Book Art Program at Mills College Secures the First-Ever Endowed Chair

Studio facilities and equipment include metal type, etching and relief presses, French handmade bookbinding equipment, and Apple workstations.

“Mills has embraced innovation and experimentalism in the arts for most of its history, and Book Art has been part of that spirit since 1930.”

Mills College is pleased to announce a $2 million gift to support the study of Book Art. The gift will establish the Lovelace Family Chair in Book Art which will appoint the first endowed faculty chair for the program, and is among the largest gifts ever made to the field, nationally.

The gift, jointly awarded by two donors, recognizes the national leadership of Mills’ Book Art program in the field, celebrates its longstanding presence as an integral part of Mills’ institutional identity, and ensures its stability and presence on campus in perpetuity.

“This extraordinary gift sends an important message that Mills’ academic programs will continue to flourish through the generosity of donors who make a difference by funding endowed chairs,” said Mills College President Elizabeth L. Hillman.

Book Art explores the nature of the book from its conceptual, historical, and theoretical standpoints. The emphasis on craft practice includes book structures, letterpress printing, typography, and hand bookbinding. Book Art, as a field of study, has been growing since the 1970s; Mills has been at the forefront of that growth, and has played a major role in furthering the field nationally and internationally. $2M is believed to be one of the largest gifts ever in support of the scholarly study and practice of artists’ bookmaking.

“The Mills College Book Art Program strives to give students the fullest possible understanding of the field, but with an emphasis on combining traditional craft practices with 21st century technology and perspectives,” said Professor of Book Art Julie Chen. “It challenges students to consider the ever-changing role of the book as both reading object and art object in the current digital age. This endowment will allow us to continue to innovate and grow, and will help keep Mills College at the forefront of book art education.”

Two years ago, the Book Art Program was at risk for closure. Then-current…

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