One for the Books

This planetoid, made entirely of books, was created by artist John Marshall, and is prominently displayed at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts

As the largest and most comprehensive center of its kind in the nation, Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) celebrates the book as a vibrant contemporary art form that takes many shapes. From the traditional crafts of papermaking, letterpress printing and bookbinding to experimental art making and self-publishing techniques, MCBA supports the limitless creative evolution of book arts.

In 1983, a group of book arts practitioners and enthusiasts in the Twin Cities began plans to create an institution, a true book arts center, where artists could create, students could learn, fine art could be exhibited, and a generally under-acknowledged artistic discipline could be elevated into focus and take its proper place in the Minnesota arts community. Two years later, in 1985, this dedicated group opened the doors of the brand new Minnesota Center for Book Arts. MCBA’s first public home was in the McKesson Building, on North Third Street in the Warehouse District of downtown Minneapolis.

After more than two years of research and planning, the Spring of 2000 saw Minnesota Center for Book Arts, The Loft Literary Center and Milkweed Editions become the principal tenants in the Open Book Building at 1011 South Washington Avenue in Minneapolis. The building creates a lively destination for a diverse public interested in books, book arts and literary endeavors of all kinds.

The soul of MCBA is the studio spaces where you find masters and novices working at letterpress printing, hand bookbinding and papermaking. In addition to the studios, there is an exhibition space, a studio shop, an archive and reference library, and offices. Visitors are welcome to observe the book art activity close-up. MCBA serves artists, students, teachers, designers, writers, families, youth, and book lovers through a variety of participatory programs. More than 20 years after opening its doors, MCBA is the most comprehensive independent book arts center in the nation.

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