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National Non-Toxic Printmaking Invitational

Cynthia Blasingham - Independent Curator

In 2001 Indiana artist Cynthia Blasingham was awarded a Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis with Lilly Endowment to study the new non-toxic printmaking methods that achieve the beauty of the traditional but toxic methods of etching, lithography, and aquatint. Her focus was on the methods originated by Keith Howard, Head of Contemporary Printmaking at the Rochester Institute of Technology and presented in his book Non-Toxic Intaglio Printmaking, using the photo-emulsion film ImagOn Ultra.

With a subsequent grant from the Indiana Arts Commission, she created a suite of “Prints of the Indiana Wetlands: An Artist’s View” using the method Photo Intaglio-Type from Transparency, and Keith Howard’s next book The Contemporary Printmaker. Selections from this suite have already been shown in fifteen invitational and juried national and state exhibits since January of 2003, attracting interest in the non-toxic methodology.

The concept of a Non-Toxic Printmaking National Invitational emerged naturally as Cynthia planned with the Indianapolis Art Center to host a “Focus On Printmaking” in the gallery spaces for May of 2004 to include the Non-Toxic Invitational, Cynthia’s one-person exhibit “Prints of the Indiana Wetlands,” two suites of 18 prints each by members of INprint, and the permanent collection of Graphic Chemical Company, another one-person exhibit by Mark Hall, and traditional prints in the print studio. An unusually high exposure is anticipated because the show dates of May 7 – July 4 encompass the Broad Ripple Art Fair, one of the largest art fairs in Indiana at 25,000 attendance, on the grounds of the Art Center.

As a founding member in 1997 of INprint, a regional group of 30 fine art printmakers, Cynthia Blasingham is in her sixth year as its Chairman and has helped set the group’s direction toward a balance of artistic development, mutual support, career development, and community service. The artistic focus is on original hand-pulled prints including monotype, monoprint, etching, silkscreen, woodcut, linocut, lithography, and the new technologies using Photoshop, ImagOn Ultra, and Solarplates. Since 1999 Cynthia has organized 17 regional exhibits of six annual INprint Suites, created in affiliation with community non-profits such as the Julian Center for abused women and children, the Indiana Historical Society, the Gennesaret Free Clinic, and the Nature Conservancy.