This past Wednesday was the annual benefit for the Center for Book Arts in New York City. The CBA, founded in 1974, serves the book arts community through exhibitions, lectures, publications, artist assistance and education. This is one of the few places in the United States where you can learn the art of the pop-up and movable books from teachers like Carol Barton, Michael Caputo or Shawn Sheehy. I was fortunate to take a workshop there last year and really enjoyed the facilities and environment.
The theme of this year’s benefit was ‘Construction’ as the Center hopes to raise funds to replace their aging elevator. The event was well attended and the place looked great. They really played up the construction theme with servers donning hard hats to pass out tasty hors d'oeuvres served in Tonka trucks. The clever cocktails were truly potent with my favorite being the 'smooth elevator operator'. The live and silent auction went as well as could be in this economy; so well in fact, that I was outbid for a beautiful woodblock print. In addition, they commissioned ten artists to contribute pop-ups addressing the theme all of which turned out wonderfully. Carol Barton, Emily Martin and Shawn Sheehy were among the pop-up artists selected to create pieces for the evening’s raffle. Alas, despite promises from the staff that my raffle tickets were “extra lucky” I did not come home with a prize. But I did leave with a renewed fondness for the Center of Book Arts and it’s achievements and I look forward to seeing what other good things will come out of this beloved institution.