Detroit-Based Printmaker Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. to Visit Charlottesville

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Amos Paul Kennedy Jr.
Amos Paul Kennedy Jr.

Virginia Humanities’ Virginia Center for the Book announces that the first annual Frank Riccio Artist-in-Residency will bring Detroit-based printmaker Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. to Charlottesville, November 14-17, to begin shaping a collaborative art project he will undertake with the Charlottesville, Albemarle, and University of Virginia communities in 2019.

Kennedy’s November visit is made possible by the University of Virginia’s Executive Vice President & Provost’s Office and will include:

  • The annual Raucous Auction at the Virginia Center for the Book, located in the Jefferson School City Center, on Wednesday, November 14, from 5:30-8:00 PM (This fundraising event is free and open to the public, with a $20 suggested donation or purchase.);
  • Planning meetings and tours with youth and community partners, local businesses and nonprofits, and UVa student and faculty groups to familiarize Kennedy with Charlottesville and University community perspectives in preparation for the 2019 collaborative project (Interested groups may contact [email protected] to request a meeting with Kennedy, Nov. 15-16.);
  • Too Brave To Lie: Kennedy in Conversation with Amber Esseiva
    A panel discussion at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center to explore Kennedy’s recent project with VCU’s Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA); The program will take place Thursday, November 15 from 7:00-8:30 PM and will feature Kennedy in conversation with Amber Esseiva, ICA assistant curator, moderated by Kevin McFadden, printmaker and Virginia Humanities chief operating officer.
  • Open community printmaking with Kennedy at the Virginia Center for the Book on Friday, November 16 from 8:00-11:30 AM and from 3:00-7:00 PM, hosted in partnership with McGuffey Art Center, New City Arts Initiative, Second Street Gallery, Quirk Hotel, and the Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative.
  • All-ages printmaking with Kennedy and a free screening of Proceed and Be Bold!, a documentary about Kennedy’s work, on Saturday, November 17 from 9:00 AM-12:00 PM at Light House Studio’s Vinegar Hill Theatre. Film will be shown on loop throughout the event; community members may view portions of the film or its entirety.

All three of the above printmaking sessions are offered for all ages and all experience levels, on a “drop in” basis. Please stay as long or as short as you would like. Feel free to observe or get directly involved in making prints. Ask questions and enjoy the process. Note that printing on the presses with Mr. Kennedy will be first-come, first-served throughout each session, and all are welcome.

Details about Kennedy’s 2019 visit and collaborative public art project will be announced in January.

About Amos Paul Kennedy Jr.

Kennedy is a self-proclaimed “humble Negro printer” whose letterpress work represents the messages and identities of African-Americans whose “words… have largely been excluded from ‘fine print.’” He uses traditional letterpress techniques to create richly colored, hand-pulled prints that often incorporate messages and aphorisms that spur conversation about race and class. Through his fine, layered printing of simple text using traditional letterpress technique, Kennedy’s work encourages reflection on historical and current African-American identities and overlap between the struggles of the Civil Rights movement and contemporary needs for bold action to pursue social justice.

He received a BA in Mathematics from Grambling State University and his MFA in Graphic Design from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Recent awards include a Joyce Award (2016–17) and the United States Artists Glasgow Fellowship (2015). Kennedy was also the premier featured artist at the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Institute for Contemporary Art, exhibiting work from collaborations with local black-owned businesses. To learn more and see examples of the artist’s work, visit

About the Frank Riccio Artist-in-Residency

The Virginia Center for the Book (the Center) hosts a community book arts studio in Charlottesville’s historic Jefferson School City Center, featuring the state’s largest public collection of letterpress type, binding equipment, and more than fifty member-artists creating works of book art and printed ephemera. In 2018, the Center began raising funds for the Riccio Artist-in-Residency to honor the memory of artist and Center co-founder Frank Riccio, recognize his legacy as a talented and tireless practitioner and educator among Virginia’s creative community, and build upon his loyal and generous support for the work of book artists who bring to life the Center. Through the annual Residency, the Center will host one book artist, printmaker, or illustrator each year to partner with local organizations to create a collaborative community project. Additional details about the Artist-in-Residency will be announced in 2019, when the Center hosts Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. for the Residency’s inaugural collaborative public art project.

About the Virginia Center for the Book

A program of the Virginia Humanities, the Virginia Center for the Book works across the Commonwealth to unite communities of readers, writers, artists, and book lovers. Through year-round programs and partnership initiatives, the Center recognizes the enduring power of literature, storytelling, and the book arts to engage in public dialogue and promote intercultural understanding. As an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, the Center works within a network of affiliates to promote books, reading, literacy, and the literary life of Virginia. To learn more, visit