Center for Book and Paper Arts, Columbia College Chicago
Columbia College Chicago’s Center for Book and Paper Arts is one of the only graduate programs in the country that offers a specific focus on paper-making, a specialty that interdisciplinary arts professor Melissa Potter calls “a distinctly American form of fine art.” Students can earn a Master of Fine Arts in Book and Paper Arts or in Interdisciplinary Arts and Media, which incorporates traditional papermaking with other forms of media, including performance and installation art. One recent thesis explored gender issues in society by creating an army of blow-up dolls individually encased in translucent paper. “I’m confident in saying that our facilities are probably the best in the world,” says Potter.
David Jones, the executive director of Anchor Graphics, the school’s fine arts press, describes the ideal student as someone who wants to work to preserve historical techniques while researching and exploring innovations in the book and paper arts. Exhibits of students’ and professors’ work, including a recent show about offset printing for artists’ books, highlight the merging of the old and the new.