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Re: [BKARTS] History

Paul T Werner wrote:

>You mean - you never received outside funding, from the
>New York State Council on the Arts for instance?

Not in the beginning. I referred to the first two years, 1974-76. An
organization was not eligible for NYSCA funding until it had been operating for
over one year. In the second year I applied for a NYSCA grant for the CBA, and
was awarded a grant for the following year. Then we were eligible then for NEA,
and were awarded several NEA grants, including exhibitions funding, and the
Master Craftsmen's Apprenticeship Program, which paid stipends to the

In the meantime, membership was growing. In 1975 we published the first issue of
Book Arts magazine, and sent it out with membership application cards in it.
That added 500 members. In those days membership was $5, which may or may not
have covered the cost of servicing the membership. So although that was "income"
I didn't include it in the concept of "financial backing."

In the Winter of 1976-7 I took a week's camping vacation in the Florida Keys.
While I was away, the apprentices ran the shop. When I returned I discovered
that without asking (or informing) me, they had mounted an exhibition of their
own work, designed, printed and mailed invitations. It was a surprise that made
me very proud of them.

The Center could not afford to pay me a salary in the beginning, and several
years later the Board of Directors asked if I would forgive the $16,000 in back
salary I was owed as Executive Director from 1974-76 (at $8,000 per year). I
did, and they gave me free perennial use of the facilities (most of which which
I had donated or obtained as donations).

Lest you think I was independently wealthy, that was not the case. I had no
income other than from my work as a bookbinder/printer/artist. I had no savings.
At times it was hanging by a thread. There was no family money behind me. My
parents had died when I was a child. My grandmother was guardian jointly with
the guardianship clerk of the Surrogate's Court. Growing up I was supported by
Social Security. It wasn't enough to meet expenses. At the age of 13 I bought a
5x8 Kelsey press and 6 cases of hand type and started a printing business. My
junior high school homeroom class was a 15% commission sales team. That Kelsey
press is now at the Center for Book Arts.



Paul T Werner wrote:

From: Richard Minsky <minsky@MINSKY.COM>

>>>When I started the Center for Book Arts in 1974 it took two years of intense
>>> work without a single day off. There was no financial backing. The Center
>>> supported by the production work of the apprentices and by class tuitions.

>>Funny, that's not how I remember it...

>Paul, please expand on your recollection. What is it that you remember about
>Center for Book Arts finances (or my schedule) during the period 1974-1976 that

>differs from the paragraph you quoted?

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