Our rich and unique culture is often part of the discussion for what makes Western New York such a terrific community. And typically, what Western New Yorkers love most about our culture are the not-so-common or run-of-the-mill gems that make up the cornerstones of our community. Look no further for one such gem, which can be found on the corner of Washington and Mohawk. Founded in 2005 by local font designer Richard Kegler and his wife Carima El Behairy, the Western New York Book Arts Center (WNYBAC) was established to preserve the art and history of bookmaking and printing in Buffalo.
How cool is that?
Printing and bookmaking are becoming somewhat of a lost art form, and here in Buffalo, we have a placed dedicated to preserving the history and beauty of it. And not just through the art and history of the craft, but through education, creation and exhibition for the community to share. Absolutely fantastic.
So, you’re intrigued. How do you get involved? There are many ways. First, take a look at the myriad workshops the center offers, from screenprinting t-shirts to papermaking to making letterpressed valentines for the kids. WNYBAC also offers regular open studio times for those who are looking to hone their newfound skills. Second, attend one of the many events and exhibitions WNYBAC hosts throughout the year for the community to enjoy, including the annual Edible Book Festival on March 30 that invites participants to create books from edible materials. The books are exhibited, judged, and consumed during the event. Or, in July, come to Buffalo BookFest, a day-long festival celebrating the book arts with free workshops, an artist market, and steamroller printmaking. Next, get involved through internships and volunteering, or become a member. Last but not least, the center boasts a wide range of products to shop from notebooks to greeting cards to t-shirts. Pop into the shop and pick up some local wares or just browse some incredible bookmaking and printing equipment and machinery that feels of days long ago.
According to WNYBAC Program Director Khrista Tabak, the center wants “to help people connect to the physical world around them,” noting that in today’s 2.0 world, “it’s easy to forget how remarkable craft can be. Using your hands to create something beautiful is an irreplaceable phenomenon, and that’s what we’re working to preserve.”
Western New York Book Arts Center
468 Washington Street