Elk River Arts & Lectures hosts a spring and fall series each year featuring authors, speakers, artists and other professionals who work in the classroom with local students and give free public lectures. Click the links below for upcoming and past series.
This Season’s Lectures
April 4, 2024
Mona Susan Power
Debra Magpie Earling called Power’s A Council of Dolls “resplendent and deeply compelling—a mighty, dazzling whirlwind of powerful storytelling.”
April 22, 2024
White’s 60 Days to a Greener Life: East Eco-Anxiety Through Joyful Daily Action provides valuable insights and easy-to-apply ways you can live a more eco-friendly, joyful life. This special Earth Day event is hosted in partnership with the Park High Green Initiative, with Green Initiative members moderating the discussion.
May 16, 2024
Flores’s latest book, Wild New World, is the winner of the 2023 Rachel Carson Award. This event is presented by the Yellowstone Gateway Museum Foundation in association with a number of local organizations (including ERAL).
About Elk River’s
Each school year, our lecture series hosts four to six writers, artists, and innovative thinkers who might not otherwise come to Park County. These presenters spend time working with students at Park High School, then give free public lectures. Over the past ten years, we have hosted dozens of lecturers of both regional and national prominence, representing a broad range of genres, including poets, novelists, science writers, memoirists, journalists, visual artists, and historians.
We have brought in people like Pulitzer-winning novelist Richard Powers, who talked with Park High students about
writing before giving an evening lecture ruminating on climate change; historian Megan Kate Nelson, whose most recent book examines the complex context that led to the founding of Yellowstone National Park; and Clemson University professor Drew Lanham, an African-American ornithologist who writes about the relationship between race and conservation, and who connected with students over their shared love for hunting.
Our goal is to enrich the lives of Park County students and residents with educational, entertaining and edifying opportunities. We offer exciting programs to open our community to new voices and ideas, while we showcase the talent our home ground has nurtured.
“I’m grateful and honored to have read for Elk River Arts and Lecture series. There is a rich collective of artists in Livingston and I enjoyed being in such a unique and special place. From the natural beauty of Montana’s landscape and wildlife to the pleasant company of poets and writers, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. Not only did I get to celebrate winning the PEN/Hemingway Award with a generous crowd of book enthusiasts, but I also had the pleasure of being uplifted by a community strong in its literary traditions.”
—March 2023 Lecture Series guest, novelist Oscar Hokeah
“I have rarely enjoyed doing a public event more than I enjoyed reading for Elk River Arts and Lectures. Livingston supplied a circle of fascinating and accomplished artists, a keen and appreciative audience, and oh — that view! Something very special is going on just north of Yellowstone, and I was grateful for the chance to experience it.”
—April 2022 Lecture Series guest, Pulitzer-winning novelist Richard Powers
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity in Livingston you presented me. I was so blown away by the turnout, the kindness of everyone involved, etc. What a lovely community.”
—October 2023 Lecture Series guest, Montana Poet Laureate Chris La Tray
“It was an honor to share the stage with Shane Doyle, and to have such a receptive and enthusiastic audience. The event was really amazing — ideal, really.”
—May 2022 Lecture Series guest, writer Dr. Megan Kate Nelson
“Elk River Arts and Lectures serves a vital role in our Greater Yellowstone community, including Bozeman and Billings, by creating a space for intellectual and artistic expression and fostering a culture of connection, curiosity, and joy. I am grateful to be a part of Elk River’s circle, and excited to see how they continue to enrich and galvanize our friends and neighbors. Every community should be so fortunate to have the sacred space that ERAL provides, as it engages and includes everyone, and keeps hope alive.”
—May 2022 Lecture Series guest, educator Dr. Shane Doyle
“My students greatly benefit from exposure to speakers, writers, and artists who bring perspectives outside of their usual experiences. “
—Park High teacher Carol Phillips-Powalisz on environmental historian Bathsheba Demuth’s visit to her Freshman English class, May 2023
“I’m happy that I went, that was my first time going to see writers talk about their books. I never thought I would get to see Tommy Orange and we are reading his book in my class right now at Northwest Indian College, so it was really cool to hear him talk about it and describe how he wrote it. I am Crow and Cheyenne woman, so it means a lot to me to see other Native people who are successful and great at their art. Seeing Tommy and Tess [Gunty] made me like them and their books even more and I hope there are more events like that.”
—MiKayla Wilson, Apsáalooke undergraduate on the May 2023 event with Tommy Orange and Tess Gunty
“Nick Flynn encouraged students to share their writing with him — which was incredibly encouraging for students. He was able to speak from memory about what he specifically appreciated in each student poem as he presented big ideas about art and the writing of poetry. Many of the big ideas he circled back to were key to the mission of the class.”
—Park High teacher Kelly Dick on poet Nick Flynn’s visit to his Poetry class, October 2022
Joy Williams, Sandra Phillips
Debra Magpie Earling, David McCumber
J. Drew Lanham, Doug Ammons
Gretel Ehrlich, Bernard Quetchenbach
Ambrin Masood, Greg Klyman
Mark Mykleby, Jacqueline Rieder Hud, Timothy Tate
Paul Zarzyski, Laura Pritchett, Russell Rowland
Nina McConigley, Saif Alsaegh, Annick Smith
ML Smoker, Gary Ferguson, Pete Fromm
David Barsamian, Mary Clearman Blew, Kim Zupan
Henry Real Bird, Joshua Phillips, Deanne Stillman
Pam Houston, William Pitt Root, Pamela Uschuk, Scott Carrier