The essential focus of the collection is on artists' books and the broader topics of the Book Arts: letterpress printing, fine binding, handpapermaking and paper decoration.


   Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr.


At 40 years of age, Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. abandoned the traditional American Dream to follow his own. Unsatisfied with his comfortable, middle-class life, Amos traded in his computer for a printing press and his white collar for a pair of overalls. Armed with life, liberty, peanuts, and a meager yearly income of $7,000, Amos cranked out a new, mutinous declaration of independence.

Today, Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. is known as a force to be reckoned with. He is a printer with something to say and a bold, memorable way of saying it, through wood type, color overlays and chipboard. His work explores issues of race, gender, equality and artistic expression. He is a self-proclaimed "humble negro printer." In fact, one of the worst things you could do is call him an "African-American artist," so don't. But his work as a printer is unmistakable, powerful, strong... everything a great artist hopes to attain.

Kennedy is also the subject of the Brown Finch Films 2008 documentary that bears the same name as our exhibition. "Proceed and Be Bold" is a feature-length film that we'll be screening numerous times at JCBA in the Book Arts Gallery while Kennedy's work is on exhibit. (As the film poster says: "If you thought film was powerful, try a printing press.")

Our exhibition includes not just the letterpress-printed posters for which Amos is best known, but also handmade books, postcards and ephemera, brought together here at JCBA and the Wimberly Library for a retrospective exhibition that you will remember and talk about for a long time.

"PROCEED AND BE BOLD: Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr., Printer" was on exhibit library-wide through Sunday, May 9, 2010.


      Visitor parking is available in the library parking lot. The metered system accepts cash and credit cards at the rate of $1 per hour.