St. Michael’s Printshop (SMP) has been a major part of the growing network of artist-run non-profit printmaking studios across Canada for over 47 years. Since its inception, SMP has provided professional printmaking facilities and a welcoming community studio space for artists of all skill levels. This environment cultivates unique artistic production and practices in dialogue to the larger art centers across Canada. At SMP we foster dynamism and diversity and to help artists experiment and expand in their practices. We promote, develop, and preserve printmaking as an art form and as a sustainable community building endeavor.
In 1974, acclaimed Newfoundland-based artists and printmakers Don Wright and Heidi Oberheide founded SMP as a direct response to a creative renaissance sweeping Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) in the late 60s and 70s. Set in a location unparalleled for breath-taking vistas and rugged coastlines, SMP offers incredible opportunities for open interaction and creative production via our nationally-renowned facilities. Within our artistic community, SMP provides artists with access to professional education, collaborations, and opportunities to engage with prominent Canadian contemporary artists. SMP connects our public with Canadian contemporary art and artists—introducing some to experiencing professional visual art and artists for the first time. Our activities increase visual literacy and promote visual art’s integral value in Canadian society. With an archive spanning 47 years of residencies and workshops from a diversity of professional printmakers both local and nationally renowned, SMP is also a site of research for arts writers, curators, and historians looking to find genuine narratives of artistic exchange from Atlantic Canada. The Collections are mandated to be a community-owned archive and sales collection, thus allowing SMP the opportunity to arrange for communal spaces to share in its display helping spark a new level of arts knowledge in this province.
One of the country’s few artist-run printmaking studios, St. Michael’s Printshop promotes, develops, and preserves printmaking as an art form. It provides space for artists to work; educational opportunities through scholarships and workshops; and residencies for international printmakers.
SMP’s primary objectives are to:
- maintain a print-production studio for professional and emerging visual artists engaged in contemporary and/or traditional printmaking practices;
- offer professional-development opportunities for professional and emerging visual artists;
- facilitate and promote activities that encourage exchange on technical and philosophical issues related to contemporary art practice among local, national, and international artists;
- facilitate custom-printing services to professional visual artists;
- promote and encourage printmaking among emerging visual artists;
- create and preserve a Print Archives Collection that holds one print from each edition printed in the studio since its inception in 1972;
- engage in exchange activities with other artist-run centers;and
- offer art education and outreach programs to the general public.
Who Are We For?
Everyone! Not only does SMP offer experienced artists a space to work and facilities to use, we also offer a diverse range of workshops for all experience levels. We want to bring the magic of printmaking to all who are interested.
What Can You Look Forward To In Our Programming?
Since our inception, SMP has been hosting artists from within our community and across the globe through our Visiting Artist Program. For over 40 years we have been promoting local, national, and international artists who come to the printshop to make art for one month. These artists meet and offer workshops to our local community. Six artists are selected per year, it is always worth checking out what kind of workshop they will offer, or coming to the Meet & Greet event when they arrive!
We also offer a range of workshops and classes. Would you like to take your family to a 1-day holiday-themed linoleum-printmaking card-making event? Or maybe you are an individual looking to “level-up” your printmaking skills through a 6-week copper-plate etching class? How about a workshop for lovers of rainbows who want to play with inky rollers? These are just a few of the options for workshops and classes at SMP.
Another piece of programming to look out for are our Open Studio Events. Folks can come to SMP, take a seat at a table and make drawings or prints alongside other artists. These events are a great way to meet new friends, learn about the facilities, get comfortable in the printshop, and play with materials.
How Does Membership Work?
Anyone can become a member of St. Michael’s Printshop – our memberships are affordable at $30 + tax for a one-year membership. If you are new to printmaking, a membership is your first step in taking all of the exciting workshops at SMP. If you are an experienced artist in printmaking who wants to use our facilities independently, this membership entitles you to start renting at SMP. There are many rental options, but essentially, renters can access the printshop 24/7 to be able to produce artworks in the space.
Sales Collection & Archives
You know what is really amazing about SMP? We have a historical archive containing over 3000 prints made by every artist who has ever printed at SMP. The fact that printmaking means artists can make multiples, historically, has meant that artists make what is known as an “edition.” For example, an artist working in intaglio (etching/scratching an image into a metal plate and printing off the plate), might create an edition of 10 prints at SMP. And every artist who prints at SMP agrees to donate 2 prints from their edition. One print goes to the historical archive, and the other print goes to our sales collection so we can fundraise.
How Does Staffing Work at SMP?
We have an Executive Director, Christeen Francis, who takes care of SMP’s daily operations and administration. Christeen is also an artist passionate about printmaking and bringing this artform to everyone, so she is an excellent captain of the SMP ship. SMP often has student and part-time assistants as well.
What Is An Artist-Run Centre?
An artist-run centre is an organization initiated and led by artists and community members. That means, you! We have a board of directors who are artists and community members, our committees are all artist-led…and we are always looking for more hands on deck!
Being a non-profit artist-run centre, we are funded by grants from organizations like Canada Council for the Arts, the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, the City of St. John’s, and the NL Cultural Economic Development Program. We rely on community partners, fundraising, volunteers, and TLC (tender, loving, care) to keep our organization vibrant.
Want To Learn More And Stay In Touch?
For the most up-to-date news and information, follow us on Facebook and Instagram. As well, check out our “news” page and sign up for our weekly newsletter, which we send out every Friday.
If you want to know more, or join us through volunteering on our board, a committee, or general volunteering, email firstname.lastname@example.org– you will likely speak to either Andrew Testa (the Chair of our Board of Directors), or Christeen Francis (our Executive Director).