Artist-in-Residence Program

Summer 2018 Artist-in-Residence

Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) was pleased to welcome Kelly Taylor Mitchell to our Artist-in-Residence program this past summer.

Kelly Taylor Mitchell researched Minnesota’s “Pilgrims,” a group of formerly enslaved Civil War soldiers and their families who fled the south for Minnesota. Mitchell created a limited varied edition suite of three artist books as well as an in-response open edition of zines and poetry chapbooks which worked to historicize the present by sharing oral histories and decentering narratives of colonization. Mitchell’s project explored how the stories of the Minnesota “Pilgrims” contextualize place-making in Minnesota for new and diverse populations, and inform a collective history of community building, confronting obstacles, and reciprocity in the state.

Kelly Taylor Mitchell is an installation, book, and print artist currently based in Rhode Island. Mitchell’s work recontextualizes oral histories in order to navigate the intertwined decolonial landscape of “Black” trauma and “Black” joy. Concepts of land tenure, territorial claims, community autonomy, inherited identity, and maronage act as an anchor in a cobbling of identity. Mitchell holds a BFA in printmaking from Tufts University, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and in May will receive an MFA in printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design.

About MCBA’s Artist-in-Residence Program

MCBA’s Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program is designed to support selected artists by providing financial and community resources, space, and access to equipment to assist in the creation and promotion of their work. Residencies may be from two weeks to three months in duration. Participation in the program is based on the artistic merit of proposed projects as well as the degree to which artists further MCBA’s artistic mission: to lead the advancement of the book as an evolving art form. MCBA envisions a world where book art is created, cultivated, celebrated and understood as a vital and lasting expression of culture. While integrating the elements of papermaking, bookbinding, printing, typography and graphic design, MCBA supports the limitless creative evolution of the book format.

Residency Periods

MCBA typically offers residencies in the Spring (January–April) and Summer (May–August) of each calendar year. Duration of a residency can be from 2 weeks to 3 months and is at the discretion of the artist, but should be based on the scope of their proposal.


MCBA houses well-equipped letterpress, binding and papermaking studios. The print studio features nine Vandercook proof presses, two iron hand presses, six platen presses, two etching presses and a sign press. The print studio also has a well-stocked composing room with wood and metal type, a variety of press bases and a photopolymer platemaker. The bindery is outfitted with a variety of cutting equipment and houses a drill press, nipping presses, finishing presses and sewing frames. Two papermaking studios provide space for wet work and include vats, felts, hydraulic presses, and drying systems. Three paper beaters are available for preparing fiber along with basic equipment for Western- and Eastern-style sheet formation. MCBA also has equipment for traditional marbling, hot stamping, leather tooling, wood engraving, screen printing, and alternative photographic techniques. The Shop, MCBA’s retail outlet, also offers a variety of supplies for printmaking, papermaking, and binding.

Selection Process and Criteria

Applications and supporting materials will be reviewed by MCBA staff and panelists from the book arts community. A variety of factors will be used to assess residency candidates. Basic criteria are listed below. These elements should be clearly articulated in the candidate’s letter of intent, project description, artist statement and resume. They should also be supported by work submitted for visual review.

  • Technical expertise as demonstrated through the artist’s body of work and practical experience
  • The specificity and clarity of artistic goals as expressed through the artist’s project description and artist statement
  • The degree to which the residency benefits the artist’s further development
  • A readiness by the artist to engage with MCBA’s community
  • An understanding of and willingness to work in a shared-studio environment
  • MCBA’s ability to offer support and equipment needed for project

Artist-in-Residence Benefits

  • $2000 stipend for supplies, travel and/or living expenses
  • 24-hour access to MCBA facilities and equipment, including a dedicated AIR studio with a press, cutting equipment and storage space
  • Consignment opportunity through The Shop at MCBA (acceptance of consignment works is at the discretion of Shop staff.)
  • Exhibition opportunities
  • Support from a community of working artists

Artist-in-Residence Responsibilities

  • Provide his/her own materials for work
  • Keep facilities and equipment clean and undertake regular maintenance and organizational tasks required for communal studio use
  • When possible, establish regular work hours. A final project calendar should be submitted to MCBA at the beginning of the residency term
  • Demonstrate a willingness to conduct demonstrations and/or participate in MCBA programming such as tours, exhibition openings and Book Arts Roundtable presentations
  • For artwork created in residence at MCBA, submit samples for the MCBA archive. The form of sample is negotiable based on the type of work created while in residence. Any material accepted shall be considered a donation and become the property of MCBA.

We are not currently accepting applications to Artist Residency Program.

Past Artists-in-Residence