Visiting Printmaker Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. To Lead a Series of Public Workshops, Talks, and Exhibitions in Charlottesville in March
Charlottesville, VA – Virginia Humanities’ Virginia Center for the Book announces more than a dozen public events, printmaking demonstrations, classes, workshops, and exhibitions as part of the “Finding Wisdom” public art project with Amos Paul Kennedy Jr., generously funded by the University of Virginia’s Executive Vice President & Provost’s Office.
Kennedy, the inaugural Frank Riccio Artist-in-Residence at the Virginia Center for the Book, has collected sayings and aphorisms from Charlottesville-Albemarle community members in partnership with Virginia Humanities, area public schools, Boys & Girls Club of Central Virginia, Jefferson Madison Regional Library, and Monticello’s Getting Word Oral History Project since December. Kennedy has turned selected aphorisms into thousands of bold and colorful letterpress-printed posters, with thousands more to be made with community members during his upcoming visit to Charlottesville, March 8-25.
Kennedy will conduct dozens of partner workshops in public schools and with nonprofit organizations, as well as community printmaking events to demonstrate the art of letterpress printing and invite residents and visitors to create their own posters in his bold and colorful signature style.
“Finding Wisdom” posters will be exhibited in Charlottesville and Albemarle throughout March in dozens of locations ranging from coffee shops to City Hall, from schools to storefront windows, from Fashion Square Mall to the historic downtown mall, and from grocery stores to world heritage sites. More about the exhibitions, including a community scavenger hunt, will be announced in early March.
All events are free and open to the public. Registration is required for hands-on workshops held at the Virginia Center for the Book, March 20-22. See below and VaBookCenter.org/finding-wisdom/ for detailed information and registration.
DROP-IN COMMUNITY PRINTMAKING EVENTS: These programs are free and open to the public. Participants of all ages are invited to come make a letterpress poster with Kennedy on a small mobile press. Each event features one of the Finding Wisdom community aphorisms. Registration not required.
- Saturday March 9, 10 AM–2 PM | Charlottesville High School, 1400 Melbourne Rd.
Presented in conjunction with Charlottesville City Schools’ Art Connections Celebration
- Wednesday March 13, 6 PM–8 PM | Common House, 206 West Market St.
Presented in partnership with Quirk Hotel, featuring food and drink for purchase and special guests from Virginia Humanities
- Thursday March 14, 4 PM–4:45 PM | JMRL Crozet Library, 2020 Library Ave., Crozet
- Saturday March 16, 10 AM–12 PM | JMRL Central Branch, McIntire Room, 201 E. Market St.
- Saturday March 16, 2 PM– 4 PM | JMRL Central Branch, McIntire Room
- Thursday, March 21, 11 AM–1 PM | Welcome Gallery, 114 3rd NE
Presented in partnership with New City Arts Initiative and Second Street Gallery
- Sunday March 24, 3:30 PM – 5:30 PM | Fashion Square Mall, 1600 Rio Road E
Presented in conjunction with Albemarle County Public Schools’ Visual Arts Festival
SCREENING, DEMOS, AND ARTIST TALK: These programs offer additional opportunities to learn about Kennedy’s work. Printing demos will include the chance for participants to make or take home a poster. All are free and open to the public, and registration is not required
- Screening of documentary film Proceed and Be Bold
Sunday March 17, 3 PM | JMRL Central Branch, McIntire Room
- Virginia Festival of the Book – Lit Fair Printing Demonstration with Kennedy at the Omni
Saturday March 23, 12 PM–4 PM | VA Festival of the Book, Omni Atrium
- Virginia Festival of the Book – Printing Demonstration with Kennedy at the Center
Sunday March 24, 12 PM–1 PM | VA Center for the Book, Jefferson School
- Virginia Festival of the Book – Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. Artist Talk at the Center
Sunday March 24, 1 PM–2:30 PM | VA Center for the Book, Jefferson School
- RBS “Presswork” Symposium: “Making & Teaching: Printing Technologies at Work”
March 25 | Co-sponsored by Rare Book School (RBS), UVA Libraries, and the Jefferson Trust. Details to come.
