The Newark Print Shop, a local printmaking studio on University Avenue, is the place to be on Wednesday nights.
From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. every Wednesday, Lisa Conrad, a Newark based artist, teacher, and The Print Shop’s co-founder, hosts Print Club, a weekly printmaking night where seasoned printmakers and rookies alike can come together to utilize the open studio to make prints.
“I think the number one commodity for an artist is space, you might have a vision but you need space to actually make it happen,” said Conrad.
With a grant from The Newark Arts Council, Conrad started Art Bound in 2012, an arts initiative that gave Newark high school students space to create while teaching them the art of papermaking, printmaking and book arts in her own personal art studio. The program would eventually rebrand itself as The Newark Print Shop after a fire claimed Conrad’s studio in 2012.
Three years later, Newark Print Shop is now home to Print Club Wednesday, an Artist Residency Program, workshops and an open studio available by appointment.
Print Club Wednesday is the shop’s most popular event, and at 6 p.m. every Wednesday, local artists, business owners, children and parents flood the 2nd floor walk-up for a chance to make prints for a $10 donation.
“My partner said that we’re like the speakeasy of printmaking, and I thought yeah, we kind of are,” said Conrad with a laugh.
Print Club attendees casually congregate over food and beverages while making prints on paper or t-shirts for anything from personal use or to promote an existing business. With help from Conrad, shop education director Stephen McKinsey, and the resident artists, new printmakers are guided through the step-by-step process of making a print. When it’s all done, the print shop celebrates the #firstprintever with the shops’ social media community.
“I think what makes people keep coming back to Print Club is the enjoyment of the process. They’re doing something with their hands, and they’re creating something. And that’s always exciting,” said Mckinsey.
Print Club first-timers often become print club regulars, and those who have attended a print club can attest to the fact that it isn’t just a print making class, but is rather a congregation of a variety of creative professionals who are interested in the art of printmaking.
“You don’t have to be a printmaker to come to The Print Shop. The point of it all is to make printmaking accessible to everyone in the community; it’s a community space. So everyone is welcome,” said Conrad.
Conrad, Mckinsey and The Print Club are revitalizing a famed Newark art medium while making sure everyone partakes in the process one way or the other.
“I like think that our job here at The Print Club is to seed the city of Newark with printmakers and watch them grow,” said Mckinsey.
The Newark Print Shop is located at 304 University Avenue. FL 2. Open Studio Print Club hours: Wednesdays 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. Print club is on hiatus until Wednesday, September 2.