Starting today, I will be documenting my residency work at Longwood University, taking place starting today through April, 2014. I’ll be living and working in Farmville (and sleeping in a modified dorm room) and commuting back to Tuscaloosa, AL for the first week of every month to facilitate Art Night at The Southern Letterpress. While I’m in Farmville, I will be printing for The Southern Letterpress, and working on two books projects. The Southern Letterpress will be open for a limited schedule while I am gone, and utilized as a workspace by a great roster of talented people, including Firebrand Press, Curly Head Press and Southern Pest Prints.
One of the book projects I will be producing during my residency at Longwood is a collaboration with the Farmville community and Longwood University about the Free Schools (see more info below). The other project is a limited edition artist book, printed with metal type, about the human brain’s reaction to trauma.
The Free Schools Project
In 1959, the County Board of Supervisors closed the public schools in Prince Edward County Virginia in protest of integration. Five years later the Prince Edward Free School association, a federally mandated and privately funded organization, re-opened the public schools to children of all races. 2014 is the 50th anniversary of the opening of these schools.
I will be working with students and faculty in the art and history departments and the Farmville community to create a limited edition fine press book that documents and commemorates the story of the free schools. The book will recreate the history of the free schools as it relates to the student experience through transcribed oral narratives, newspaper clippings and imagery. Free School uses Bound for Freedom by Neil Sullivan (the 1965 memoir of the superintendent of the free schools) as a starting point and research reference.The production of the book will take place in the Longwood University’s book arts facility. Students and volunteers from the community will make the paper, print and bind the final edition.