AWP: How to Start a Literary Center
AWP Panels 2011 in Washington, D.C.
Prepared by CityLit Project www.CityLitProject.org
How to start a literary center and thrive through the decades.
(Jocelyn Hale, Andromeda Romano-Lax, Gregg Wilhelm, Eve Bradbury, Sue Joerger)
Friday Feb 4 @ 10:30 – 11:45
Virginia B Room (Marriott Wardman Park, Lobby Level)
-- Who are the writers in your midst?
-- Who is the audience you want to serve (avoid being too insular)?
-- Are you being diverse enough in terms of genre and ethnicity?
-- Network (with artists, media, possible venues, sources of in-kind support).
-- What other organizations can you partner with (other literary initiatives, other artistic initiatives, other types of entities altogether)?
-- In-Kind collaboration can cover venue/rental, publicity, catering, all sorts of costs.
Human resources (interns, volunteers).
CONTENT AND COMPETITION
-- What exactly are you doing, is it “good,” and how is it unique?
-- Price point(s) for your audience given your community.
-- What’s your competition (not limited to other readings, but other cultural events, major “black tie” events or fundraisers happening during the season, etc.)?
-- Are your programs of a consistent quality?
-- Consistency* touches on every aspect of your organization so that center’s reputation can be built to the point where the brand itself carries weight, is recognizable in the marketplace, grabs the attention of media, encourages volunteers to get involved, and eventually (hopefully!) becomes top-of-mind (at least rings a bell for) funders.
* That’s not to say there isn’t plenty of hit-and-miss, trial-and-error involved.
-- What sort of organization are you?
-- Consider your mission, programs, budget, governance, development.
-- Are you truly a separate, unique organization or can your programs be conducted under the umbrella of another organization that also serves as fiduciary agent?
-- Strategic planning.
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