HANDS-ON WORKSHOPS (registration required): These workshops are free with advance registration required and presented as part of the Virginia Festival of the Book. Limited space is available. Participants will print a number of aphorisms with Kennedy at the Virginia Center for the Book’s letterpress and book arts studio in the Jefferson School.
- Wednesday March 20, 12 PM–4 PM | VA Center for the Book, Jefferson School
- Thursday March 21, 4 PM–7 PM | VA Center for the Book, Jefferson School
- Friday March 22, 12 PM–4 PM | VA Center for the Book, Jefferson School
TO REGISTER, visit here>
About Finding Wisdom: Kennedy’s visit has been shaped by Virginia Humanities in collaboration with Kennedy himself; UVA student liaison and project coordinator Tia Nichols; member artists of Virginia Center for the Book; and community partners from Albemarle County and Charlottesville Public Schools, Boys & Girls Club of Central Virginia, Jefferson Madison Regional Libraries, Light House Studio, Monticello’s Getting Word Oral History Project, New City Arts Initiative, The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative, UVA’s McIntire Department of Art and Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts, and others.
About Amos Paul Kennedy Jr.: Kennedy is a self-proclaimed “humble Negro printer” whose letterpress work represents the messages and identities of African-Americans whose “words… have largely been excluded from ‘fine print.’” He uses traditional letterpress techniques to create richly colored, hand-pulled prints that often incorporate messages and aphorisms that spur conversation about race and class. Through his fine, layered printing of simple text using traditional letterpress technique, Kennedy’s work encourages reflection on historical and current African-American identities and overlap between the struggles of the Civil Rights movement and contemporary needs for bold action to pursue social justice.
He received a BA in Mathematics from Grambling State University and his MFA in Graphic Design from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Recent awards include a Joyce Award (2016–17) and the United States Artists Glasgow Fellowship (2015). Kennedy was also the premier featured artist at the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Institute for Contemporary Art, exhibiting work from collaborations with local black-owned businesses. To learn more and see examples of the artist’s work, visit KennedyPrints.com.
About the Frank Riccio Artist-in-Residency: The Virginia Center for the Book (the Center) hosts a community book arts studio in Charlottesville’s historic Jefferson School City Center, featuring the state’s largest public collection of letterpress type, binding equipment, and more than fifty member-artists creating works of book art and printed ephemera. In 2018, the Center began raising funds for the Riccio Artist-in-Residency to honor the memory of artist and Center co-founder Frank Riccio, recognize his legacy as a talented and tireless practitioner and educator among Virginia’s creative community, and build upon his loyal and generous support for the work of book artists who bring to life the Center. Through the annual Residency, the Center will host one book artist, printmaker, or illustrator each year to partner with local organizations to create a collaborative community project. Additional details about the Artist-in-Residency will be announced in 2019, when the Center hosts Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. for the Residency’s inaugural collaborative public art project.
About the Virginia Center for the Book: A program of the Virginia Humanities, the Virginia Center for the Book works across the Commonwealth to unite communities of readers, writers, artists, and book lovers. Through year-round programs and partnership initiatives, the Center recognizes the enduring power of literature, storytelling, and the book arts to engage in public dialogue and promote intercultural understanding. As an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, the Center works within a network of affiliates to promote books, reading, literacy, and the literary life of Virginia. To learn more, visit VaBookCenter.org.
About Virginia Humanities: Virginia Humanities connects people and ideas to explore the human experience and inspire cultural engagement. As the state humanities council, Virginia Humanities reaches millions in its estimated annual audience through festivals, grants, fellowships, digital initiatives, teacher institutes, radio programs, podcasts, apprenticeships, and school programs. Headquartered at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia Humanities endeavors to serve Virginians in every corner of the Commonwealth. To learn more, visit VirginiaHumanities.org.
IMAGE: Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. demonstrated printing techniques during a screening of a documentary Proceed and Be Bold! at Light House Studio’s Vinegar Hill Theater in Charlottesville on 11/17/18. Photo by Pat Jarrett/Virginia Humanities