Zygote Press Working Archive Project

By the time this article is printed, National Preservation Week (April 21-27) will have already passed. But in the spirit of its sentiment, we at Zygote want to share some exciting news about our 17-year archive.

In 1996, the Co-Founders of Zygote Press (Liz Maugans, Bellamy Printz, Joe Sroka and Kelly Novak) wanted to provide affordable facilities for artist-printmakers. Originally located on 79th Street, Zygote’s founders reclaimed equipment that would have otherwise ended up in landfills and created a place that provides program-driven resources for artists at all career stages to work in a collaborative lab environment. They also asked every artist who made work in the shop to donate a print to the archive. Zygote‘s 6,500-square foot space houses all of the equipment needed for artists to create print-based work. But not everyone realizes that there has been consistent collection of prints made by member artists, artist residents and interested public who have made the commitment to work in the shop.

Study of Emma, monoprint by Douglas Max Utter

 Zygote’s archive has grown slowly over the past 17 years and now represents some of Northeast Ohio’s most influential artists. Resting in storage, the archive is about to wake up, stretch its legs and make its way into the community in a variety of ways. I am excited to lead the project of rehousing the work in archival storage while building a database that will allow easier, safer access to its contents. Beginning next year (after the project is completed) look for a yearly exhibition highlighting the gems of the collection, an expansion of the already outreaching Print Expedition Project, and the addition of by-appointment viewing. Zygote’s Working Archive will allow us to better share the prints created (and collected) in this shop with a broader community.

 Zygote Press is a place where artwork is made daily–whether experiments, happy accidents, frustrating miscalculations or the occasional satisfying moment, the artists who work at Zygote are committed to the practice of making work. Yearly, there is an incredible amount of great work made in our shop by everyone from our own members to the German artist-residents who come for 5-weeks as part of the Ohio Arts Council supported Dresden Exchange. In addition, work created by international artists as part of The Cleveland Foundation’s Creative Fusion Program and our very own ZPASS residencies will add even more diversity to the archive. This living, breathing, Working Archive will continue to grow for the next 17 years, and through this project, the entire community will have greater access to this collection.

Corrie Slawson is Grant Development Associate at Zygote Press. She was on the Exhibition Development teams for both the International Spy Museum (Washington DC) and the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, and former Registrar at MMJH.

Zygote Press

1410 East 30th Street

Cleveland, Ohio 44114