Sunday, July 26, 2009
And the winner is...
The winner of the inaugural MCBA prize is Veronika Schäpers of Tokyo, Japan. You can read her artist statement here.
The evening event celebrating the finalists at MCBA was one of the nicest evenings I've experienced there. Live music, good food (and pomegranate martinis!) and everyone dressed up in their downtown best. It's a rather amazing experience to see your friends...normally in t-shirts, jeans and ponytails now wearing heels, jewelry and even make-up! As my mother would say, we all cleaned up nicely.
4 of the 5 finalists were on hand (sadly, Veronika was not...no cheap tickets from Tokyo). The books were out of their case and each one had a handler turning pages so we could see the whole book in person. After a lovely award presentation (Artistic Director Jeff Rathermel forgot the secret envelope at his desk, but turns out he knew the winner all along), there was sparkling wine and all kinds of chocolate.
The working studios of MCBA are, as someone said, "book arts heaven" and I completely concur with that statement. But MCBA is also an exhibition space, and the organization itself is located in the building called Open Book which holds an excellent coffee shop, The Loft (an amazing organization devoted to writers) and the nonprofit press Milkweed Editions. A staircase to the second floor is designed to represent the pages of a book and on the second floor is a small performance hall where we gathered to see the books and hear the award presentation. As we moved from space to space, I was reminded how lucky we are in Minnesota to have both MCBA and Open Book and to have a space that celebrates all the aspects of the book.