A little more about ArtShare and the Northeast Library’s “life size book” project


Let’s get one thing straight right away. The new “life-size” book project that ArtShare and the Northeast Library are co-sponsoring early next year isn’t a huge, people-sized book.

It’s a book sized book, nine pages long, measuring 11 x 23 inches.

ArtShare is a non-profit Northeast-based group of artists who specialize in community art. Artists Laura Brown and Bridget O’Malley will host four free book-making workshops—one in January, three in February—that start with participants brainstorming about images that define Northeast. (Brown will eventually turn those ideas into illustrations.) The next three sessions offer insight into actual book production: papermaking, printmaking and bookbinding.

When it’s done, everybody gets to take home a small version of the Northeast Life Size Book. The original will go on display at its permanent home in the Northeast Library, 22nd and Central Ave. NE.

Jennifer Arave, ArtShare co-founder, said the project is geared to the community. “It’s multi-generational, open to anybody 8 years old and up. The community will come up with the content including layout, shape, ideas and sketches. Laura will do the final images.” She said Brown, a Northeast resident, is an award-winning illustrator; O’Malley is an award-winning paper maker and book maker. The book will follow the seasons and time of day, with daytime and nighttime pictures.

Arave said that earlier this year she approached former Northeast librarian Lois Porfiri with the workshop idea. The Northeast Library had just re-opened March 31, 2012, after an 18-month long closure for renovation. “I was thinking that we’ve built this beautiful place and it has a lot of technology and many computers. I wanted to get back to the book. Lois liked the idea, and included the book project in the library’s winter class curriculum.” (Last month, Porfiri was transferred to the Maple Grove library; the new senior librarian, Laurie Simonson, who started Nov. 20, will oversee the library’s participation.)

Arave said she estimates that the total project will cost about $7,000, with the bulk of the money coming from the community through donations and fundraisers. Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund has pledged $1,200 to the project. The money will go toward materials, promotion, transportation costs for people with disabilities, and will also pay for the artists’ time.

The workshops will be Saturdays, 1-3 p.m. on Jan. 26 at the Northeast Library, 2200 Central Ave. NE; February 2 and 9 at Edison High School, 700 22nd Ave. NE; and Feb. 16, Northeast Library. For information on the project, call ArtShare 612-432-1512. To register for the workshop, call the Northeast Library, 612-543-6775.