Published April 1, 2019

Between March 9-26, 2019, Detroit artist Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. completed his work in the inaugural Frank Riccio Artist Residency at the Virginia Center for the Book. Under the project name “Finding Wisdom,” Kennedy created more than 20 unique exhibits throughout Charlottesville, Virginia, at locations ranging from coffee shops and art galleries to grocery stores and public schools. Working with community residents, K-12 and University of Virginia students, and Virginia Center for the Book member artists, Kennedy printed nearly 10,000 letterpress posters, each featuring layers of color and an aphorism collected from local residents.

These shared wisdoms include sayings from grandparents and other family members, advice from classmates and teachers, quotes from well-known writers, and others, and collectively create a local compendium of words to live by, offering the following tidbits, among many others:

  • Kindness and your best self, even in all seasons.
  • Shade thrown, tea spilled.
  • There are many ways to the market.
  • If you don’t know what’s right, go with your heart.
  • It won’t rain forever.
  • Reading one book is like eating one potato chip.

The project also featured a scavenger hunt across Charlottesville, as well as workshops and an artist’s talk during the 25th anniversary Virginia Festival of the Book.

To view photos from the residency, CLICK HERE.

To watch a short documentary about Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. and the “Finding Wisdom” project made by local students at Light House Studio, CLICK HERE.

Thank you to everyone who took part and helped Kennedy’s work reach such a large swath of the Charlottesville community!

About the Frank Riccio Artist-in-Residency

In 2018, the Center began raising funds for the Riccio Artist-in-Residency to honor the memory of artist and Center co-founder Frank Riccio, recognize his legacy as a talented and tireless practitioner and educator among Virginia’s creative community, and build upon his loyal and generous support for the work of book artists who bring to life the Center. Through the annual Residency, the Center will host one book artist, printmaker, or illustrator each year to partner with local organizations to create a collaborative community project.

The Finding Wisdom project and Kennedy’s residency visits were generously funded by the University of Virginia’s Executive Vice President & Provost’s Office. The Riccio Artist Residency Fund is generously supported by the Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation. 

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