Literary Events

December to March

Wednesdays: 7 - 9 pm

Now Virtual!

writers read from & discuss their work

Writers in residence will read from and discuss their work Wednesday evenings from December 2020 to March 2021. It’s the perfect mid-week pause to reconnect with meaningful language.

Winter Writers Reading Series events are held Wednesdays, from 7-9 p.m. via Zoom. This is a rare opportunity to engage award-winning authors in small group conversation. Don’t miss out!

2020-2021 Schedule

We are delighted to announce a nearly full schedule as follows:

December 9: Matt Blessing

January 16: David Southward

January 6: Krista Eastman

February 10: Kimberly Blaeser

February 24: Jacquelyn Thomas

March 3: Susan Martell Huebner

March 10: William Stobb

March 17: Thomas Davis

March 24: Dean Robbins

Other writers and/or open mic nights or special events may be scheduled on open Wednesdays during the Winter Writers Reading Series. Check here, follow us on Facebook, or better yet, sign up for the Shake Rag Alley News below and we’ll send you monthly updates!

Our Winter Writers Reading Series Partners

September to November

Now Virtual!

coming together to share a good book

Together with the Mineral Point Public Library and Mineral Point School District libraries, Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts invites the public to come together during the rescheduled NEA Big Read of “Citizen: An American Lyric” beginning Sept. 24 and running through November.

Originally scheduled for April, a month of activities had been planned around Claudia Rankine’s award-winning innovative work of poetry, prose, and art that addresses the individual and collective effects of racism. But when the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the statewide shutdown this spring, the NEA Big Read was put on hold and a program of free and largely virtual events is being developed for this fall.

“When our NEA Big Read Committee chose ‘Citizen’ from among more than 30 books for its use of poetry and art to explore the impact words have on concepts of identity and inclusion, we could not have anticipated the nationwide protests against systemic racism touched off this summer by George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis,” said Shake Rag Alley Executive Director Sara Lomasz Flesch. “Claudia Rankine’s book remains as relevant as when it was first published in 2014 and turned a spotlight on the microaggressions that compound the trauma of racism.”

In preparation for the NEA Big Read, free copies of “Citizen” are available to program participants. Copies are available now at the Mineral Point Public Library and at Shake Rag Alley. Additional resources are available on the NEA Big Read page, including reading guides, video lectures and audio recordings of the Virtual Community Conversation series on systemic racism hosted in June-August.

September to November events are mostly virtual and include:

•  Virtual Kick-off Event

•  Guest Talk: Writing About Race

•  Guest Talk: James Baldwin in Paris

•  Book Discussions

•  Women’s Art Parties

• Panel Discussion: Citizen Author and the American Story

•  Youth make-and-take art kits

•  Additional Virtual Community Conversations as they develop

For more information and to register for NEA Big Read events, use the button below, visit our catalog of free events, send an email, or call (608)987-3292.

September 25-27

Friday - Sunday

Now Virtual!

write alongside other writers

Join us for the fourth annual Writing Retreat at Shake Rag Alley, open to writers of all levels. Enrich your talent and prospects in this charming art community and old mining town. Choose one of three genres taught by either Patricia Ann McNair (Memoir and Personal Essay; Retreat Artistic Director), Christine Rice (Short Story), or Shawn Shiflett (The New Novel) for an in-depth workshop that will challenge you across the three days. These workshop directors are award-winning published authors and active, experienced teachers of writing.

Interwoven around these main workshops will be optional and inspiring creative activities, including talks on Writing About Race with Eric May, and Baldwin in Paris with Philip Hartigan, a panel discussion on Alternatives in Publishing, a Faculty and Local Author Reading, Open Mics, and a craft talk on narrative distance with Sarah Hammond that will make for a retreat jam-packed with opportunities to learn, share, network and write.

Manuscript consultations are available with instructors on a first sign up, first served basis, at a very affordable price.

We are pleased to work in partnership with Hypertext Magazine & Studio, a social justice writing nonprofit organization. 

Second Saturday

2 – 4 pm

Now Virtual!

workshop poems & deepen your craft

Driftless Poets meet on the second Saturday of each month at 2 pm either virtually via Zoom or on the Shake Rag Alley campus.

New poets are always welcome, but only those who have submitted work one week prior to the workshop will receive feedback and critique. Poets take turns leading the workshops by sharing a poem that demonstrates a form or craft technique and monitoring time.

What to Expect

In a writing workshop, a group of people engage in intensive discussion during a time set aside to focus on and improve one’s craft. Driftless Poets meet monthly to learn from one another by listening carefully to feedback on work submitted to the group.

How to Participate

The Driftless Poets workshops are free and no registration is required, but an email RSVP is appreciated.

For more information: (608) 987-3292.

Readings & Resources

Creative Writing Library

Several shelves of writing related books are available in the Art Cafe. Most are available for circulation, and include:

  • literary & small press journals
  • poetry, fiction &  nonfiction anthologies
  • craft & marketing guides

Meeting outdoors for social distancing.

Hold Your Own Events at Shake Rag Alley

Choose your favorite historical building, the spacious Lind Pavilion, lush gardens & outdoor spaces, Alley Stage, or the entire campus!

Campus Map: Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts

Coach House
18 Shake Rag Street

1 of 32

Art Café

2 of 32

Ellery House

3 of 32


4 of 32
restrooms 5 of 32

Open Air Parking

6 of 32

Lind Pavilion Parking

7 of 32
Roadside Parking
allowed on Commerce Street 8 of 32

Smejas’ Studio parking

9 of 32

Smejas’ Studio
30 Doty Street

10 of 32
Curbside Parking
as indicated 11 of 32

Accessible Parking
with curb cut

12 of 32

Alley Stage

13 of 32

Cabinet Shop

14 of 32

French Cabin

15 of 32

1830 Log Cabin

16 of 32

Potter’s House

17 of 32

Blacksmith Barn

18 of 32

Federal Spring

19 of 32

Monarch Garden

20 of 32

Lind Pavilion
411 Commerce Street

21 of 32

two blocks to

High Street & Commerce Street
Restaurants, Shops & Galleries

22 of 32
To Grocery Store
Point Foods
622 Dodge Street 23 of 32

Street Parking with Additional Parking behind Smejas’ Studio

24 of 32
The Green
open air park 25 of 32
Stair Steps
Cabinet Shop & Lind Pavilion 26 of 32
Stair Steps
to Alley Stage 27 of 32
Stone Bridge
Federal Spring 28 of 32

Roland’s Loft

223 Commerce St.

29 of 32

The Tuckpoint

223 Commerce St.

30 of 32

The Sardeson Pottery Studio

225 Commerce St.

31 of 32

Weaving & Fiber Arts Studio

Cannery Row Arts Incubator
121 Water St.

32 of 32

ADA compliant buildings: Lind Pavilion, Coach House, Smejas’ Studio