The Town of Chapel Hill is seeking applicants for the next Poet Laureate and local poets are encouraged to apply. In 2019, Chapel Hill Town Council appointed artist, educator, and activist CJ Suitt as the inaugural Poet Laureate. Since then, Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture staff have worked with Suitt to develop the program and create a process to select future Poets Laureate.
As an ambassador for poetry, the Poet Laureate position builds connections to the poetry community and engages in activities that enhance literary arts in Chapel Hill. CJ Suitt was appointed as the first Poet Laureate for his long-standing experience in performance poetry and his deep community connection. “CJ was a perfect fit for Chapel Hill’s inaugural Poet Laureateship. We are deeply grateful to him for sharing his passion and talent in that role. Through his participation he has helped shape the foundation for a successful program and we are eager to continue lifting up the voices of talented poets in our community.” says Mayor Hemminger on the Poet Laureateship position.
Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture is the Town department that coordinates the Poet Laureate program and staff will work closely with future Laureates to develop responsibilities and deliverables for the role. Examples of responsibilities include writing original poems and performing at key community moments, creating experiences for poetry to be shared, or participating in workshops and trainings. The Poet Laureate will be compensated $3,000 for a two-year appointment, beginning in January of next year and ending in December of 2024.
To be eligible, poets must have active projects within the last five years and have little to substantial work published. A personal or professional connection to Chapel Hill is also required. Applications are open until Thursday, September 8 and interested artists can apply with a resume and portfolio and will need to answer supplemental questions on their interest in the position.
Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture has a mission of inspiring creativity and celebrating community for a better Chapel Hill. Together with local artists and community organizations, Community Arts & Culture focuses on bringing public art and arts experiences to Chapel Hill, and planning and producing local festivals and events. Recent projects include a new Chapel Hill Transit art bus and artistic bus shelters, new music to Tracks Music Library, and planning the Festifall Arts Market this October.
To learn more about Chapel Hill’s Poet Laureate position and to apply, visit chapelhillarts.org/poetlaureate. For media inquiries, please contact Melissa Bartoletta at firstname.lastname@example.org.