Founded by Anne Kingsbury and Karl Gartung in 1979, Woodland Pattern is a non-profit book center, education forum, gallery, and performance space located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin's Riverwest neighborhood. A cornerstone of our community, Woodland Pattern provides people a space to gather, study, perform, exchange ideas, and build relationships across racial, generational, and other perceived barriers.
For nearly forty years, Woodland Pattern has presented internationally celebrated artists alongside performances by local and regional writers, artists, and musicians. Woodland Pattern also delivers year-round literary arts education to all age groups, and the book center holds a carefully curated and nationally recognized collection of over 25,000 titles of poetry, small press literature, and literary ephemera, including broadsides, chapbooks, and zines—often published in conjunction with our programs and spanning nearly four decades. Our Native American section is the largest in Wisconsin, and our selection of small-press poetry is the largest of its kind in the country. While books from the center may be purchased, our space also serves as a neighborhood reading room, and we encourage people to browse and study at their leisure.
The name Woodland Pattern was chosen from a passage in poet Paul Metcalf's Apalache: "South of Lake Superior, a culture center, the Woodland Pattern, with pottery but without agriculture..." Thanks to the hard work and sustained effort of volunteers, Woodland Pattern became a nationally recognized cultural hub, and the staff (we are paid now!) is still working hard to uphold this vitality.
We are a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization.