Case Statement for PrintMattersFormed by five Houston based artists in 2009, PrintMatters is an organization made up of artists, art professionals, and collectors who share the common goal of promoting awareness of and appreciation for printmaking in the city of Houston. The organization’s mission is to promote traditional and non-traditional printmaking, encourage print collecting and further the professional growth of our members through city-wide outreach, public art functions, and annual member exhibitions. Within that scope, PrintMatters produces two widely successful city-wide events, Rockin’ Rollin’ Prints and PrintHouston.
Rockin’ Rollin’ Prints is a “steamroller” printmaking event held annually in April. Artists of all levels—from students to professionals—are invited to carve woodblocks up to 3X5 feet. In 2014, 82 artists from throughout Texas participated. A group of 125 volunteers—made up of PrintMatters members, their friends and families, college students, the participating artists, and interested community members—spend the day inking, handling paper, printing and hanging the prints. The event is open to the public. The paper and ink are donated. A small fee is charged to the artists to defray the costs of rental equipment and supplies.
PrintHouston is a biannual summer-long, city-wide celebration of printmaking. Galleries (both commercial and educational), museums, non-profit and alternative art spaces, local schools, and businesses host exhibitions, demonstrations, panel discussions, lectures, artist talks, and workshops throughout Houston. PrintHouston has introduced many national print artists to Houston, while educating the general public about the many methods used to produce original prints. This biannual event is not only a crucial connection between the need of PrintMatters and the arts community of Houston, but is also a distinct outlet for up and coming print artists.
PrintMatters is volunteer-run organization whose members range throughout North America and Europe. While the membership remains open to any individual or entity interested in its mission, all of our current programming and outreach revolves around the city of Houston and its growing arts community and invite everyone to be a part of it. Since 2009, Houston’s print community has grown exponentially. The opening of several local artist’s shops and our continued mission to coordinate exhibitions of print related work, conducting educational printing workshops, and serving as a resource for news in the international field of printmaking has been a pivotal part in that growth. Our members are invited to participate in annual membership exhibitions, have access to art-related and professional workshops, and have the opportunity to engage in the Houston art community.
However, in order for these two wildly popular events to maintain their steady growth within the arts community there is a true need for more support: financial and volunteer. By increasing sponsorship or in-kind donations of supplies and equipment would allow PrintMatters to decrease the cost of participation to the public. Ideally, PrintMatters would like for the Rockin’ Rollin’ Prints event to become profitable so that it may continue serving the community in other ways. Since the beginning of PrintMatters, membership and call-for-entry fees, silent auctions of donated artwork, and generous contributions from individuals have funded our operations. However, there is a need for more funding and assistance with the management of funding so that the organization can continue to fulfill its goals and to meet the growing needs of its current members as well as its future members.
PrintMatters recognizes that the organization cannot thrive unless we provide a continuous membership growth, more financial stability, and an ongoing set of educational events for the general public. With this recognition, we are currently developing programming that will resonate to the non-artist and national artists; in both public and participating membership. PrintHouston has become a solid resource for the networking, education, and should be the premiere event for the showcasing of Fine Art Printmaking in a national level. Planning into the future of PrintMatters, the need to meet the needs of its current and future membership base by finding a “brick and mortar” facility that would provide space for membership meetings, board offices, storage for event equipment, a print studio and exhibitions. This space will give PrintMatters the freedom to increase the visibility of not just the organization but the city of Houston as a premiere fine art printmaking community. In order to do so, PrintMatters needs continued funding, community support, and members to take on the task of promotion and to be comprehensively involved in the event.