MCBA Presents “Playing With Words”

April 30, 2019

Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) presents Playing With Words, an exhibition in collaboration with the Loft Literary Center’s first annual Wordplay, Minnesota’s largest celebration of readers, writers and great books. MCBA has commissioned 14 letterpress printers from around the country to create an edition of broadsides featuring selections of text by writers Jericho Brown, Anders Carlson-Wee, Tina Chang, Franny Choi, Mark Conway, Ross Gay, Dobby Gibson, Mary Karr, Ed Bok Lee, Gregory Pardlo, Morgan Parker, and Natasha Trethewey.

A large sheet of paper printed on one side only, broadsides are a popular and historically important form of street literature, a work of art designed to be read in public spaces, encouraging a communal reading experience. Plastered onto walls or sold in town squares, broadsides were used to inform the public about current news, publicize protests and events, issue proclamations in the form of ballads, and share poetry with a wide audience. Broadsides were the social media of their day, offering vivid insights into the daily activities and attitudes of individuals and communities. Today, broadside printing is often a fine art variant of poems, illustrations, and designs. Broadside printers for Playing With Words include Kent Aldrich, Tia Blassingame, H. R. Buechler, Mary Clare Butler, Angela Davis Fegan, Chris Fritton, Amos Paul Kennedy Jr., Amy Leners, Rachel Melis, Kelly Taylor Mitchell, Scott Murphy, Austin Nash, Radha Pandey, and CB Sherlock.

Please join MCBA for a public reception and free community broadside printing event in collaboration with Minneapolis-based Proof Public on May 11th, 2019 from 12-3 pm in MCBA’s studios. Prints by Proof Public will also be on view in MCBA’s Outlook Gallery on Washington Avenue.

About Minnesota Center for Book Arts

Founded in 1983, Minnesota Center for Book Arts is a nonprofit visual arts center that provides educational and artistic programming in the book arts, which encompass bookbinding, letterpress printing, papermaking, and more. With over 12,000 sq. ft of studio, classroom, and professional gallery space, MCBA serves emerging and established artists, youth, schools, libraries, arts organizations, collectors, and lifelong learners and appreciators of the book. MCBA is located in the historic Open Book building in downtown Minneapolis, alongside partner organizations The Loft Literary Center and Milkweed Editions. To learn more, visit