The Center for Book Arts is dedicated to preserving the traditional artistic practices of book-making, as well as exploring and encouraging contemporary interpretations of the book as an art object. Founded in 1974, it was the first not-for-profit organization of its kind in the nation, and has since become a model for others around the world. Its work is channeled through five program areas: exhibitions related to the arts of the book; lectures on topics of interest to book artists and craftspeople; a modest publication schedule; services to artists, both established and emerging and, much the most prominent currently, an extensive offering of classes. Each year the Center offers three terms of courses, workshops and seminars taught by experienced book artists, and providing hands-on training in all aspects of traditional and contemporary bookmaking, including bookbinding, letterpress printing, papermaking, and other associated arts.
The classes and workshops taught at the Center are ideal for artists interested in producing works in the book format, as well as for teachers who want to develop skills to incorporate into the classroom experience. Librarians and book conservators have also benefited from our classes, as have numerous amateurs of the book keen to discover for themselves the techniques which contribute to the creation of the objects of their affection. CBA courses are designed to offer the very best book arts instruction available, and to accommodate varying levels of skill and experience, as well as different timetables. Scheduled as weekday and weeknight sessions, weekend workshops, and week-long intensive courses, they provide: a teaching staff of very experienced artists; limited class enrollment so as to allow extensive exchange between instructor and student; a fully-equipped bindery and letterpress printshop; and a very wide variety of options.
Over the years, the Center has trained and educated thousands of people, as the faculty and facility have attracted artists and students from many backgrounds and all parts of the United States, as well as many other countries. The Center provides services to artists, including intern, artists-in-residence, and apprentice programs, and maintains an artists' slide registry, and its printshop and bindery are used by artists to create new works reflecting centuries of craft tradition. With the support of numerous benefactors, foundations, government agencies, corporations, individual contributors, and more than 800 members worldwide, the Center for Book Arts ensures that the ancient crafts of the book, that container which preserves and presents the knowledge and ideas of a culture, remains a viable and vital part of our civilization.