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A respected and dedicated champion of the field, Minnesota Center for Book Arts is the largest and most comprehensive center of its kind. We celebrate the book as a vibrant contemporary art form that takes many shapes; our mission is clear: to lead the advancement of the book as an evolving art form.
MCBA is committed to book art, artists and appreciators. Our mission is achieved through quality programs that support a broad continuum of creators, learners and admirers. We lead the field by promoting innovation, sustaining traditions, educating new enthusiasts, inspiring creative expression and honouring artistic excellence. From the traditional crafts of papermaking, letterpress printing and bookbinding to new methods of art-making and communication, MCBA supports the limitless creative development of book arts.
Books and other "contained narratives" have existed for centuries, created through various techniques and taking numerous forms. They chronicled history, celebrated achievements and communicated collective and personal knowledge. Books as multi-faceted and interdisciplinary methods of communication remain relevant. MCBA's mission supports an important lasting vision: a world where book art is created, cultivated, celebrated, and understood as a vital and lasting expression of culture.
The organization thrived in that space, but after fifteen years, it was clear that they had outgrown their home. In the spring of 2000, after more than two years of research and planning, Minnesota Center for Book Arts joined with The Loft Literary Center and Milkweed Editions to become a founding tenant of Open Book, the first comprehensive literary and book arts facility in the nation. The renovated and reinvigorated century-old building was the first cultural landmark of the Minneapolis downtown riverfront, which is now also home to the Guthrie Theatre, Mill City Museum and MacPhail Center for Music. Open Book creates a lively destination for a diverse public interested in books, book arts and literary endeavors of all kinds.
MCBA now serves upwards of 70,000 patrons (including some 24,000 K-12 students) every year, working with groups in our studios as well as in school classrooms, libraries and community events across the state. MCBA is also home to a vibrant working artist community, from college students to retired lifelong learners and everyone in between, at every skill level. Our world-class artistic and community programs include: critically acclaimed exhibitions that are always free to the public; year-round free public programming on engaging topics in the arts and beyond; top-notch artmaking workshops for families; and a dedication to the support of working artists that is simply unmatched in the community. MCBA gives people at every age and every walk of life the opportunity to explore and expand their understanding of contemporary art and book arts.
Our space is easy to get to, but difficult to leave! Explore our antique printing presses up close. Surround yourself with hundreds of drawers of wood and metal type in every size, shape and style imaginable. Learn how artists make paper by hand. Get inspired by the spirit of curiosity and creativity that radiates from a community of working artists. Explore history, technique and innovation in our reference library and collection archives. And don’t miss The Shop at MCBA for a truly unique selection of artworks, broadsides, artist's books, screenprinted posters, letterpress cards and gifts, miniatures, jewelry, art supplies and so much more.
Minnesota Center for Book Arts is located in the Open Book Building in downtown Minneapolis.
MCBA's programming is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. Additional support provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Target, Wet Paint, other private funders, MCBA members and individuals like you.