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Ridgelines Language Arts_art by Alyssa R

Founded as a 501c3 nonprofit in 2017, Ridgelines Language Arts provides expert language arts instruction to those who are underserved in the rural ridges and valleys of central Pennsylvania. We teach language arts—from poetry and storytelling to songwriting and journaling—in settings outside of academic institutions, including our area’s domestic violence shelter, low-income nursing home, youth detention center, state women’s prison, queer & trans youth groups, & more.

 

Ridgelines Language Arts programs offer participants, many of whom are impacted by stigma and injustice, with ways to explore their voices and their stories, exercise their creativity, and advocate for personal wellbeing and social change. We offer these programs because we believe that healthy individuals and just social conditions are sustained by the reflection, honesty, pleasure, and intimacy fostered by the study of language arts. 

 

Our work is four-fold:

community members write poetry together through Ridgelines Language Arts

We provide expert language arts instruction to those who are impacted by stigma and injustice in our region. We teach language arts—from poetry and creative writing to songwriting, civic writing and speaking, and storytelling—in settings outside of academic institutions. Our programs take place (or will take place!) in low-income nursing homes, prisons, youth shelters, immigrant and refugee communities, LGBTQA centers, veteran’s centers, and more.

nursing home residents write poetry in central PA

We create ways for our program participants to share their work through readings, performances, and other community events. We also occasionally host open writing workshops and fundraiser readings to benefit our core programs, and we partner with other organizations in our region to create informal ways for people from all walks of life to enjoy diverse language arts. 

poetry by low-income older adults in central PA

We design and publish broadsides, chapbooks, and zines that feature the work of our program participants. We share our publications through local libraries, coffee shops, community centers, living rooms, stores, museums, and other gathering spaces.
 

poetry recording booth for national poetry month in central PA

We bring the stories, poems, songs, and voices of our program participants to the central PA listening region and beyond through our podcast series, Use Your Words!
 

"As they become known and accepted to ourselves, our feelings, and the honest exploration of them, become sanctuaries and fortresses and spawning grounds for the most radical and daring of ideas, the house of difference so necessary to change and the conceptualization of any meaningful action." 

--Audre Lorde, "Poetry is Not a Luxury"

UPCOMING EVENTS

"A Poem in Our Eyes"

exhibition at Huntingdon County Library

January - March 2024

Drop in to Huntingdon County Library throughout the spring to enjoy poems written by residents of Centre Care Nursing Home’s memory care unit in response to visual artworks. Both the poems and the artworks will be on display, forming an exhibition that sets verbal and visual art in conversation, honors the imaginations of those living with memory loss, and challenges conventional notions of disability.

NEWS

2022 Community Poem Broadside incorporates contributions

from 85 different central Pennsylvanians!

Read it below and find it in public spaces throughout Centre County

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Being Heard poems win first prizes at Grange Fair

We’re very happy to announce that our Being Heard creative writing group won first prize for both of the poems they entered in the Grange Fair senior crafts competition last summer! These entries were a true group effort, with poems written collaboratively by Being Heard members and then illustrated by other talented residents at Centre Care. Pictured above is proud Being Heard teaching artist Abby Minor visiting the prize-winning poems at the Fair.

Both of the Grange Fair prize-winning poems are included in the spring 2022 Being Heard booklet, which you can get a copy of by simply sending us a note with your mailing address and, if you’re not yet a 2022 donor, by making a donation of any amount.

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Ridgelines is supported in 2023 by a $10,000 Challenge America award from the National Endowment for the Arts!

 

To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.

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Thanks to our community business sponsors​

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