$10,000 Commissions Awarded to Two Teams for Cutting-Edge Electronic Publishing Project


NEA “Arts in Media” grant to support digital publishing project –   Expanded Artists’ Books: Envisioning the Future of the Book

CHICAGO (December 19, 2012) – The Center for Book and Paper Arts (CBPA) has named two $10,000 commission award winners for the digital publishing project Expanded Artists’ Books: Envisioning the Future of the Book. The awards are made possible through a $50,000 Arts in Media grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Denise Bookwalter and Meg Mitchell will complete Rain/fall, an environmentally-driven project which mobilizes online weather data as a way to “enable us to experience the world from new perspectives.”

The team of Amaranth Borsuk, Kate Durbin and Ian Hatcher will develop a project called Abra, which plays with the concept of the illuminated manuscript “through a five-pronged collaboration between two poets, one visual artist, one iOS artist-developer, and a potentially infinite number of readers.”

Each team’s project will be simultaneously developed for the iPad tablet and as a physical book crafted to intersect with and inform the digital work. Both the electronic and physical versions will be published and distributed by the Center for Book and Paper Arts in late 2013.

“This program will enable artists to explore relationships between traditional and new media,” said CBPA Director Steve Woodall. “We feel it has the potential to greatly expand the audience for book art.”

Winners were selected by a national panel of three jurors including Bill Berkson, poet, art critic and professor emeritus at San Francisco Art Institute; Emily McVarish, writer, designer, book artist and associate professor of graphic design at California College of the Arts; and Timothy Murray, professor of comparative literature and English and curator of the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Studies at Cornell University.

Aiming through electronic distribution to widen the audience for an under-represented art form, Expanded Artists’ Books at the same time addresses a persistent issue with digital media art: its ephemerality. “The physical books that are created in tandem with the apps,” said Woodall, “will almost certainly be the archival records of these projects. The obsolescence cycle of electronic media is short, but 20 years from now, or 200, the books will still be with us.”

The remaining funds from the NEA grant will support costs for publishing, distributing, and marketing the digital books.

Columbia College Chicago is an urban institution that offers innovative degree programs in the visual, performing, media and communication arts for nearly 11,000 students in 120 undergraduate and graduate programs. An arts and media college committed to a rigorous liberal arts curriculum, Columbia is dedicated to opportunity and excellence in higher education. For further information, visit www.colum.edu.

The Center for Book and Paper Arts is dedicated to the research, teaching, and promotion of the interdisciplinary practices that support the book arts and hand papermaking as contemporary art media. The Center is part of the Interdisciplinary Arts Department at Columbia College Chicago, and in addition to housing both graduate and undergraduate classes for that department, it publishes a critical journal and artists’ books, mounts exhibitions, hosts artist residencies, sponsors symposia and public programs, and provides advanced study through a workshop program.

This program is made possible with generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts: Arts in Media Grant, and other support entities. 

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at arts.gov.



Media Contacts

Steve Kauffman, 312.369.7383, skauffman@colum.edu

Erin Purdy, 312.369.8695, epurdy@colum.edu