The Loft's COVID-19 Plan

In response to public health concerns around COVID-19, the Loft is cancelling or transitioning most activities to virtual/online spaces starting Monday, March 16, 2020 until at least May 31, 2020.

What does this mean for Wordplay? 

The Loft has been dedicated to innovative community-building from the start. In the interest of keeping our communities healthy this May, we're shifting the Loft's 2020 Wordplay festival to a virtual celebration of books.

Even as public health concerns around COVID-19 keep us from gathering in-person this season, we still believe in taking the time to celebrate story and verse. We understand that a festival like ours is both a celebration and a career necessity for the artists who come here to share their work, and we remain committed to celebrating our Wordplay 2020 authors, even if the party looks a little different this year. As many public events, including several literary festivals around the country, have been cancelled or postponed this spring, we want to focus not on what we can’t do anymore, but on what we could do instead.

You can expect the same engaging conversations, learning opportunities, and connections with writers that you found at Wordplay 2019 — but this year, you can join us from wherever you are. Wordplay goes multimedia this year, collaborating with our literary community to bring you live video conversations, podcasts, visual arts, author Q&As, playlists, social media takeovers, and other creative content. We’ll be sharing these opportunities online throughout April and May, so you can celebrate books with us all season long.

We’re excited to announce that several other major book festivals have signed on to support us in various ways to help produce Wordplay 2020, including Wisconsin Book Festival, Boston Book Festival, South Dakota Festival of Books, Southern Festival of Books, Charleston to Charleston Literary Festival, Texas Book Festival, the Decatur Book Festival, the Bronx Book Festival, Portland Book Festival, Virginia Festival of the Book, Bay Area Book Festival, and the list is growing. It’ll be like a virtual festival of festivals!

We’re also thrilled to work with Red Balloon Bookshop, Magers & Quinn Booksellers, Bookshop.org, Moon Palace Books, and Milkweed Books as festival booksellers.

Through this difficult decision, we’re beyond grateful to have the continued visionary support of our founding presenting sponsors, St. Catherine University and Star Tribune. There’s no cost to participate in Wordplay 2020, though we encourage donations to support the continued success of the festival.

Please stay tuned and help us spread the word. More details are coming soon as we work to shape Wordplay 2020 into a powerful, fun, and safe experience that unites our community near and far.

What does this mean for in-person classes? 

All adult in-person classes taking place on or after March 16, 2020 through May 31, 2020 will move to virtual spaces using Google Meet. There will be clear instructions sent to each class participant, and in addition to a Loft teaching artist, each class will be assigned a Loft staff member to help with questions or issues arising with transitioning these classes to this space. It is also likely that classes will develop their own email listservs, but that will be up to the teaching artist's discretion.

All spring youth classes taking place between March 16 and May 31 are cancelled.

No classes will take place in Loft physical spaces March 16 through May 31. We still intend to hold summer classes, including our summer youth classes, but we will continue to assess this situation as the spring progresses.

Single session classes taking place this Saturday, March 14 are still taking place at Open Book with the exception of Kao Kalia Yang’s Leaving Home: A Class for Writers of Color and Indigenous Writers and Nicole Helget’s Writing from the Rabbit Hole: Researched Creative Nonfiction. If you are a member of one of these two classes, you will receive a separate email with instructions shortly.  

What does this mean for online classes? 

Existing online classes will continue as planned.

What does this mean for program participants? 

If you are a grant recipient in the Mentor Series or Mirrors and Windows, you will be hearing soon from Loft staff about next steps. The Jerome Artist info session on March 17 is cancelled.

What does this mean for upcoming events? 

We are reaching out to each author participating in upcoming spring events. In the next few days we will announce whether those events are carrying forward, rescheduling, or shifting to virtual space.

What does this mean for studio users? 

If you are a studio user at the Loft, you are still welcome to use your space. We ask that everyone wipe desktops, door handles, and chairs with disinfectant wipes as you enter and leave the studios. 

What does this mean for the Book Club Room? 

The Book Club Room is now closed to the public.

What does this mean for open groups? 

All open groups scheduled at Open Book between March 16 and May 31 are postponed.

Next steps

We do not make this decision lightly. This is a monumental financial decision for the Loft, but we believe the safety of our constituents, staff, and teaching artists is most important, and we ask for your patience, participation, and ideas. Our intention is to work with you through this crisis step-by-step. We'll be figuring things out together, but we think we can do it and make it as positive an experience as possible in less than ideal conditions. If you have questions, please contact us at 612-215-2575 or 612-379-8999 or contact us at loft@loft.org.

If you’d like to become a member or renew your support, we need your membership now more than ever.