A glimpse back at 2021

We can’t say it enough, thank you for following along, for sending us your *virtual* smiles, high fives & warm wishes, engaging your creative curiosities here at the Center, and for supporting us through this past year of many accomplishments!

Through opening our doors and returning to in-person workshops & offerings, activating our studios with residencies and working artists, receiving competitive grant funding, and cutting the ribbon on our newly renovated space (!) – 2021 has brought us to exciting heights as we head into 2022.

All of these changes, growths & accomplishments could not be possible without the support of our members, volunteers, & donors. We truly can’t thank you enough for being on our side as we continue tapping into our creative curiosities, and pressing on towards higher goals. We are so excited to see where 2022 will take us!

Take a look below at some of the highlights from 2021:

We’re excited to look ahead into 2022!

TWO GALLERIES – TWO WAYS TO VIEW

  • Hosted a total of 8 exhibitions this year showcasing regionally established and emerging artists.
  • Exhibitions back to in person viewing! A combination of in-person and virtual viewing allowed out audiences to expand and experience each show through their own comfort level. A virtual gallery of high quality images, live stream artist talks, works for sale through our e-commerce site, interviews with artists, and speciality workshops allowed our gallery exhibition program to reach more than 6,000 viewers & visitors, continuing to provide greater accessibility than ever before. 
  • We received immense interest in our Studio Residency Program, and are fully booked for 2022! Find out more about the artists, our Studio Gallery, and residency program here.
  • Our Meditation Series in the Main Gallery continues to offer deeper reflection and immersive perspective into the work on view.

LEARN FROM HOME – OR HERE WITH SOME FRIENDS!

  • Book Arts workshops are back in person! Throughout 2021 we offered intensive multi-week classes in letterpress and screen print, alongside bookmaking and speciality printmaking workshops with gallery artists
  • Private workshops, too! We hosted small groups of folks of all ages and experience levels eager to get a little inky.
  • Open Studio was a hit again, member artists worked in our community printshop creating their own personal projects. 
  • We continued hosting virtual bookmaking workshops and offered specialty artmaking kits – attracting makers from across the country!

THE BOOK ARTS SHOP – SUPPORT FOR BOOK ARTS AND OUR COMMUNITY OF ARTISTS

  • We added over 15 new consignment artists to the shelves this year, providing local artists and makers an opportunity to develop their businesses and increase profits. We now have over 100 artists in the shop!
  •  With a complete overhaul to our inventory systems, our e-commerce platforms were able to swiftly to build up in product offerings and audience reach. We’re now shoppable right on social media!
  • This year marked the highest sales in Book Arts and artist consignment retail….ever ($$!!) affording our organization and the artists we serve crucial support to continue creating what we love.

PRINTING PARTNERS PROGRAM – BREAKING DOWN MORE BARRIERS TO ARTS EDUCATION ACCESS & REIMAGINING HANDS-ON ARTMAKING

In a typical year, Book Arts hosts year-round hands-on book & printmaking programs for children & families across our Queen City. Known as PRINTING PARTNERS, these classes at local schools & community centers bustle with creativity, laughter, and plenty of shared supplies, ideas, and hands-on arts learning.

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!

Read more about the 2021 PRINTING PARTNERS Highlights on our blog!

BOOK ARTS  IN THE COMMUNITY

  • 2021 brought us exciting collaborations with new friends, and old! We were honored to produce an edition of books “Year of Illumination” in celebration of Erie County’s Bicentennial. It was a joy to work with the WNY cultural community, the Baird Foundation, and artist Yames to letterpress print on literal ~gold~ and create a rare edition that will be cherished for years to come.  Find out more!
  • We teamed up with Daemen College to offer a virtual learning series for artists to gain insight into grant writing, marketing and client relationships
  • We continued to serve the WNY community through relationships with good friends Community Beer Works, Explore Buffalo, Plak Art Plus, Massachusetts Ave Project, and many others.

FUNDRAISERS & EVENTS…A SERIES

  • We were thrilled to host our summertime fundriaser BookFest in person again! Re-imagiming it into a series of events across the whole summer, we were able to provide free artmaking workshops and artist pop-ups to families across our community, serving more folks than ever before!
  • Our premier fundraiser, Toast to Type (formerly Liquor & Letterpress) brought in supporters for an intimate evening of celebratory bites and libations, while also learning & creating with our presses. Supporters also toasted from afar by purchasing fundraising gift boxes of handmade items, and participating in our virtual restaurant raffle.
  • We provided more than 20 local artists the opportunity to sell their wares this holiday season at our Holiday Marketplace Pop Ups & Happy Hours, pairing each event with a free artmaking workshop for folks to get a little inky, and relieve some of the holiday time stress.

BIG CHANGES TO THE STAFF AND SPACE

  • We grew…by two! In Fall of 2021 we wre able to hire 2 new staff members, Nina and Demyia, to support our galleries and community programming.
  • This year Book Arts received our first grant from the National Endowment of the Arts affording us to serve more community members and children in their own neighborhoods through PRINTING PARTNERS. This investment is a vote of confidence in Book Arts’ bright future as we work to support artists in their development, reach children and families who might otherwise not have access to the transformative power of artmaking, and encourage all who engage with our organization to explore their creative curiosity.
  • Book Arts was awarded the opportunity to participate in the Western New York Foundation’s Impact Capacity Assessment Program (iCAP), a competitive program for nonprofits that wish to build their ability to perform well. iCAP offers opportunity to nonprofits to engage in an 8-month process to assess its capacity needs in coordination with an organizational development consultant.
  • After a 3 year capital improvement project, we unveiled our newly renovated space here at 468 Washington Street including a new roof, robust custom storage solutions on each floor, and some swanky outside signage giving us a bright presence on our beloved corner. We brought out the big scissors with a ribbon cutting ceremony and celebration with community members.

Thank you for helping us to preserve the book arts and share it with our communities. We really couldn’t be here without your support, and hope that you consider making a donation to our Annual Fund to help fuel our mission!

Together, we press on into 2022!