This Saturday, June 27, the Spudnik Press Cooperative will host the eleventh annual Printers Ball. In a conversation held via email, Angee Lennard, the founder and director of the Spudnik Press Cooperative, explained that this year’s festival will be unlike the ones that preceded it in two distinct ways: “First, this Printers Ball will be more hands-on and tactile than ever.” As Lennard notes, one such example of this is evident in the number of workshops that the Spudnik Press Printshop will run, allowing this year’s attendees multiple opportunities to create their own prints.
Lennard also explains the other way this year’s festival will be unique: “Second, we want to deepen the level of conversation among participants and guests. We have many ways for guests to contribute their own voice, from live lit with Story Club Chicago, to roundtable conversations, to subtle gestures like writing a short poem in exchange for a plant.”
This deepening of conversation is a reflection of the festival’s theme this year, “Push & Pull,” which, as Lennard explains, “signifies to us complete engagement from everyone involved, including attendees, and hints at the healthy tension that can come from true dialogue.”
The kickoff event, the Steamroller Spectacular, perfectly exemplifies the participatory nature of this festival. According to Lennard, Spudnik Press Cooperative has enlisted hundreds of artists and students of all ages to carve woodblocks and on Saturday guests will have the opportunity to help select and arrange the blocks to be printed onto banners using a steamroller.
In addition to the participatory nature of the Printers Ball, the festival attendees can also expect to notice its generous and inclusive nature. “Everyone that attends will leave with art in their hands, guaranteed,” says Lennard. She also points out the family-friendliness of the festival. Most of the activities are kid-friendly and there will be a private area especially for families and breast-feeding moms.
All in all, this year’s Printers Ball is shaping up to be, simply put, a good time. CHIRP radio will be playing in the parking lot. The Printers Ball Marketplace will feature an assortment of publishers and artists including Curbside Splendor Publishing, Poetry Magazine, Issue Press, Justin Santora and Nicolette Ross. As Lennard notes, “Inside the building, there are six different spaces each hosting unique programs, including roundtable conversations, readings, workshops and harder-to-describe projects like ‘The Bryce Buck Exchange’ that involves printing and trading an invented currency.”
The festival includes overlapping programs. Lennard recommends that guests pick a couple they want to see for sure and then enjoy the rest of the afternoon at their own pace. Basic admission is free, or five dollars for general admission, which guarantees you access at Bryce McCloud’s keynote address. (Kim Steele)
June 27, 2pm-10pm, Hubbard Street Lofts, 1821 West Hubbard, (312)563-0302. Free and open to the public.