Yet another reason you're lucky to be in Chicago: Our own Columbia College is home to the largest book-and-paper-arts teaching facility in the country. Not as obscure as you might think, the age-old arts of letterpress, papermaking and hand bookbinding are enjoying a resurgence in popularity among artists, writers and the DIY crowd, to name a few.
Housed on the second floor of the historic Ludington building just south of the Loop, the gallery attracts exhibitions of all things paper, printed or bound. Chicagoans flock to the Center for inspiration from collections such as the socially conscious "Politics on Paper" (which featured posters made from landmine victims' clothing blended with shredded money from mine-producing nations) and the awesome-at-any-age Pop-Up and Movable Book Show. Exhibits run for about six weeks.
The Center is a graduate department at Columbia, but offers a variety of community classes and workshops for non-students, as well as several free public lectures, each semester. Whether you're learning advanced arts like photographic image emulsion lifts or simply want to print your own wedding invitations, the online schedule is worth checking out. Teachers are local experts, out-of-state visitors and the occasional MFA student. Cheap Bookbinding and Cheap Papermaking days are also made possible, thanks to grant money from the Illinois Arts Council. The $25 spots fill quickly, so plan ahead!
Centerstage Reviewer: Julia Steinberger