Book Arts


Virginia Center for the Book, a program of Virginia Humanities, hosts a community of member artists exploring books, paper, and printmaking through a hands-on studio located in Charlottesville’s Jefferson School. Our book arts program engages in arts & humanities projects with a community-access approach and provides equipment and training resources for individual artists to practice their craft. The goal of our member artists group is to provide the public a direct educational experience with book arts—including printing, binding, and papermaking—amidst largest collection of letterpress type and equipment available for public use in the Commonwealth.

Jefferson School City Center
233 4th Sreet NW
Charlottesville, VA 22903

Book Arts Program: Contact Us
Book Arts: Classes & Events »

Honors & Distinctions  Book Arts Membership

Book Arts Shop Use Calendar

Book Arts Pressroom and Binding Equipment
● 375 Cases of Letterpress Type
● Two Vandercook Universal I presses
● Chandler & Price press (ca 1890)
● Etching press (14×24 bed)
● 1 Board Shear (28” throat)
● Guillotine Paper Cutter (17” throat)
● Paper Cutter (22” throat)
● Backing Press
● Kingsley foil stamping machine

Who supports and maintains the Book Arts Studio?

The Book Arts Program is an all-volunteer organization, supported by Virginia Humanities, a membership structure, and private donations. If you would like to make a contribution of time or money to Virginia Humanities on behalf of the Book Arts Program, please contact us.

How can I use the equipment?

You must take a supervised letterpress workshop or be a member of the shop with a “drivers license” to use the press equipment. Members are invited to make use of classes, drop-in workshops, and Open Hours time to gather knowledge and learn proficiency on the equipment. Members who demonstrate that they know how to use the equipment safely (to prevent damage to the equipment as well as to themselves) are allowed to sign up for press use during open studio hours.

View the shop use guidelines.

Can I be a Keyholder?

The Keyholders consists of committed members who give back time, financial donation, and expertise to the studio. After a year of general membership, you can apply to become a keyholder. If you would like to be actively involved, please contact us.

I am skilled in letterpress, would like access to work on professional projects. Can I use the space without being an active member?

Yes, you can become a Professional member of the Book Arts Program, gain keyholding status with low responsibilities. For more information, contact us.

Can I use the space for a class or workshop?

Yes, we rent the space for workshops and classes. If you are interested, please contact us.

What are the levels of membership?

Individuals can become involved in the Book Arts Program as volunteers, apprentices, members, or professionals. Individuals may also support the studio as Subscribers or Patrons. Each level of membership carries privileges and responsibilities, but all members of the Book Arts Program are expected to contribute to the well-being of the Press through a percentage of their activity. For more information on membership and contributor levels, click here.

Shop Use

Open Shop Hours

The studio is open for use by all non-keyholding members generally between the hours of 10 AM & 5 PM

1. Members must Sign-in and fill out Font Tracking Forms.

2. Members may use (unsupervised) all equipment that they have been approved “licensed” to operate.

3. Unless arranged for, you are expected to provide all materials needed to complete your project.

4. The shop should be left in better order than you found it.

5. Be sure that the classroom and studio doors are locked when you leave.

Press/Shop/Classroom Use Schedule: follow this link to the  Book Arts Program Resource Calendar

To reserve press time and get on this schedule…
1.  Non-keyholders needing supervised printing please e-mail [email protected] to arrange times.
2. To avoid potential conflicts, Keyholders and Licensed operators should also reserve press time (for any/all usage).

Press use on Wednesdays 5:30-7:00 is generally reserved for group activities.