Celebrating Stories: Coming Together for Literary Arts
Fifteen hundred years ago, in a monastery outside present-day Cairo, a monk placed an ornamented strip of leather in a book he was reading, putting the story on pause while he went about some other business. Apparently, he never finished the book. It was discovered by archeologists in the early 1900s. The strip of vellum-backed leather is the world’s oldest preserved bookmark.
This business of making a mark so you can find your place in a story has been on our minds here at Gard, ever since we attended Bookmark, A Benefit for Literary Arts. The gala at the Portland Art Museum raised nearly $350,000 for programs that advance their mission: to engage readers, support writers, and inspire the next generation with great literature.
We’ve long had a close relationship with Literary Arts. In the 1990s, Gard was an early sponsor of Portland Arts & Lectures. Over the years, we’ve supported a variety of Literary Arts programs with advertising, brand strategy or design efforts. In doing so, we’ve had the benefit of working with creative people who are passionate about stories and dedicated to the community.
Here’s why Literary Arts is so important. Reading is usually a solitary act; writing even more so. Literary Arts creates the conversations and opportunities that connect us, making the community stronger. Their youth programs reach more than 4,000 students annually. Their book festival, Wordstock, connects more than 100 authors with thousands of Oregonians. The Bookmark benefit, like all of what Literary Arts does, was inspiring in the way it brought people together in support of these and other programs.
From Egyptian monks to present-day Oregonians, we all need stories to help us understand ourselves and the world around us. That’s what Literary Arts is all about.