There are tons of hidden gems in Muncie, Indiana. My most recent find is not only really cool, but it’s educational, engaging, and a major blast from the past. It is a great place for kids to make memories and learn, but it’s also amazing from an adult’s perspective as well!
I’m talking about Book Arts Collaborative. It is a community letterpress press and book bindery, and it is a little piece of history that you must see. Book Arts Collaborative is also connected to Tribune Showprint Posters, so if you visit, you’ll likely be able to get a walking tour of both spaces. Ball State University Professor Rai Peterson explained, “Book Arts Collaborative was founded with a generous grant from Ball State University’s Virginia Ball Center. BSU courses are taught there, and university students make the journals and print ephemera that the Collaborative sells, and they teach or assist with community courses. Book Arts Collaborative Press is bringing out its first artist’s book in April.”
Inside, you’ll find lots of different types of presses, equipment, ink, and tools to set type. Educational workshops, demos, and tours are by registration or appointment. You can learn to set type, print, bind books, and learn about the art of a fading technology.
We visited BAC for a children’s workshop, so my daughter could make her own Valentines this year! She’s super excited that she will literally have one-of-a-kind Valentines for her friends and family. No two Valentines are exactly the same, and they were all printed by her, as she stood beside a large letterpress and cranked the wheel to create each individual Valentine. The experience was so fun for her, she can’t wait to go back and see what other creations she can come up with.
There are more workshops coming up in March and April 2017, and a special collaboration with Minnetrista coming up on March 22nd. According to Project Director Rai Peterson, “The Minnetrista workshop will be from 10am until 4:00pm (or when we run out of materials) on Wednesday, March 22. Minnetrista will offer a tour of Elisabeth Ball’s miniature book collection, and interested families can walk down the lane to Elizabeth Ball’s house, Oakhurst Mansion, where Ball State students from the Book Arts Collaborative will assist children in sewing a miniature book featuring Ms. Ball’s poem, “The Sunset Fay,” that has been printed using the century old Chandler and Prices presses at Book Arts Collaborative. We will be posting some binding workshops for March and April, including the return of the popular paper marbling event, on our website early next week.”
If you are a lover of the arts, language, books, history, information, technology, machinery, or just about anything else that a language-lover like myself craves, you must visit Book Arts Collaborative. It is a wonderful experience, and it’ll definitely leave you wanting more. I can’t wait for our next visit…I already miss the smell of the oil-based ink on the presses. As we’re living in such a tech-crazy world, Book Arts Collaborative was a much-needed step back in time for me, and definitely a place that I will take my kids to over and over again.
If you go:
Where: You can find BAC in the MadJax Building in Muncie. It can be a little tricky to find, so here is my unofficial assist: drive down Main Street toward Madison Street. Directly across the street from Cornerstone Center for the Arts (old Masonic Temple) is the MadJax Building. Book Arts Collaborative’s entrance is directly across from the Center for the Arts. Parking can be found on the corner of Main and Madison Streets.
When: Check the website for all the event and workshop info. Shop hours are Monday – Thursday from 9:30am to 7pm, Fridays 9:30am to 5pm, and some Saturdays 10am to 4pm.
Contact: Rai@bsu.edu for any additional info or questions.
Note: Have the kids wear old clothes, just in case they get ink on them.
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