The Official Portfolio Exchange is the PNCA printmaking department’s annual showcase of student, faculty, and staff printmaking work. Since 1992*, those involved with the annual exchange convene during the end of the Fall semester to select a theme and paper size restraints. Each participant then spends the following semester making an edition of prints with a print process, or numerous print processes, of their choice. The edition size of each portfolio is determined by the number of participants plus two extras, for the printmaking department’s archive and the PNCA Library’s special collections. This digitized collection on Mimi is composed of selections from the PNCA Library’s special collections.
In recent years, it’s noteworthy that the portfolio theme has been chosen in a tournament-style voting system. The community of printmakers go wild during the initial meeting where participants throw out possible themes. Some themes are simple, like ghosts or the Weather; some are quite niche, like Barney Angel Merges, the printmaking studio’s beloved local celebrity and mascot; or more complex, open-ended themes like Refraction or Chiasmus. Once a large sheet of newsprint is filled completely with ideas, every person gets to vote for a theme. This moment is when everyone passionately shows up for their own ideas, convincing others of its’ grandeur. It’s a beautiful moment in our community where everyone is buzzing wildly with excitement. Eventually, after three or four rounds of voting, a winner prevails. After, a size restraint is chosen, a sign-up list for printmakers interested in participating in the exchange is passed around, and people happily go about their day.
In the following months, each participant is required to send in a proof of their final print, holding their spot for the exchange. Those who meet the deadline determine the edition size. At the end of the Spring semester, the finished editions are collected and paginated with a colophon, that notes whose prints are included in the exchange.
This digital collection on Mimi is composed of the Printmaking Portfolio Exchanges from the PNCA Library’s special collections.
*The Library’s Special Collection houses print portfolios dating back to 1992. The Printmaking Department may or may not have older ones.