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Woodland Pattern Book Center

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Services, Printing & Publishing

Mission: Woodland Pattern Book Center is dedicated to the discovery, cultivation, and presentation of contemporary literature and the arts. Our goals are to promote a lifetime practice of reading and writing, to provide a forum and resource center for writers/artists in our region, and to increase and diversify the audience for contemporary literature through innovative approaches to multi-arts programming. Woodland Pattern is the only arts organization in Milwaukee, Wisconsin presenting contemporary literature to the general public on a continuous basis.

Geographic areas served: City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Waukesha County, Riverwest Neighborhood (Milwaukee)

Programs: Urban Youth Literary Arts Program, providing free after-school arts programming to students in Milwaukee Public Schools and free summer arts camps that include field trips that expose students to the cultural and artistic breadth of their city. Native Arts Series, celebrating tradition and innovation among Native American writers. Visiting Writers Series, which brings in the brightest minds in contemporary poetry to give readings and/or presentations and teach masters classes for all ages. Small Press Focus, which allows the Milwaukee community to engage with cutting edge contemporary publishers in an intimate setting. Alternative Currents Live, in conjunction with WMSE (91.7 FM, Milwaukee), features avant-garde musicians from across the U.S. and the world; events are recorded and played in their entirety on WMSE the following week. Annual Poetry Marathon, last Saturday of January, 14 consecutive hours of readings by local and regional writers on the last Saturday of January. Annual Music Marathon, nine consecutive hours of music from local and regional musical talents. Annual Edible Books Show, community members turn their unique sense of the literary into something edible to share with the audience; awards are given in several categories. Experimental Film & Video Series, presented with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Department of Film Studies. Redletter Reading Series, providing a spotlight for burgeoning regional writers and an open mic for dedicated local writers. An art gallery that features the work of artists from across the world, with a special focus on book artists. A book store that features one of the largest inventories of small presses, contemporary poetry, and Native American literature in the world.

Community Stories

5 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Woodland Pattern has the best selection of literature, including poetry, fiction, and chapbooks in the Midwest. It is also a unique performance space that brings musicians, writers, and artists from all over the world to this special place. I have attended many music performances, readings, and other events there, and am always in awe that such a place exists in Milwaukee and has thrived for so many years.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Woodland Pattern is a rich resource for its neighborhood and surrounding community. I am especially impressed with the support for the poetry community and small book publishers. Walk in the front door and you will be lost in one of the richest literary collections in the Midwest. In my view the programming in the art gallery, classes, and readings create connections you would never think of. I am inspired every time I visit. Standing in front of the old fashioned wooden drawers filled with chap books captures a different kind of interaction with the humanities.
My wish for Woodland Pattern is a "significant-this-year-benefactor" that will help this literary treasure continue to make a difference for so many.

Kyane H.

Client Served

Rating: 5

A rare, one of a kind community resource where one can find books, art, performances, and classes. In the past twenty years I've found essential books you dont' find anywhere else, attended the most amazing workshops with authentic writers and us poet laurettes such as ted kooser, as well as joy harjo, carolyn forche, arthur sze...It riveled my Grad School Education and provided resources, discussion, diversity, and the best of the best of everything. I was pleased to teach workshops to neighborhood kids on finding their voice and speaking strong, as well as presenting a screenplay workshop for adults. The owners of the store created such an incredible place for us, we must keep this store growing for it means so much to so many!

Hal R.


Rating: 5

I've had the honor of curating Woodland Pattern's music programing for the past 17 years. Their embrace of all forms of artistic expression - writing, film, music, painting and drawing - is exemplary. Day by day, Woodland Pattern demonstrates that a commitment to local arts requires an eye and ear on artistic expression worldwide. Woodland Pattern brings the local arts community to the world and the world to our shared community in Midwest. - Hal Rammel


General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Woodland Pattern is a fixture of the Riverwest Neighborhood in MIlwaukee, WI. Beyond being the biggest collection of zines/small press in the country (world?), they also host community events like the info session I attended for Solar Riverwest, which is a neighborhood group-purchasing program for Solar.