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.
See Shop Use and FAQs below for more details on how to be involved.
Jefferson School City Center
233 4th Sreet NW
Charlottesville, VA 22903
HOURS: Mon-Sat, Noon-4PM, or by appointmentHonors & Distinctions Book Arts Membership
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
Open Shop Hours
The studio is open for use by all non-keyholding members generally between the hours of 12 Noon & 4:00 PM weekdays and Saturdays. Additional hours arranged by appointment [email protected].
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 the materials needed to complete your project.
4. The shop should be left in a 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 email [email protected] to arrange times.
2. To avoid potential conflicts, Keyholders and Licensed operators should also reserve press time (for any/all press use).
Press use on Wednesdays 6:30-8:30 is generally reserved for group activities.
Who supports and maintains the Book Arts program?
The Book Arts program is a volunteer artists’ collective, 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?
Members are invited to make use of classes, drop-in workshops, and Open Hours time to gather knowledge and learn proficiency on the equipment. You must take a supervised letterpress workshop or be a member of the shop with a “driver’s license” to use the press 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.
Can I receive access as a Keyholder?
Keyholders are committed members who give back time and expertise to the studio to maintain its operation and hold keys to access the space for a dedicated service. After a year of general membership, you can request 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.