The Western New York Book Arts Center (WNYBAC) is a non-profit institution focused on renewing interest in all aspects of the book arts, from letterpress to bookbinding, papermaking to calligraphy, woodcuts to typography. It is an unparalleled resource in a desperately under-served community, not to mention a beacon for artists, authors, printmakers, and students alike.
It has expanded rapidly since its grand opening in mid 2009. The central hub of activity is the spacious basement studio where a community letterpress shop hosts visiting school groups, local cultural workers, and artists-in-residence. This unique studio space, chock full of antique letterpress equipment, wood type, metal type, and other all-but-forgotten machinery is awe inspiring, and each day it becomes better organized and more comprehensive, but it still needs many key improvements. As it stands, the studio requires a proper ventilation and air purification system, a working sink and washout station, and an efficient heating and cooling system to regulate the climate.
WNYBAC has received no funding from city, county, state or federal government sources; we have managed to come close to self-sufficiency through generous volunteer efforts, membership fees, shop sales, gallery exhibits, and visiting groups. As a 501 c3 non-profit institution, WNYBAC rolls any extra funds into renovations and repairs. The institution does, however, operate on a shoestring budget, and that can make expansion and improvement difficult.
With cooler weather approaching, the reality of poor heating and ventilation is a critical concern for the health of visitors and resident artists working in the space.
We want the WNYBAC printshop to be as accessible to as many people as possible in the safest manner possible. Because of this we do not use any power equipment for workshops or demonstrations, we use reclaimed inks and paper, and we utilize low toxicity solvents for clean up. Unfortunately, many of the fumes we try to eliminate are heavier than air, and they remain trapped in the basement studio. Adequate ventilation would quickly filter and draw the air out of the basement, providing a safer work environment.
In the past year over 2000 school kids have come to WNYBAC on field trips, made books, learned about printing, and printed using hand letterpress equipment. Charter School students have even proudly hand set and printed their own diplomas.
In addition to community and educational outreach, WNYBAC hosts internationally known artists - Drive by Press, Combat Papermakers, Starshaped Press, Amos Kennedy, Peter & Donna Thomas, and more have come to work, teach, and share their knowledge with the Western New York Book Arts community.
We hope this Kickstarter project will help us bring comfortable and vented heating along with good air circulation so that even the most environmentally sensitive patrons can experience and utilize everything WNYBAC has to offer. The educational and cultural mission of a space like WNYBAC is a critical part of revitalizing and re-energizing a neighborhood, a community, and a city - please consider the ripple-effect your support can have on the entire region, not just our print shop!
Help us and get some great rewards produced right in the WNYBAC printshop!!!
Please note that any additional funds over and above our goal will be used for further improvements and expansion to the space: at 7k - a newer Vandercook proof press better suited to little hands; at 10k - a sink and washout station for screenprinting; at 15k - we'll begin our papermaking studio!
- (30 days)