Media Relations

Press Release:

561-297-1164, or
Carol Lewis


"Books in Black: A New Page!" to Open at FAU's Wimberly Library

New York Curator Will Speak at Reception and Offer Workships

            BOCA RATON, FL (February 9, 2007) – Florida Atlantic University Libraries’ Arthur and Mata Jaffe Center for Book Arts is sponsoring Books in Black: A New Page!,” a traveling exhibition of handmade artists books that pays tribute to black inventors and trailblazers, Thursday, February 15, through Monday, April 16, at the S.E. Wimberly Library, 777 Glades Road, on the Boca Raton campus.

           The exhibition, based in New York and founded by Ruth E. Edwards to raise awareness of black achievements, has been shown in Brazil and in New York at such venues as the Mount Vernon Library, the Center for Book Arts and the National Museum of Catholic Art and History.

Artists’ books fall in a specialized genre of art and are created as works of art. “Books in Black” artists often use origami, doll making and other personal interests to deliver significant messages in their books.

           “Books like these show the creative spirit in a way regular books rarely do,” said Arthur Jaffe, curator and founder of the Arthur and Mata Jaffe Collection: Books as Aesthetic Objects, which is housed in the center for book arts. “When artists make books, the experience is very visual – not just literal.”

The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, can be viewed in the library’s main lobby, at the entrance of the second floor administrative offices and in the atrium outside of the Arthur and Mata Jaffe Center for Book Arts on the library’s third floor.

           Edwards will speak at the exhibition’s opening reception on Thursday at 6 p.m. During lectures on Friday, February 16, and Monday, February 19, at 3 p.m., she will discuss the “Books in Black” exhibition and the organization by the same name, which she also founded to raise awareness of black achievements. Her presentation will cover book structures not shown in the exhibition, a question and answer period and a “Make & Take” Book Table project, which allows participants to try their hands at making a single-page book. The gallery talks will last about 30 minutes. Each day’s full presentation, including the book table project, will take about two hours. Both days are the same and are free and open to the public.

During Edwards’ visit to FAU Libraries, she also will conduct two workshops –  “Gourmet Books with Edible Looks,” and “Quick and Easy Book Making.” These are open to the public, but geared toward educators, on Saturday, February, 17, and Sunday, February, 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Each workshop is limited to 12 people, and the fee for the workshop is $95.

           “Books in Black: A New Page!” is a combination of two exhibitions – “Inventing in Color: A Tribute to Black Inventors” and “The First One Who. . .!,” which celebrates individuals who made accomplishments first. It was created and named after the National Museum of Catholic Art and History wanted both exhibitions. There was not enough space to accommodate both, so books were taken from each exhibition to create the new one.

          Elijah McCoy, one inventor featured in “Books in Black: A New Page!,” received his first patent for improved lubricators for steam engines in 1872.  His inventions were so superior and reliable that machinists began demanding “the real McCoy.” The book artist tells the story using a terry cloth towel smeared with oils and uses McCoy’s image and words.

            “The idea is not that we want to steal the notoriety, we want people to know of the contributions,’’ said Edwards.

           A book by Edwards tells the story of John Standard, who received a patent in 1891 for an improved refrigerator design. Edwards’ book resembles a book and has multi-colored magnets on the cover and an electrical plug in the back. It also has 10 feet of illustrated poetry about what is in the refrigerator.

              “We are not trying to write an encyclopedia. We write a few sentences to steer people in the right direction, and to say, ‘this was one man and he made one heck of a contribution,’” said Edwards.

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