Following major funding and staff cuts this past February, New York City’s Seaport Museum closed its Bowne & Company Stationers, a well-known and well-liked working printing studio as well as a documentary exhibit of historical printing processes. Now, efforts are underway to reopen the studio.
A new group called “Friends of Bowne” have created a broadside, fittingly printed at The Arm studio in Williamsburg, to fight for the studio. The elegantly printed sheet notes that the Bowne studio is “a part of New York City history” and “a tribute to the craft of letterpress printing,” not to mention “a neighborhood shop in the Seaport District.” See the full flier at the bottom of this post. The print isn’t just a public protest — the group is organizing an awareness-raising party and exhibition for Bowne.
The event will feature prints and other artifacts of the printing art from Bowne, and will be hosted at The Arm (281 North 7th Street in Williamsburg) this Thursday, May 5 at 7 pm. Visitors will also have the opportunity to create their own prints and experience some of Bowne’s history.
The group doesn’t just seek to reopen Bowne, rather, they want to make the studio an independently managed entity from the Seaport Museum, keeping it stable and financially viable as well as preserving the studio’s collections. It seems like this institution doesn’t necessarily really need the backing of a larger institution to remain relevant and popular. Hand-printing processes, particularly letterpress, have become incredible fashionable, as has the 18th century aesthetic the shop embraces.
Friends of Bowne’s full broadsheet is below. If you’re a print aficionado, a fan of the Victorian era or just love old school type, be sure to go check it out and show your support.