MELANIE MOWINSKI, Founder and Curator of PRESS is committed to sharing her love of art, book arts and printmaking with as many people as possible. When she was given a Vandercook Universal III in March 2010, she knew it had to be shared somehow and someway with students at MCLA, and the greater North Adams Community. PRESS: LetterPRESS as a Public Art Project is one of the ways she does this.
Mowinski balances hyper control & very specific rules with experimental investigations in her letterpress and book art work, often gravitating towards one-of-a-kind books housed in unusual and traditional enclosures. Her books under the imprint PRESS • 29 PRESS are in private and public collections including Williams College, Yale University, Colorado College, Denison University Library, Lafayette College, The Newark Museum, Baylor University, The University of Iowa, Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Ohio University, The Free Library of Philadelphia, The Ruth Hughes Collection at Oberlin College, Tate Modern Museum of Art in London, Simon Fraser University, Cornell University, UCLA, USC, Emory University, Lafayette College, Library of Congress, Smithsonian American Art & Portrait Gallery Library and University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Mowinski began her career as an art education major at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Art. After graduating, she went west to seek her fortune, teaching in Arizona and San Francisco. Ready for another adventure, she then served as a Peace Corps Volunteer on the island of St. Kitts in the Caribbean where she developed arts curricula, community-centered arts programs and her love of the outdoors.She left the tropics after three years to study in New England, earning an M.A.R. in Religion and the Visual Arts from Yale University in 1999 where she was the Katsuo Miho Scholar in Peace Making. Many seeds were planted during her time at Yale, and she let them germinate while teaching for a few years at Buxton School in Williamstown, MA. Residencies at Windgrove in Tasmania and Jentel in Wyoming kept her art practice alive during these intense years of teaching.
In 2011, Mowinski founded PRESS: Letterpress as a Public Art Project on Main Street in North Adams, MA, a hybrid gallery, teaching, and studio in a storefront that centered around an operating Vandercook. PRESS thrived on Main Street until October 2015 when PRESS transitioned to its location on the MCLA campus where it now emerges from time to time with its mobile letterpress PRESS on the MOVE!
In 2017 she completed The 50 Card Project: a year of letterpress cards printed every week from Inauguration Day to the end of 2017. This project was directly inspired by the statement liberty and justice for all. She brings her commitment to civic engagement to collaborative projects, partnerships, and activities in her local, national, and international communities.
Mowinski lives and works in the Berkshires of Massachusetts where she is a professor of art at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA). Mowinski holds an MFA from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia and an MAR from Yale University.