North Dakota Council on the Arts’ Art for Life Program in partnership with North Dakota State University (NDSU) School of Design, Architecture and Art, as well as folk artists, created four unique sets of art kits with sequential skill-based art instruction videos accessible online for elders and children. Printmaking that incorporates folk art designs from East Indian Warli, Swedish bonadsmålning, Ojibwe floral beadwork, and Polish wycinanki were the focus.
To make the kits affordable, designed and adapted for elder mobility issues, and easily shipped, 3D printers with laser cutters were used to create working 3D models of printing presses no bigger than a shoebox. The kits include printing presses, art materials, creative ageing resources, and curriculum. The kits can be self-guided with online video instruction, can be led by activity directors and teachers, or they can be used by artists to complement in-person residencies.
The printing projects are designed for occasions where greeting card exchanges to connect to loved ones are part of the already existing cultural practices of the elders. An intergenerational component is an important part of the effort with schoolchildren participating in the printmaking and card exchange with elders through such things as pen pal programs.
In the spring/summer of 2022, the kits were distributed to 32 paired eldercare/service organizations and partnered schools, 11 local arts agencies, and various other locations throughout North Dakota. Impacting over 79 organizations and their surrounding communities, the Tiny Press Kits were provided free of charge. (A set of four kits went to the eldercare organization and a set of four to their paired school partner).
Social distancing, quarantines, and other actions taken to protect people in the wake of Covid 19, or even with the annual flu season, can have a deleterious health impact due to isolation and loneliness. The kits and their associated activities are meant to address such situations by connecting people in a safe way.
The number of free kits is limited. If you are interested in receiving one, please contact Troyd Geist, NDCA folklorist at (701) 328-7590 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Tiny Print Press Project is made possible by a grant provided by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies in partnership with E.A. Michelson Philanthropy. The project is also supported by the NDSU School of Design, Architecture, and Art.