Art Out Loud: Sylvan Way Youth Make Their Voices Heard

On June 22, a group of enthusiastic kids (and their guardians) gathered at the Sylvan Way location to learn the basics of letterpress thanks to Youth Services Librarian Kathleen Kondek and Bainbridge Island Museum of Art Education and DEI Advancement Programs Manager Becky Johnston.

During Art Out Loud: Letterpress, attendees had the opportunity to create their own letterpress print using ink and a provisional press.

The Art Out Loud program receives grant funding from ArtsWA and the National Education Association (NEA), which seeks to create spaces for art, language and community-building, emphasizing historically marginalized and underrepresented voices. Art Out Loud uses a train-the-trainers approach by providing letterpress training and print kits to classroom teachers, culture bearers and community education such as the Library.

Becky shared, “These partnerships reach students and their families at key moments during and outside school hours. We were delighted when Kathleen invited us to participate in the Summer Learning Program!”

Over two hours, the kids set type and ink plates and tackled technical issues, such as when the letter “D” was backward for their first “Dig Into Summer” print.

“It’s always joyful to share in the type of co-learning and collaboration that happens during a letterpress print-in. I especially loved working with students to mix colors so they could shout their stories! That was a learning process for all. But the best part is seeing the look of awe when a printer lifts their work off the press and sees the kind of “magic” that has just happened. There is a power and agency that comes with putting type to page that just shines through!”

Youth Services Librarian Kathleen said, “I can’t believe we got six finished pieces in two hours from youth who’d never done this before! That speaks to Becky’s amazing work as an educator and instructor. She got six kids doing everything from typesetting to the appropriate way to clean our brayers and inks.”

“Letterpress is something that feels fun, experimental and collaborative. Things like Art Out Loud serve as a good reminder that youth voices can be loud and big, too!”

Looking for more summer fun? Check out all of the Library’s Summer Learning programs here.