Poetry Out Loud Inspires Youth Through the Power of Poetry

Regional competition to take place at SteelStacks; winners will compete in state finals in March.

BETHLEHEM, PA, January 30, 2024 — ArtsQuest is excited to announce that it will once again host the Poetry Out Loud regional competition, a national recitation contest that includes 4,500 high schools across the country and 112 high schools in Pennsylvania. Partnering with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Northampton, Lehigh, Carbon and Monroe counties students will compete for the prestigious title of Pennsylvania’s Poetry Out Loud champion.

The event will take place on Wednesday, January 31, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in the Fowler Blast Furnace Room. Competitors memorize three poems to recite in front of a live audience and a panel of judges made up of community members, teaching artists, facilitators and performers who are all dedicated to supporting youth programs and performing arts.

Poetry Out Loud is a free, national program offered to every high school student including Pennsylvania. The initiative encourages students to immerse themselves in the world of great poetry, fostering a deeper appreciation for literature and honing essential skills such as memorization, public speaking, active listening and language proficiency. The contest has become a staple in high schools, enriching the curriculum and giving students a unique opportunity to express themselves creatively.

“Last year, we held our competition in-person for the first time since our partnership began in 2020-2021. We are ecstatic to be hosting again in person with an amazing line-up of students,” said Joanne Garcia, Education Coordinator/AIE-PA Council on the Arts Program Coordinator.  “This free event highlights the art of poetry and the importance of collaboration. We are thankful for our teacher coordinators, judges composed of community members and the students’ friends and families that come out to support our youth.”

The regional competition winner will compete in the Poetry Out Loud state competition in March 2024. For more information, visit

Media are encouraged to attend for interviews with competing students, judges and representatives from ArtsQuest.

About ArtsQuest
ArtsQuest’s mission is to provide access to exceptional artistic, cultural and educational experiences using arts and culture as key elements of economic development for our urban communities. ArtsQuest™ supports this mission via the presentation of performing and visual arts, film, arts education classes and outreach, youth programming and cultural events. Through festivals such as its flagship event, Musikfest; the Banana Factory Arts Center; and the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks arts and cultural campus, ArtsQuest’s programming reaches more than 1.9 million people annually. The organization’s programs and events, over 50% of which are free to attend, have a combined economic impact of more than $136 million annually in the region.