The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with State and Local Arts Agencies of the United States to support the expansion of Poetry Out Loud, which encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. This exciting program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.
After successful pilot programs in Washington, DC, and Chicago, the second phase of Poetry Out Loud was launched in high schools across America in the spring of 2006 with tens of thousands of students participating. Last year, over 300,000 students competed.
The Springfield Regional Arts Council coordinates the Southwest regional competition annually at The Creamery Arts Center.