2018 California Poetry Out Loud State Finals to Be Held March 18 and 19 in Sacramento

The 2017 Poetry Out Loud state finalists in the Senate Chambers at the California State Capitol.

SACRAMENTO, CA – High-school students from 46 counties across the state will gather in Sacramento on March 18 and 19 to make their voices heard. The county champions will compete in a statewide recitation contest at the 13th annual California Poetry Out Loud State Finals.

An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, administered statewide by the California Arts Council, Poetry Out Loud encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. California’s Poetry Out Loud is the largest event of its kind in the U.S., and has grown steadily since its inception. This year’s competition series encompasses 46 counties, 261 schools, and 783 teachers, reaching nearly 73,000 students statewide.

The first round of the state finals is scheduled to take place at 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 18, at the Crest Theatre. Round two of the event begins Monday, March 19, at 8 a.m., in the Assembly Chambers at the state Capitol. Selected students compete in a third and final round the same morning.

The winner of California Poetry Out Loud will move on to represent the Golden State in the national finals, April 23-25 in Washington, D.C.

The event taking place Monday, March 19 in the Assembly Chambers will also feature a presentation from special guest Dana Gioia: California Poet Laureate, former National Endowment for the Arts Chair, and Poetry Out Loud founder.

“California Poetry Out Loud is an exciting display of the potential of our state’s young people, the power of spoken word, and how wonderfully the project builds agency in our youth,” said Anne Bown-Crawford, Director of the California Arts Council. “It is rewarding to see confidence and creativity ignite so powerfully in each of our county champions. The program is truly a testament to arts education as a categorical imperative for the future successes of both our students and our state.”

All events are open to the public; space may be limited. Event details for the 2018 California Poetry Out Loud State Finals can be found at the California Arts Council’s Poetry Out Loud webpage. A list of all of the state finalists, their high schools, and counties can also be found here.

Participating Counties
Finalists from the following counties are expected to compete in at the 2018 California Poetry Out Loud State Finals: Alameda, Amador, Butte, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno, Humboldt, Inyo, Kern, Lake, Lassen, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Placer, Plumas, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tulare, Tuolumne, Ventura, Yolo, and Yuba.

About Poetry Out Loud
The California Poetry Out Loud State Finals is the culminating competition between county winners who have shown their merit in the classroom, school, district, and county (a pyramid competition structure similar to the spelling bee). The California Poetry Out Loud champion will win $200 and a trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the national Poetry Out Loud finals in April, paid for by the National Endowment from the Arts. The winner’s school will also receive $500 for library materials. The State Finals runner-up will receive a $100 prize, with $200 awarded to their school for book purchasing. Competing at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals presents the opportunity for approximately $50,000 in scholarship funds and related winnings.

Live Webcast
Monday’s competition will be webcast live by Assembly TV at the following link: http://www.calchannel.com/live-webcast.

Additional past photos available upon request. Contact Kimberly Brown at kimberly.brown@arts.ca.gov. A photo release including images of the State Champion and finalists will be issued the afternoon of March 19, 2018.

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The mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. The Council is committed to building public will and resources for the arts; fostering accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California’s diverse populations; serving as a thought leader and champion for the arts; and providing effective and relevant programs and services.

Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Nashormeh Lindo, Vice Chair Larry Baza, Phoebe Beasley, Christopher Coppola, Juan Devis, Kathleen Gallegos, Jaime Galli, Donn K. Harris, Louise McGuinness, Steven Oliver, and Rosalind Wyman. Learn more at www.arts.ca.gov.

Kimberly Brown

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