Headshot of Jen  Thomas

Jen Thomas

Book Arts Program Director
  • Profile

    As Book Arts Program Director, Jen works with faculty, staff, students, and community partners to develop and implement programming that centers the history of the book and the history of print within the practices of hand bookbinding, letterpress printing, zines, comics, artists’ books, and experimental narrative forms. Jen holds an MLIS from IUPUI, an MFA in Interdisciplinary Book & Paper Arts from Columbia College Chicago, a BFA in Communication Art from Virginia Commonwealth University, and previously taught graphic design and book arts at DePaul University, the American Academy of Art, and The Chicago High School for the Arts. From 2012–2015 Jen was founding director of werkspace, a gallery and community arts space dedicated to showcasing the work of emerging artists, while also offering community arts workshops focusing on book arts and print media.

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    • Grants and Fellowships

      Weinstein International Travel Grant, Legacy of Letters: Print and Book History of Northern Italy, 2023

      Weinstein International Travel Grant, Book Arts in South Africa: Expanding Dialogue and Creating Connections, 2020 (Travel postponed due to COVID-19)

      Ragdale Foundation, Lake Forest, IL, 2007 & 2010 (residency)

      Women’s Studio Workshop, Rosendale, NY, 2005 (studio fellowship)

    • Awards

      Samuel H. Kress Award for International Exchange, Art Libraries Society of North America International Relations Committee Study Tour, Florence, Italy, 2023

      Richmond Academic Library Consortium Scholarship for the Profession, 2021-2022

    • Presentations

      “Intersecting Spaces: Integrating Community-based Books Arts Instruction in the Undergraduate Classroom,” panelist, College Book Art Association Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA, January 3, 2020

      Integrating Book Arts Education in the Academic Classroom,” presenter, Building Bridges: Art Libraries’ Synergies and Strategies Between Florence and North America (symposium), A collaboration between the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut & Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA), Florence, Italy, October 27, 2023.

      Professional Portfolio Symposium, Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, 2014 (visiting artist)

      Global Implications, SGCI Annual Conference, Chicago, IL, pulp printing demonstration, 2010

      Printer’s Ball, Chicago, IL, pulp printing demonstration, 2009

      Reading: A Selection of Artist Books, Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection, School of the Art Institute Chicago, 2009 & 2010 (reading)

      Literary Gangs of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL, 2007 (reading)

      The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, Student Printmakers’ Association, 2007 (visiting artist)

      Longwood University, Farmville, VA, Art and Design Department, 2006 (visiting artist)

    • Memberships

      College Book Art Association

      Art Libraries Society of North America

    • Professional Experience

      Book Arts Program Director, University of Richmond (2017 - Present)

      Adjunct Faculty, Communication Arts Department, Virginia Commonwealth University (2018 - 2020)

      Instructor, Visual Arts Department, The Chicago High School for the Arts (2014 - 2017)

      Lecturer, College of Computing and Digital Media, DePaul University (2014 - 2016)

      Founder and Director, werkspace (2012 - 2016)

      Adjunct Faculty, Illustration & Design Department, Illinois Institute of Art (2011 - 2015)

      Faculty, Graphic Design and Illustration Departments, American Academy of Art (2010 - 2014)

      Adjunct Faculty, Visual Communications Department, Sanford Brown School of Design (2008 - 2018)

  • Publications
    Book Chapters

    1000 Artists’ Books, Sandra Salamony with Peter & Donna Thomas, Quarry Books, 2012, 173 & 239.

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