Holland Origin Stories: Showprint

Holland Origin Stories: Showprint

From time to time we get asked about certain names, phrases, stories, titles – and sometimes we gotta prove or bust some myths!

Megan Kay reflects on Showprint

Long time Holland member Megan Kay reflects on Showprint for this edition of Holland Origins: “In 2011, Holland had just started collaborating with the Black Rock Press (BRP) at UNR to produce this thing called the Showprint. Showprint was modeled after NYC’s popular Showpaper – a large, newsprint calendar featuring original artwork on one side and DIY/all-ages show listings on the back (I believe Van Pham was the one who showed us the original Showpapers and planted the seed in our heads – and Megan Berner was the Holland/Black Rock Press conduit who made it possible!). Showpaper folded in 2015, but served as our primary inspiration for Showprint and still is such a cool project  (you can still see copies and the art online.)

Our Showprint was piece of newsprint that contained, on one side, a block print, hand-carved by a local artist and on the other, a calendar of local, all-ages events. I LOVED IT. When I found out that they were hand printed on one of the BRP’s Vandercook proofing presses, I wanted to be involved. I was studying Art at UNR and was enrolled in my first book arts class at the BRP. I couldn’t get enough of the place. It made me ache with nostalgia and always inspired me. But, at the time, beginning book arts students weren’t allowed to use the Vandercook presses. Working on the Showprint meant that I could learn how to print. 

Now here’s where my memory gets pretty fuzzy. I don’t know exactly how I became involved in the Showprint. Did I ask to be involved? Did Holland put a call out for volunteers? Either way, in 2012, I got involved. Sarah Lillegard taught me how to design the calendar for the Showprint (Thank you Sarah for teaching me InDesign, something I use everyday at my job, xoxo) and she slowly handed me the reins. That’s when I met Alberto and Marissa, Holland’s Showprint interns at the time. They were, and are, simply the best. Before I knew it, with the help of Britt Curtis, director of Holland and Megan Berner, we were producing the Showprint. We would design the calendar, work with artists and buy supplies. Then, once a month when all the work was done, we would print! Usually everyone involved with the Showprint would come to help-out and enjoy the ritual of printing. It’s technical, repetitive and so satisfying. 

We continued producing the Showprint for about a year until Bob Blesse, director of the Black Rock Press at the time, suddenly retired and the press closed. Also, I was getting pretty burned out on life and school, and was having a hard time showing up for anything other than work. I was really slacking on my responsibilities at the Showprint, so it was time for me to step away. 

For a while, the future of the BRP and the Showprint was uncertain, but in 2014, Inge Bruggeman became the Director of the Black Rock Press and Amy Thompson, the press manager. I was in my final year of college, still studying Book Arts and I was hired as their student intern. I told Inge and Amy about the Showprint and asked if they would be interested in working with the Holland Project to revive it. They were incredibly supportive and in 2014, the Showprint was reborn. Showprint has seen many iterations over the years, including this new one – but the core remains: original art from a local artist and all-ages happenings! It’s featured so many incredible artists over the years (too many to name!), and graced so many fridges and bedroom walls and archives. It’s always fun to see a Showprint in the wild or one someone’s wall. We also have to shout out all the many amazing interns and coordinators who made this project possible – they’ve become so integral to Holland and it’s their love and dedication that kept this thing going for so long. Viva la Showprint!” 

>>Click here to peep some old pics of Showprint in production!