FLORIDA PRINTMAKERS SOCIETY ALIVE AND THRIVING YEAR-ROUND
The Florida Printmakers Society 2023 Biennial Exhibition at University of Miami’s Wynwood Gallery, Photo by Brianna Jimenez (Cielo Creative Co.)
Lise Drost and Jacoub Reyes are a powerhouse duo, especially when it comes to keeping the Florida Printmakers Society alive and thriving. Their relentless passion for the organization and the world of printmaking are the catalysts for the Society’s continuity.
Over the summer, the University of Miami Gallery in the Wynwood Building hosted the organization’s 2023 Biennial Competition. The exhibition showcased 32 artworks created by both local and national artists. The collection comprised a diverse range of print media, including cyanotypes, relief prints, etchings, stone lithographs, collagraphs, monoprints, silkscreens, digital prints, embossing, and innovative combinations of other artistic techniques.
Organizing the exhibition was a labor of love for Drost, who in the early 2000s during her days as the University of Miami’s Art Department Chair made time once a year to email Florida universities in the hopes of “luring people from the printmaking department,” as Drost explained, “but I got crickets, no replies,” she added.
During the Covid pandemic, she discovered organizations hosting virtual artist talks, which eventually led her to meet Jacoub Reyes. Reyes, a talented artist and the current president of the Florida Printmakers Society, inspired Drost to connect with independent artists who shared a common interest in revitalizing the organization’s online presence.
Drost says that for her, Reyes was, “a godsend, he is doing all the social media and making the website much more interactive. He has taken this on for the long haul, and I’ve told him anything I can do to facilitate shows, I’m there for him.”
While there were a few exhibitions showcasing some of the Society’s members in the early 2000s, there was a lull until the Biennial in August. At that time, Drost primarily relied on magazines for information, but now, with Reyes’ assistance, she emphasized, “We now rely on social media to discover artists and inform them about the submission process.”
Reyes shares equal admiration for Drost, crediting her with keeping the organization afloat. “Lise would go on Sunbiz.org and keep our status active. She wanted to revive the group when many of the professors who were active in the organization passed away,” Reyes explains.
Reyes believes people were hesitant to join because participating with the organization could be so time consuming. When Reyes moved to Miami a few years ago, he began networking and, at each event, Drost’s name kept coming up.
“Just like her name was coming up in my circles, I’m sure mine was coming up in hers. She sent me a message and invited me to jury shows and make works with a purpose,” said Reyes.
Since then, the two have met often to plan events like the recent Biennial and upcoming events like the Small Press & Zine Fair, happening at the Miami-Dade Public Main Library in Downtown Miami on Jan. 20, 2024.
“A lot of us artists work with deadlines and want to work with purpose,” said Reyes. The submission process asks questions like “What does the future of printmaking look like to you?”
Additionally, Florida Printmakers Society provides their artists with any needed assistance during the submission process, helping them with the matting process and providing an online educational resource center.
“We are an international group now, and although our name is Florida Printmakers Society because we’re based in Florida, we do have people from all over the world,” boasted Reyes.
Running Florida Printmakers Society is something Drost and Reyes do in addition to their professional work. Drost is a professor and heads the University of Miami 2D Art Department; Reyes is busy as a full-time artist juggling three different residencies, hosting workshops in the community and underwriting projects with other artists.
Even with all that, they have no plans of slowing down. Aside from their presence at the upcoming Small Press & Zine Fair in January, they hope to also host pop-up events around the community.
Learn about the Florida Printmakers Society, peruse their resources and view upcoming events on their site https://flprintmakers.com/
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