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In Praise of New York's Center for Book Arts

Has any one else noticed what a terrific place the Center for Book Arts
in New York has become? There's a new welcome mat, friendly faces
and lots of people willing to take time to explain and answer questions
for the visitor and the veteran. There's alot going on there now, too.

It's difficult to live and work as an artist in New York. The apartment that
worked pretty well for me for more than thirty years as a design office,
offered insufficient room to spread out and make books now that I devote
myself almost solely to my personal work.

I have become a "monthly renter" at the Center and feel
as though I can tackle just about anything in our new digs.
I like saying "our" because I do feel a part of it. Not only is there a
greeting from every corner when the elevator door opens,
but a staff that reaches out and makes just about
everything easier to accomplish. Each time I tackle something new
there are plenty of people around: working, teaching and, best of all,
willing to share, take a look, and give pats on the back. I seem to need
those now and then. There's ample table space, great loft light,
a place to leave supplies.

Thursday evenings are penciled in on my Month At A Glance, now too.
I'm trying to make it a priority to be there, because everything
book artists do is such a surprise.
Thursday night from 7:00 to 9:00 something's happening
at the Center: changing exhibitions, African drummers, slide shows,
lively discussion, poetry, even tango music. These evenings
introduce me to other book artists, binders and poets.
It seems a greater community is developing.

The buzz is that a great deal of all of this has to do with Rory Golden
our new director and I would tend to agree. Ever notice how he introduces
everyone to one another? That's contagious. It makes all the difference
in creating a center where people feel welcome and get to know one another.

Many of us are putting on our chef's caps this week to plan our offerings
for the upcoming Annual International Edible Book Tea Party. Last year's
was great fun. My Tango Book Cake cost more to make than it brought
at auction, but that's because I had a meringue that wouldn't come off
the baking pan. In desperation I used Pepperidge Farm and cream cheese
instead! It pleased me no end when our esteemed Richard Minsky bid on it
and won! If you're in town, please come to the Tea Party. You won't believe
what people make for this event!

Come any time, take a class, rent space, buy a book, see what we're all doing
-- and, of course, make a book.
Alice Simpson
<A HREF="http://www.geocities.com/tangobook/">

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