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Re: [BKARTS] History

For what it's worth, Richard's account jibes with my own recollection of
the events. I was on the Board of the NYCBA in the late 70's, and even
then, having gotten a few of the early grants, we were still living hand
to mouth. If ever there was an organization that owes its origination
and continued existence to the almost unbelievable efforts of one
person, it is the New York Center for Book Arts and Richard Minsky.

-David S. Rose
 Five Roses Press

-----Original Message-----
From: Book_Arts-L: READ THE FAQ at http://www.philobiblon.com
[mailto:BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU] On Behalf Of Richard Minsky
Sent: Sunday, October 06, 2002 9:47 AM
Subject: 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 apprentices.

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 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.


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