A new location for letterpress printing, photography, book binding and fine printing opened up in Frederick and will soon be offering classes and gallery shows.

Frederick Book Arts Center held an open house Saturday at its location at 217 W. Patrick Street to show the community what the center is all about and how people can get involved.

“We are a place that’s devoted to teaching people in our community about the art of letterpress printing,” said Johnny Carerra, book artist and executive director of the center. “Our plan is to really make connections with different groups in Frederick.”

At the open house, attendees got to check out multiple presses, some more than 100 years old, and even make their own heart dingbat — a little cast metal design that will print on a letterpress.

The space will offer a gallery in the front and printing classes in the back, Carerra said. The equipment will also be available to both professionals and those taking classes. The center will eventually be open for school field trips to learn the art of letterpress.

“The vision is really to empower people to make their creative ideas visible,” he said. “It’s making it visible and building bridges between different areas of Frederick.”

Stephanie Garmey and Quentin Moseley both teach at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and traveled to Frederick to attend the open house. Garmey teaches book art and Moseley teaches printmaking.

“To have an effort like this takes a big amount of undertaking, no question about it,” Moseley said. “It’s a lot of sweat to move a printmaking studio around.”

He said there’s a camaraderie among “print people” to establish centers like FBAC where they can come together.

Garmey said she was excited to tell her students that there’s another location nearby to practice printing as she explained when they graduate they don’t always have a place to go to use printing equipment.

It’s very important for small presses to survive, Moseley said, as it’s become a bigger piece of the fine arts.

“It’s great to see that it’s still happening,” he said. “I hope it attracts a lot of people.”

The non-profit is also looking for volunteers, according to Corrine Wilson, volunteer coordinator for the center. Once a volunteer begins, an hour of their time gets them an hour of studio time for free.

“I think the community really wants something like this,” Wilson said. “I think Frederick itself has such a great art presence. Little bits and pieces of this are in other art centers here but nothing that’s dedicated to it. So I think people will be really excited to use the vintage presses that we have to learn how to make your own books.”

Classes will begin in March and start at $40.

For more information about the center, go to Frederickbookarts.org. For more information on volunteering, email Corrine.wilson@fredbookartscenter.org.

Follow CJ Fairfield on Twitter @FairfieldCj

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