The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation (GTCF) has announced Jessica Spring as the recipient of its 2011 Foundation of Art Award. The $7,500 prize recognizes Spring’s excellence as an artist and her commitment to the creative life of Pierce County.
Nominees for the prestigious award are chosen by a panel of local arts professionals including curators, academics and other artists. Amy McBride, Arts Administrator for the City of Tacoma, nominated Spring for this year’s prize. “Jessica’s artwork is funny and heady, beautiful and ironic,” she said in a press release. “She pushes the boundaries of her medium experimenting with unexpected materials but maintains the precision and structure required of a professional printmaker.
“Since she moved to Tacoma, Spring has been pivotal to the explosion of letterpress and book arts….and is a fantastic teacher and mentor to both kids and adults. She partnered to help start Wayzgoose—an annual printers festival dedicated to St. Bartholomew, the patron saint of bookbinders—over five years ago. This has grown into one of the best community events we have,” she continued.
Since its inception in 2008, the Foundation of Art Award has offered significant recognition for the region’s artists. Past recipients include Chris Sharp in 2008, Jeremy Mangan in 2009 and Lisa Kinoshita in 2010. The GTCF itself was in the spotlight recently when it brought Archbishop Desmond Tutu to Tacoma as part of its “Be the Spark” community enhancement initiative. The Community Foundation is a philanthropic organization that began in 1981, with $10,000 in assets. Now celebrating its 30th year, it today “holds more than $61 million in assets and [has] distributed more than $78 million in grants over the last 29 years,” according to the GTCF website.
Spring has ideas on how she will put her monetary prize to use: “The cash award coincides nicely with the TAIP [Tacoma Artists Initiative Program] award I received, allowing me to pursue more papermaking. When I can make prints or books that start with an idea and incorporate handmade paper and letterpress printing, it feels really complete. In terms of this year, I’ll be working towards a show at University of Puget Sound Collins Library [to open] next spring.” As a component of the award, Spring will create a commissioned artwork for the foundation, with completion set for the fall of 2011.
“So much of my work is interdisciplinary and fits between categories—it’s a challenge to explain what I do,” she says. “There’s graphic design, writing, printing, papermaking, binding with lots of collaboration. To have that validated is encouraging.” Stay tuned for more dazzling mixed-media art and innovation from Jessica Spring.