Jerome Book Arts Residency XVI: Exhibition Opening Soon!

Left: Brooks Turner. Top right: Leah Willemin. Bottom right: Nicole Soley.

Minnesota Center for Book Arts is pleased to announce an exhibition featuring the recipients of our sixteenth series of the MCBA/Jerome Foundation Book Arts Residency. These early career book artists include St. Paul printmaker Nicole Soley; Minneapolis artist, writer, and educator Brooks Turner; and St. Paul-based artist and designer Leah Willemin. The exhibition will be on view from November 5, 2022–January 7, 2023, with an opening reception on Friday, November 11 from 6–8pm.

Nicole Soley created a series of four screen printed pop-up books exploring her experience growing up as a child of divorced parents. “The manipulation of the pop up… lent itself well to the questions central to my illustrations surrounding my upbringing: Did I have control or agency as a child experiencing divorce?” Nicole asks. Her artwork has been featured in exhibitions nationally and internationally including Highpoint’s Outstanding Affiliates Exhibition, Bankside Gallery’s The Masters Screen and Stone, and the Atlanta Print Biennial, to name a few.

Brooks Turner created a book that is a bibliography of researched content focused on fascism in Minnesota, which he says is “once again a threat to democracy.” The bibliography has been painstakingly painted on each handmade sheet of paper; Brooks made the paper from recycled newspapers from a previous project, Legends and Myths in Ancient Minnesota. “I see art as a tool for engaging the structures of history, for exposing and deconstructing ideologies of whiteness enshrined by textbooks, libraries, archives, and museums,” he explains. Accompanying the book is a woven tapestry of digital paintings depicting historical figures linked to fascist and anti-fascist narratives in Minnesota. Turner’s work has been supported by the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Minnesota Humanities Center, Rimon: The Minnesota Jewish Federation, and the Minnesota State Inter-Faculty Organization, as well as the Jerome Foundation.

Leah Willemin used LiDAR (light detection and ranging) scan data, below-ground robotic scans, webcam shots, and in-person observation to construct a 3-D book that mimics the contents of a peat bog. Willemin worked with the SPRUCE experiment in Northern Minnesota, which looks at how peatlands might respond to climate change, including the potential to release centuries of stored carbon. “The 3-D form of this book mimics the depth of a bog and invites the viewer to consider what is not seen, or what is hidden within… Wetlands themselves are also often overlooked and poorly understood. The complex life they support is not always flashy, but instead demands quiet and close attention,” she writes. Her work has been exhibited at MCBA, Northfield Arts Guild, and the University of Aalto, and has been acquired by the Minnesota Historical Society.

The MCBA/Jerome Foundation Book Arts Residency is designed to advance early career book artists both critically and creatively in their practice. Among other benefits, the artists receive a $3,000 project stipend, educational stipend, 24/7 access to MCBA studios, participation in group critiques with MCBA staff and guest critics, and professional documentation of exhibition artwork, as well as recognition through this culminating exhibition in MCBA’s Main Gallery.

Join us for the in-person opening reception on Friday, November 11 from 6-8pm! Masks are required.


Since 1985, the Jerome Foundation has helped early career artists push the boundaries of contemporary book arts by supporting the creation of new work. Through these fellowship and mentorship opportunities, Minnesota artists of diverse disciplines have created book arts projects that challenge and redefine conventional notions of book form and content.