Cool Stuff / Letterpress

From Pop-Up to Permanent

Last week I presented From Pop-Up to Permanent at the Southern Graphics Council International (SCGI) Conference in Milwaukee. The Southern Graphics Council conferences whether national or international are meccas for printmakers to meet, learn, connect and get inspired.

My talk focused on seven steps that have helped PRESS take it’s original pop-up status to something more permanent. Download the handout: Print MKE PopUPtoPermament Handout

These tips were specifically utilized at PRESS: LetterPRESS as a Public Art Project, an educational and artistic resource for letterpress printmaking in the Berkshires.  PRESS is a hybrid public art space providing community and creative exchanges as a work studio, teaching facility and art gallery.

Located in North Adams, MA, PRESS invites the public to experience traditional letterpress printing through observation, exhibitions, workshops and independent explorations.

Pop-up to Permanent TOP TIPS for transforming a project
1. What is uniquely you?
Know your mission and what makes you unique. Celebrate it. Build your mission around it. Use it to your advantage.

2. Tap into a local college/university community for interns, apprentices, and volunteers.
But remember, working with students is not just about help on your project. It’s also about passing on passion and understanding their passion. Find out what interests your interns, apprentices, and volunteers. What are their strengths? What do they want to learn from the time they are with you?

3. Get to know your neighbors, your community.
Who is next door to you? Make sure you get to know them. Reach out to other organizations. Partner. Collaborate. You can’t do it alone.

4. Establish an online presence. (Website, Facebook, Blog, E-commerce)
This is a great place for intern help; especially the ones who are particularly savvy at this stuff. Advertise. Connect. Sell. Inspire. Network.

5. Celebrate your supporters.
There are people out there who want to help you, kinda like Kickstarter. Create your own ways of celebrating your financial supporters. Know where you have to spend money or give things away in order to get more back. Print giveaways, discounts on workshops, subscriptions, etc.

6. Work Exchanges.
Former students, area artists, visiting artists either pay hard cash or trade services for use of the press. What kinds of exchanges can you create for people who want to get more involved in your project?

7. Explore your local/state cultural council grant making avenues and other grant opportunities.
Most states have some sort of cultural council, checkout what yours offers. See if your library subscribes to the Foundation Center—research opportunities for grants. There’s money out there, you just have to find the right resource. Here are some to get you started:


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