The longest-running community print shop in the United States, dating back to 1947, EFA RBPMW will use their grant of 50,000 USD to complete a video-based oral history, Creative Graphic Community: Oral Histories Project, to document founder Robert Blackburn (1920-2003) and the history of the community workshop.
Raised within the Harlem Renaissance and of Jamaican American descent, Blackburn was not only a visionary African-American artist but also a pioneering master printmaker and celebrated educator.
EFA RBPMW has over 20,000 prints by over 4,000 artists, including Elizabeth Catlett, Charles White, Krishna Reddy, Faith Ringgold, Melvin Edwards. A diverse record of printmaking in the United States like no other, the archive reflects the various communities with which Blackburn participated, like the Harlem Renaissance, Black Arts Movement, and Caribbean, Latino, Asian, Indigenous, feminist, and ecologically-focused activism.
This oral history will collect narratives of the artists, staff, curators, and others who have been instrumental in the Printmaking Workshop community. Ten narrators, all in their 70s and 80s, will share personal stories that document the socio-historical context in which the community and collective formed, and the cultural collaborations it engendered.
For more information on EFA Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, please visit their website.