PRINTING PARTNERS is Book Arts’ signature educational outreach program, offering free book arts classes for students throughout the Buffalo region, with classes held right in their own community and neighborhood art centers.
In this hands-on program, young learners engage with the book arts to build their creative confidence and artistic skills, investigating basic to advanced forms of book & printmaking techniques alongside professional teaching artists, while given the opportunity to work with specialty artist materials to create thoughtful & unique works of art.
In 2021, every student who participated in the PRINTING PARTNERS program received one comprehensive kit with art making materials and tools to participate in all classes in their program.
Programs with each community site ranged from 8-10 weeks long, with one art class offered each week. Classes focused on origami and hand-stitched book making and printmaking projects, increasing in difficulty as the weeks–and students’ skills–progress! And, at the culmination of the program, students kept their supply box, filled with art materials and specialty tools to keep creating books & prints!
2021 PRINTING PARTNERS highlights:
• Building upon & strengthening our intentional pivots to protect the health & safety of our students, partners and teaching artists, we created a more comprehensive art making supply kit for each student participating in PRINTING PARTNERS, whether in person or virtual. We also streamlined virtual communications with students and families, offering a better system of recorded classes for those who might have missed a day of virtual class!
• We continued our work with Journeys End Refugee Services, again offering a program of virtual classes led by lead teaching artist Ruby Merritt, with impeccable attendance!
• Woohoo! In person classes!! After a winter/spring season of virtual classes, we partnered with our friends at the Carnegie Art Center to offer a summer-long program for children & families in-person at the friendly neighborhood art gallery in North Tonawanda.
Three host sites, two Book Arts staff members: one amazing program. To say the least, I believe PRINTING PARTNERS went over very well! Fairly new to the team, being the programs assistant has been nothing short of wonderful. What started off as loose leaf supplies and unfolded boxes became 9 weeks of creativity. With Locust Street art, Buffalo Public library, and Valley Center as our partners, it is clear to me that this program can thrive in any environment, virtually or otherwise. This can be credited to Ruby Merritt, our teaching artist whose energy and easy to follow instructions make each session accessible and welcoming. Along the way I had the opportunity to “meet” some great community leaders, learn more about local organizations, and hear about how much the PRINTING PARTNERS has positively impacted the lives of those who participate. Parents/guardians and children alike have expressed how much they enjoyed their time with us: Melissa from Valley Center said she “wished there were more classes”, and Kristine from the Library session “loved the class and can’t wait until next year!” I am immensely grateful to have been a part of the process, and I’m excited for the next round of classes!
• Demyia Browning joined us in September 2021, and quickly got to work preparing for our busy Fall & Winter offering THREE concurring PRINTING PARTNERS programs! Demyia not only helps plan and facilitate in-person and virtual classes, but is also a presence in the classroom, working alongside PRINTING PARTNERS lead Teaching Artist, Ruby Merritt.
• We again deepened our regional reach, working with not one, but three (!) Buffalo Public libraries to offer PRINTING PARTNERS as a free 8 week long virtual program for 30 students: Frank E. Merriweather, Jr. Branch Library, the Isaías González-Soto Branch Library, and The Dudley Branch Library.
• We offered successful virtual programming with the Fruit Belt neighborhood treasure Locust Street Art, an organization Book Arts has been partnering with since the inception of PRINTING PARTNERS 7+ years ago.
• We were able to offer a safe, in-person 9 week program with our newest partners, The Valley Community Association, serving the Buffalo River community! Students received their own personal kit for the program, and participated in masked and socially distant classes in book and print making!
Sustaining and enriching Book Arts’ PRINTING PARTNERS program could not be possible without the support of our members, volunteers, & donors. We can’t thank you enough. Learn more about our funders.
PRINTING PARTNERS is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State legislature. 2021 PRINTING PARTNERS is also generously supported by The County of Erie, The Children’s Foundation of Erie County, The Ralph C. Wilson Jr Legacy Funds at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, M&T Bank, The Cameron & Jane Baird Foundation, The Vogt Family Foundation, the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation, and the Golden & Goldman Philanthropic Fund. Please visit our Funders page to learn more.