Social art exhibit receives $5,000 grant
The handmade kind isn’t the only type of paper the Center for Book & Paper Arts is making. It’s also doing well with the green, folding kind.
The Center for Book & Paper Arts, 1104 S. Wabash Ave., received a $5,000 grant from the Clinton Hill/Allen Tran Foundation, an organization that supports preliminary exhibit planning for museums, for its collaborative Social Paper exhibit, which is slated to open in January 2014.
The exhibit curators, Melissa Potter, an assistant professor in the Interdisciplinary Arts Department, and Jessica Cochran, curator of exhibitions and programs for the Book & Paper Center, are still constructing a budget for the grant, according to Cochran.
“We’ve been working very hard as a department to step up, to really use research as the platform for everything we do in relation to exhibition programs, and we always want to engage our students,” Cochran said.
The exhibit will consist of pieces of artwork, documentatin and archival materials from seminal projects focusing on the time period of 1980s to present day, Cochran said. Projects will include sculpture, installation, photo documentation and works on paper produced by artists with the assistance of communities from around the world, according to Cochran.
The Center’s new Papermaker’s Garden, 750 S. Wabash Ave., which grows a myriad of plants used to make handmade paper, will be part of the exhibit because the foundation was impressed with it, according to Susan Larsen, consulting curator for the Clinton Hill/Allen Tran Foundation. Larsen said upon receiving Cochran and Potter’s written proposal and project photos, she immediately knew Columbia fit the foundation’s philosophy perfectly.
The foundation awards four $5,000 grants annually using money from the estate of paper enthusiast and artist Clinton Hill and partner Allen Tran. Hill, who died in 2003, was passionate about paper and would create paintings and collages using different colors and types of paper. “When [Columbia’s] grant came in, it was so exactly what Clinton would have loved,” Larsen said. “I think of all the grants we have given, that one is the closest to Clinton’s life and career. We could plainly see that an institution devoted to paper was a place we wanted to know and a place Clinton would have loved his resources to go to.”
The garden will be used to have artists with current exhibits discuss their work with the public, according to Steve Woodall, director of the Center for Book & Paper Arts.
A portion of the grant will be used to bring artists from around the world to the exhibit, Potter said. According to Woodall, the exhibit’s purpose is to change the perception that papermaking is a dying art form.
“The book and paper arts are sometimes thrown out as just a craft practice that is archaic and anything but socially relevant for some people, but our mission is to change that,” Woodall said.
Though many grant proposals were submitted this year, few consisted of handmade papermaking art, Larsen said.
Potter said Papermaker’s Garden had a successful first season, and plans for a second season are currently in the works. The idea to build the garden was a collaborative effort among two graduate students and Potter with a goal of creating a facility where papermaking could be executed from the ground up, Potter said.
She said students are living in a changing society, and the way people converse and exchange information is transforming thoughts and interactions, Potter said. Paper art offers a unique form of expression and a historical background that keep this art form alive around the world, Potter said.
“For decades, paper artists have been involved in sustaining these studios, and also opening new ones,” Potter said. “Our exhibition will feature many of these studios. Paper art’s interactive, physical and collaborative nature is what makes it so conducive to social practice-based work.”