges. The education program will evolve into a credit-granting (MFA) program which either becomes accredited, or works with an accredited institution. A traveling workshop troupe will share writing exercises developed at SPLAB! in libraries, community centers, high schools, colleges, correctional institutions and other venues throughout the Northwest and into Canada. Weekly low-cost workshops will happen every Saturday during the SPLAB! season, featuring some of the best writing teachers in North America.

Through Skype and other emerging technologies, SPLAB! will host poetry videoconference events with poets around the world.

As a local nexus for culture, community and information, SPLAB! will be the site of a Community Radio Station, likely LPFM, that will develop a local journalism project that teaches students how to write for print and broadcast, how to deliver the news, and will pioneer new efforts in investigative journalism.

Funds will be provided for SPLAB! through memberships, sponsorships, grants and other means. SPLAB! will be housed as part of a bar/ restaurant complex which features free wi-fi, locally grown food (whenever possible) and featuring all healthy and some low-cost options.

SPLAB! will develop and host a conference on Pacific Rim Poetry, featuring West Coast poets from North America, as well as poets from around the Pacific Rim. This conference will be on a scale equal to the Vancouver Poetry Conference of 1963 and the Berkeley Poetry Conference of 1965.

SPLAB! will develop and host a conference on Poetry of the Americas, featuring poets from North America, Mexico, Cuba, Central and South America. This conference will be on a scale equal to the 1960 International Literary Conference at the University of Concepcion, Chile, and the 1990 Pan American Conference at the Naropa Institute in Boulder.

Once fully established and funded in Columbia City, SPLAB! will open locations in Portland, Vancouver, BC, San Francisco, Chicago, Havana, Taos and other cities.

12:30P – 9.15.09

FM Sbux

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