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[BKARTS] Mutanabbi Street Starts Here at South Florida's Jaffe Center for Book Arts

at Florida Atlantic University's Wimberly Library

Summer Exhibition

* * * * *

Now through July 28, 2008

On March 5, 2007, a car bomb was detonated on Mutanabbi Street, the centuries-old center of bookselling in Baghdad. Soon afterwards, an international group of poets, writers, artists, letterpress printers, booksellers, and readers gathered to create the Mutanabbi Street Coalition--in response not only to the tragedy of the 30 deaths and 100 injuries, but also to the idea of a targeted attack on a street that has always been a place for the exchange of ideas.

The coalition’s goal was to respond to the tragedy with positive creativity: by printing broadsides featuring the work of Iraqi poets and supporting Doctors Without Borders––a non-profit agency working to relieve suffering in Iraq and in other troubled areas of the world––through the sales of these broadsides.

San Francisco poet and bookseller Beau Beausoleil is the coalition's founder and organizer. This exhibition at Florida Atlantic University marks the first time these broadsides have been shown collectively outside of California. FAU Libraries has also undertaken the task of creating a digital library of the project, and one complete set of the broadsides will remain here permanently at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts. (I'll be writing again soon with information on the digital library project, which will allow people around the globe to view this important and historic collection of broadsides.)

This library-wide exhibition runs through Monday, July 28, 2008. This includes the main lobby of the Wimberly Library, the Wimberly Administrative Offices (2nd floor west), and the lobby of the Jaffe Center for Book Arts (3rd floor east). The exhibition may be viewed anytime during regular library hours, which may be found at www.library.fau.edu/geninfo/hours.htm?boca or by calling 561-297-3770. A few of the broadsides are being exhibited inside the Jaffe Center; these may be viewed during regular JCBA hours: Monday through Friday, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

Find more details on Mutanabbi Street Starts Here at the "Exhibitions" link at our website:


We'll be hosting a Mutanabbi Street poetry reading and performance of traditional Arabic music, featuring an ensemble on kanoun, oud, and hand drums, sometime in July... an announcement on that will follow as details become more concrete. Funds raised at that performance, which will take place at the JCBA Gallery, will support Doctors Without Borders, as well. And participants in a letterpress workshop here at JCBA will be creating new broadsides to add to the archive. Participants, in fact, become part of the coalition, as they, too, get to react with positive creativity:


Mutanabbi Street Starts Here
with instructor John Cutrone

Five Sessions: June 4 to June 25, plus July 30, 2008
(Wednesday Evenings) 6pm to 9pm
Jaffe Center for Book Arts
Letterpress Studio 351H
Plan on studio time outside of class, as well.
$225 general public / $155 FAU faculty & staff / $105 FAU students

A new goal of the Mutanabbi Street Coalition is to increase the number of broadsides from the original 42 to about 130, which is a number that represents an approximation of the total number of dead and wounded on Mutanabbi Street the day of the attack. In this class, participants will each produce a Mutanabbi Street broadside to be added to this historic archive. You may work with your own material, or with the Mutanabbi Street inspired work of poets that the Coalition has gathered. In the process, participants will learn to design on the Macintosh and print from photopolymer plates, using the Boxcar Base grid system, as well as from traditional wood type. Each student will create an edition of 11 broadsides for the Mutanabbi Street Coalition, as well as enough for a class exchange and one that will be added to the Jaffe Collection, and also a few copies for the poet you work with. A larger edition is perfectly acceptable, too.

Note that we will not be exposing and making our own photopolymer plates in this class; we will be sending our plate images directly to Boxcar Press for this step. But the design and printing is completely your work to do. Experience with Adobe InDesign and Adobe Photoshop is highly recommended (we’ll be using the CS3 version of both programs), but not necessary (plan to put in some extra time if you are not familiar with these programs).

All levels. No print experience necessary. Class limit: 8, plus studio assistant. Note that the class selection process will not be a First Come First Served one; rather, we want to hear a short statement as to why participation in this project would be important to you. We will select the class participants based on these statements.

Participants are responsible for their own paper and plate expenses (expect to spend $100 to $150 on materials... your printing plates will cost no more than $100 (and perhaps considerably less) and paper expense will depend on your choice of paper). A parking permit fee of $17 also applies for participants who do not have a regular FAU parking permit.

Simply send me an email telling me that you are interested, and give me a short statement as to why participating in this historic project is important to you. As I mentioned above, we will be selecting the class members based on these statements. Class selection has already begun, so please send your statement as soon as possible.

One work study scholarship is available to a currently-enrolled FAU student, who will take the role of studio assistant to the instructor. The scholarship student will pay no tuition, but will be responsible for the cost of his or her own printing plates and paper. In exchange for this opportunity, the scholarship student will be expected to provide assistance as needed to the instructor (but I promise the burden will be light). To apply, simply let me know in your email application that you are interested in the scholarship. We will follow up with an additional question or two for you to answer.

* * * * *

As Palm Beach Post arts editor Gary Schwan noted last week when writing about Mutanabbi Street Starts Here: "Art galleries at area colleges have no off-season." This is an amazing collection of work that will move you, and if you're in our area, I hope you will come by to view it. It's the summer semester, so parking is a breeze! And if you come by, be sure to stop in and say hello.


John Cutrone Programs Coordinator The Arthur & Mata Jaffe Center for Book Arts Florida Atlantic University Wimberly Library 777 Glades Road Boca Raton, Florida 33431 http://www.jaffecollection.org

NOW ONLINE, The Bonefolder, Vol. 4, No. 2, 2008 at
For all your subscription questions, go to the
Book_Arts-L FAQ and Archive.
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This page last changed: May 21, 2008