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'Printober' at Plains celebrates art of printmaking

Some of the prints on the Printober print exchange. Special to The Forum1 / 4
Printmaker Amanda Heidt helps an aspiring artist during an art activity in the Plains Art Museum's Katherine Kilbourne Burgum Center for Creativity. Special to The Forum2 / 4
Printmaker Eric Johnson helped come up with the idea of Printober, a month of events and workshops dedicated to the art and education of printmaking. J. Earl Miller / Special to The Forum3 / 4
One of the prints on the Printober print exchange. Special to The Forum4 / 4

FARGO—The Plains Art Museum has stamped this month as Printober, with events and workshops dedicated to the art and education of printmaking.

Printober began as an idea between two local printmakers and art educators, Amanda Heidt and Eric Johnson. Heidt is the manager of Hannaher's, Inc. Print Studio located on the third floor of the Plains Art Museum, and Johnson is the PEARS Artist-in-Residence at North Dakota State University and an adjunct art professor throughout the state.

Heidt and Johnson have been planning this month-long educational celebration of printmaking for over a year to include artist-in-residence demonstrations, guest speakers, printmaking workshops and the Tri-College Print Exchange.

The Tri-College Print Exchange is a yearly event for local printmaking students to display and exchange their work. For this year, Heidt has invited not only the students to participate, but also alumni and current and past faculty from NDSU, Concordia College and Minnesota State University Moorhead.

Artists submit 25 of the same print made with the traditional printmaking process. In return, the artists receive 20 pieces of other artists' work. Two of the additional prints stay at the museum for educational purposes, and one print goes to each university.

"It's a great way to collect art," Heidt says. "And the beauty of the print exchange is that if you aren't participating, you can't purchase them."

There are over 30 participants in the exchange, with artists sending in work as far as Manhattan, London and Jamaica.

The opening reception for the Tri-College Print Exchange will be from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, with an artist talk from renowned Hawley-based artist Deborah Mae Broad. The exhibition of the prints will run until Jan. 7, 2017.

But Printober is not just for current artists to learn from each other. It's an opportunity for the whole community.

"The mission of the event is to educate the public about the art of printmaking. There is still a lot of confusion about the difference between the fine art of printmaking and what many people call the mass produced reproductions," Johnson says. "It is my hope that through these events, community members will be exposed to many facets of printmaking and increase their understanding of this unique art form."

Andrew Maus, director of the Plains, is excited to use their studio to spread the knowledge.

"Historically and continued today, prints have been a way for everyone to able to access fine art," Maus says. "The museum is also an education-forward museum, so we love to facilitate educational programs for all ages. Printober is the marriage of so much that makes Plains Art Museum and our community great."

Printober events

Artist-in-residence Elise Forer will be creating a pollinator-inspired wheatpasting project Tuesday, Oct. 11, through Saturday, Oct. 15, and it will be installed on the north exterior of Plains Art Museum's Center for Creativity.

Opening reception for the Tri-College Print Exchange, including artist talk by Deborah Mae Broad, is from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13.

• An all-level Monotype Screen Printing Workshop will be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct 22-23.

• Mississippi-based visiting artist Sean Starwars will be creating an addition at the PEARS Studio Oct. 24-26, printing limited-edition T-shirts on Oct. 27 and will be giving an artist talk at the Plains from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27.

• Printober will conclude Oct. 28, with the Final Friday Art Break, a gallery talk with artists featured in the Tri-College Art Exchange exhibition, from noon to 1 p.m.

This article is part of a content partnership with The Arts Partnership, a nonprofit organization cultivating the arts in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo. For more information, visit