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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Keiner Letterpress Studio Finds New Home in CFA

In late 2023, Knox College worked to move its state-of-the-art letterpress onto campus and into a new studio retrofitted into what was previously the ceramics studio of the Ford Center for the Fine Arts (CFA).

The initiative to transition the letterpress from its previous studio, hosted by Professor of Art Mark Holmes at an off-campus location, was set in motion in early 2023. Knox Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing Nicholas Regiacorte explains that the logistical challenges were apparent from the outset. Manager of Campus Operations and Maintenance Pat Pendergast and members of his team helped transport the 850 pound letterpress from The Box Art Gallery to the basement level of CFA using a forklift to traverse the distance across Galesburg.

Having previously conducted courses utilizing the letterpress in its original location, Regiacorte notes how the new studio entirely resolves issues of limited space and lack of climate control. The newly designated studio offers expanded space, facilitating larger class sizes and workshops. Regiacorte anticipates that the studio's new location will foster greater engagement from the broader community, encouraging increased usage. Whether producing posters for the English Department's Caxton Club or other campus organizations' events, he views this relocation as a significant enhancement to the College's programs.

“The new space is even better than I had imagined. It’s really going to enhance what we’re able to offer,” Regiacorte said.

The majority of the letterpress equipment, as well as the necessary funds to renovate the CFA studio, were generously donated by Harry ‘Hal’ Keiner ’67, who boasts an extensive collection in his own North Carolina studio. Considering potential recipients for his surplus equipment, Knox quickly emerged as a fitting choice.

“You could see how this thing fit into the culture at Knox,” Keiner said. “We wanted to find a place for it to be used by everyone in the community.”

For Keiner, these donations help create an avenue for sharing the niche art form of letterpress. Keiner visited campus in October 2023 and was impressed by the enthusiasm for the new space. He remains optimistic about the community's embrace of the art form and their ongoing exploration of its possibilities.

“Making these donations helps me give something back,” Keiner said. “Being able to put these tools to good use is a fantastic feeling.”

Knox College Associate Vice President and Principal Gifts J. Mark Wilson commended Keiner's steadfast support of the College and its letterpress studio. With a longstanding partnership spanning numerous years, Wilson says Keiner has continued to be a generous supporter of the College and the arts.

“Hal has made numerous trips to Galesburg from North Carolina in a truck delivering letterpress equipment and parts to nearly single-handedly establish the letterpress studio. He has also established an endowed book fund for the College as well as a landscaped plaza with a bench outside of CFA, both named in honor and memory of his late wife, Jamie Hajduk Keiner ’67,” Wilson explained. “People like Hal are what make our work in Knox Advancement so rewarding and enjoyable.”

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Printed on Thursday, April 25, 2024