Founded in 1974 (incorporated in 1975), the Loft is a haven for readers and writers; one of the largest centers of its kind of the country. Our mission is to advance the artistic development of writers, foster a thriving literary community, and inspire a passion for literature.
This work is essential. We believe that story, verse, and writing aren’t just nice things to put on a shelf, but are core to a full existence. At their best, words help us connect, entertain, mourn, provoke, educate, and empathize.
We accomplish our work by bringing essential conversations, artists, readers, and learning opportunities together under one roof, including classes, conferences, festivals, events, grants and awards, one-on-one services for writers, residencies, and community engagement.
Incorporated on August 22, 1975, the Loft started in the loft space above Marly Rusoff's bookstore. We started as a grassroots gathering space for poets and writers to share their work and improve their craft. Over the years, we have grown to become one of the nation’s leading independent literary centers. Annually, the Loft offers hundreds of classes, awards and grants for writers, readings and events, major festivals and conferences, and other resources for readers and writers.
Each year the Loft engages more than 5,000 beginning, intermediate, and advanced writers in learning opportunities, hosts more than 250 authors in readings and dialogues that draw more than 15,000 people, connects with more than 200,000 unique visitors through digital resources on our website, collaborates with at least 30 local and national organizations to enrich the literary environment and, through contracts, awards, and grants, pays writers more than $400,000.
In their evaluations, 96% of students report that their class helped them improve their writing, 96% identified their next steps as a writer, and 96% said they made progress toward their writing goals. Of Loft event attendees who completed evaluations, 96% said the event introduced them to new books or authors, 97% said the event will make them a more engaged reader, and 97% said they were inspired to have conversation with others about the book's or author dialogue topic.
The Loft is honored to have many generous funding partners, but the impact of individual members has led the Loft forward since day one. Over the years, thousands of members have affirmed that stories are essential and belong at the center of civic life. Their investment means that we can offer programs, services, and awards to readers and writers of all ages, genres, and experience levels. If you, too, wish to support and uphold the singular community for narrative arts found at the Loft, we invite you to become a member today.