July 9, 2015

Contact: Elizabeth Greenberg, egreenberg@mainemedia.edu 207.236.8581, ext. 353

Maine Media Workshops + College is proud to announce the first recipients of its Book Artist in Residence awards. These are the first artists in residence at Maine Media’s new Book Arts Studio, which opened in 2014.

The winners are Valerie Ann Carrigan, a print and artist-books maker in North Adams, Mass., and Richard Reitz Smith, an award-winning artist and designer living in Camden, Maine. Thanks to Maine Media’s generous donors, they will receive a stipend and materials support for their six-week residencies that will take place this fall.

“We are so delighted that these two talented artists will be our first artists-in-residence,” said Elizabeth Greenberg, Maine Media’s vice president of academic affairs. “There has been increasing interest in the Book Arts program and having this daily activity in the studio will not only add a dynamic element to the other activities happening around the campus, but also increase opportunities for our students and members of the community to engage with the Book Arts program.”

An afternoon drawing and photographing milkweed pods at Natural Bridges State Park in North Adams, Massachusetts, inspired Carrigan’s project, “The Walk.” Her monotype prints of the pods in various stages of life and decay will appear in a design based on a flag book, but with single panels that are attached to a concertina fold, extending outward when the book is stretched open.

Richard Reitz Smith has been a fan of some of the best children’s writers for decades. He plans to combine printed layers of letterpress words and images with gelatin prints and color washes to create a poetic and magical experience through a small, limited-edition book suitable for adults and children.

These two artists faced rigorous competition. But these two proposals particularly impressed the panel of well-known artists and professionals in the field of book arts that served as judges. Jurors included Cig Harvey, Liv Rockefeller, Daniel Kelm, Charles Altschul, Elizabeth Greenberg, Ashley Craig, and Meg Weston. 

The artist-in-residence program is an exciting addition to the book arts facility that was created through generous donor support. In 2014 Maine Media renovated the ground floor of the Ernst Haas Building building the new Book Arts Studio that is equipped with exceptional book arts tools, including Vandercook presses and bindery equipment. The studio is adjacent to our newly renovated Alternative Process laboratory, which allows students to be learn 19th century historic photographic techniques including tintype, collodion, gum bichromate, and calotype.  Consistent with Maine Media’s interest in honoring historic processes alongside the latest technological innovations, these studios capitalize on resurging interest in hands on processes.