• Address 720 East Locust Street | Milwaukee, WI 53212
  • Phone 414.263.5001
  • Hours Tue-Fri 11-8pm | Sat-Sun 12-5pm | Closed Mon
  • Hours Tue-Fri 11-8pm, Sat-Sun 12-5pm, Closed Mon
Event Calendar
readings & workshops
April 4

Virtual Poetry Reading: Mónica de la Torre + José Felipe Alvergue

readings & workshops
April 4

Virtual Workshop with Mónica de la Torre

readings & workshops
April 10

Virtual Poetry Reading: Marilyn Chin

film & video
April 17

Virtual Film Screening: The Collection

readings & workshops
April 19 - May 10

Intergenerational Self-Collaboration: A Multi-Arts Workshop with Paul McComas

readings & workshops
April 24

Virtual Poetry Reading: Krystal Languell + Jennifer Nelson + Ae Hee Lee

film & video
April 25

Virtual Film Screening: Immortal Cupboard: In Search of Lorine Niedecker 

readings & workshops
April 29

Virtual Poetry Reading: Raquel Salas Rivera + Lara Mimosa Montes

Youth Literary Arts program

For 25 years the Youth Literary Arts Program has worked with Milwaukee Public Schools, the Community Development Grants Administration, and youth-enrichment organizations like UWM Talent Search to bring multi-arts education to students who may not otherwise have access to it. Our strong network of artists and writers, developed over the years, enables us to offer a variety of courses and experiences with a strong focus in the literary arts year-round to community youth, both at Woodland Pattern and in nearby schools.

The YLAP provides humanities, arts, and literature programming to hundreds of MPS students, who also visit Woodland Pattern to engage with art exhibits, with the books at the center, and with visiting writers and artists. In a series of themed projects that build upon one another, students read and discuss literature and create writing and artwork pertaining to multiple topics in the humanities exploring identity, heritage, and culture. The YLAP currently serves Riverwest Elementary School and Hopkins Lloyd Community School students during Community Learning Center hours, and is planning to expand programming to La Escuela Fratney in the coming year.

The YLAP also hosts two inter-arts summer Poetry Camps. Camps include meals, workshops, guest artists, field trips, and a student-led community poetry reading. Approximately 60 students participate over the course of both weeks. 

In 2018, Woodland Pattern's YLAP expanded with the initiation of the Milwaukee Queer Writing Project, a series of bi-weekly after-school writing workshops for queer high school youth led by local queer-identifying writing teachers. Students write poetry and prose, read/perform their work, and have opportunities to engage with Woodland Pattern-hosted visiting writers, especially queer writers of color. The program takes place in the fall and spring semesters, with each semester culminating in a keystone reading at Woodland Pattern. 

And in 2019, Woodland Pattern is coordinating a youth poetry hour at the Poetry FEST in the Park, to be held on July 20th at 1 pm in Juneau Park. The hour will feature students from the YLAP.

More information about our programs can be found below.


EXCITING NEWS! We received funding to hire a paid high-school student intern for our Summer Youth Poetry Camps and our Community Learning Center after-school programs with partner schools. Poetry Camps are held during the last two weeks of June, and interns would be paid for training for that work as well as for some extra hours of help at the CLC programs. The intern must be a City of Milwaukee resident or an MPS student. Visit mkerec.net/artsinterns for the full application, guidelines, and position description from the city, and email our Education Director Alexa Nutile at alexan@woodlandpattern.org for more details from us.

Inter-Arts Poetry Camp

Registration for Woodland Pattern's Poetry Camp is now open!

June 24th–28th, 8:30am–3:30pm. 

Camp includes breakfast, lunch, workshops, and field trips each day!

(open for students in grades 6–12)

Download these forms for more information. 

2019 Poetry Camp Welcome Letter

2019 Poetry Camp Registration Form

Woodland Pattern's Poetry Camp is a FREE five-day inter-arts camp serving youth entering grades 6–12. Poetry camp is June 24–28 from 8:30 am–3:30 pm. Each day includes breakfast, two hours of focused writing, workshop with a guest artist, lunch, and a field trip.

Encouraged to think critically, students respectfully engage with one another's ideas by creating collaborative poems and critiquing each other’s writing. Writing teachers, who are also working artists, present poetry from a wide range of literary traditions and cultural and artistic backgrounds by facilitating discussion to identify techniques, aesthetic choices, and structural components, thus employing active learning techniques. Instructors focus on each student's work with attention to language skills and artistic intent. As students learn clear criteria for evaluating writing, they strengthen communication skills and are inspired to work with language.

Guest artist workshops activate connections between writing and other arts. For example, in a drum circle, students learn how rhythms work together, how words carry rhythm and how rhythm affects writing. Each day also includes a visit to a community organization, such as the Milwaukee Art Museum or Lynden Sculpture Garden. Notebooks in hand, students investigate the environment, write, and share their writing. Often, these field trips include hands-on learning experiences, such as screen-printing poetry written in class on t-shirts at Split Fountain Press.

On the last day of camp, families and friends come to Woodland Pattern to hear the youth read their writing. Students challenge their verbal skills, using their newly acquired performance tools to build self-confidence. Students receive a group anthology, an audio recording of their writing, and books from the Woodland Pattern bookstore to build their home libraries so they can continue building creativity and language skills year-round.
Woodland Pattern is thankful to the MPS Partnership for the Arts and Humanities for providing support for Poetry Camp, as well as to our many individual donors.
Woodland Pattern also offers a week of Poetry Camp in partnership with the UWM Talent Search program, which supports local youth in grades 6–12. This week of Poetry Camp is limited to Talent Search students, and is generously funded by the Department of Public Instruction and individual donors. 

After-School and Summer Community Learning Center Hours

Both after school and summer Community Learning Center hours consist of themed projects lasting 4-8 weeks. Students engage in hands-on literary activities to empower and develop their communication and critical thinking skills. Using literature to explore identity and a variety of humanistic ideals, students critically examine the world around them.

The program is designed to be versatile, intriguing, fun and educational. Projects include workshops such as:

  • I Write My Life: Illustrated Memoirs;
  • Animals, Bodies, and Movement: Exploring Poetic Forms; 
  • Food, Culture, and Edible Books;
  • Storytelling Through Song; and
  • Objects and Artifacts: History and Culture Through the Arts.

Our programming seeks to intentionally strengthen inter-student and student-to-staff relationships as well as help students better express themselves through writing, performance, and the inter-disciplinary arts. 

Students also have the opportunity to visit Woodland Pattern during their units of study to respond in writing to art exhibits, interact with visiting writers and artists during specially designed lessons, and browse forty years' worth of unique small-press books in our one-of-a-kind literary collection. 

Community Learning Center staff, guest artists, teachers, Woodland Pattern staff and students all complete the same activities and share together to develop relationships and build a sense of community.

for More information

If you have any questions, please contact Alexa, our Education Director, at alexan@woodlandpattern.org or 414.263.5001.