The Wells College Book Arts Center was where I found my home for the last couple years of college, and I could not be more indebted to an organization. I found myself in a bind when the college announced that the Center would be self-sustaining after 2011. Myself, and another book binding intern, Alex, decided to take matters into our own hands. We attended meetings with trustees and with the President to speak about the impact that such a Center has on its students, and the impact it had on our Wells Community.
When we weren’t getting many of the answers we wanted (a lot of “thank you for sharing” and “I am glad it means so much to you”) Alex and I started running workshops at the center for the community and for the college itself, but we didnt stop there. In addition to Holiday Card workshops, we had card and book sales, interviews with the school magazine, worked on one of the first Wells College Press publications in a long time– we wanted the community to see how important the book arts center was to us, and what a gem it was for students to discover. The Center’s leadership was in meetings with donors and encouraging us to do whatever we could, they were supportive and got us involved with local art shows etc.
I don’t think that we could have helped create a swarm of interest in the Center without the help of the current “handmade” culture. Luckily, we live in a world that is advanced, where cell phones are computers and offices can exist in coffee shops. However, there is a human desire for the real, the authentic, the handmade, or handcrafted.
As for Wells, the tradition we started continues on, with a lot of community involvement at the Center. They have a blog that showcases some of the work they do.