Literary Arts

Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts engages writers and readers in a variety of ways!


Reading Series

The second Friday evening of each month, Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts hosts a free reading series. The 2015 Reading Series Curator is Dara Syrkin.  These readings take place at BLCA and are free to attend.

Upcoming readings feature:

August 14
Sharon Chmielarz and Ardie Medina

October 9
Britt Aamodt, Stan Kusunoki, and Sherry Roberts

November 13
Tim Nolan and Warren Woessner

December 11
Katherine Schaefer

Reading Series Curator Dara Syrkin is a writer, editor, and champion for the Twin Cities literary community. Her motto is: Writing is a team sport and she’s thrilled to play on the team at Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts. Dara is pretty sure she has “Tell me your story” written on her forehead. Much of her poetry tries to record those freely given jewels—and the awe she has for seeds and blue highways. Dara thanks her lucky stars for living among a community of artists who fill her ears and heart with good words. And she promises attendees of the Banfill-Locke Reading Series will be thanking their stars too.

If you are interested in being considered as a reader at this series, please email

Practice Writing Group

Each Tuesday, from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, a group of writers come together at Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts for a facilitated time to exercise the act of writing. Prompts are provided; this format is perfect for any type of writer and any ability. New in 2014 Practice Writing is offered on the second Thursday evening of the month from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. All sessions are free to attend and participate. No sign up needed; just stop on by.


The 2015 Writer in Residence is Katherine Schaefer.  Her writing has been published in The Talking Stick, Minnetonka Review, and Digit, and she has received grants and awards from the Minnesota State Arts Board, Key West Literary Seminar, and Brainerd Writers’ Alliance, among others. Her short story “Auction” was a finalist for the Salem College International Literary Awards and a 2013 Pushcart Prize nominee. She is a four-time recipient of writing residencies at Ragdale in Lake Forest, IL, as well as attending residencies at Norcroft: A Writing Retreat for Women and the Lanesboro Art Center, where she conducted a memoir-writing workshop for community members. A graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (BFA) and the University of Minnesota (MA), Katherine has worked as a seamstress, artist, art historian, and college instructor while pursuing her writing. She lives in south Minneapolis with her husband, sculptor Norman Andersen, their two cats, and ten thousand real paper books, give or take a few. She is currently writing a series of personal essays and revising a memoir.

In addition to a stipend, Katherine has space in the Banfill building to work on her own writing and projects. She also facilitates the NorthWords Writers group for the year.

NorthWords Writers

The NorthWords Writers meet together monthly to critique each other’s work.  The meetings are facilitated by Katherine Schaefer, the Writer-in-Residence.  NorthWords meets on the fourth Friday of the month from 10 am to 12 pm.  Interested writers can attend the group once at no cost, but after the initial visit there is a $50 annual fee in addition to regular membership with BLCA.  Questions about the fee or the group can be addressed to