The Fleisher Years Chapter 10: Print Love-In (2000– )
For well over two decades now, Fleisher has been hosting our Print Love-In – an all-ages celebration of printmaking and the joys of hand-printed valentines. How did it all begin?
The tradition dates back the late 90’s with an idea put into motion by Philagrafika, a local organization which sought to heighten visibility for the art of print. In 2000, Philagrafika approached Thora Jacobson, Fleisher’s executive director at the time, about taking on the event. As luck or fate would have it, it was faculty member Elaine Erne who would play a key part in running with the opportunity – little did she know it would still be going strong with her guidance almost 25 years later.
Elaine Erne originally joined the Fleisher staff in 1998, assisting in the Saturday Young Artists Program (which is also going strong to this day!) while also dedicating time to developing her own work in our glass facilities. As interest in the glass casting courses introduced by accomplished artist Lucartha Kohler grew, Elaine would go on to teach a daytime glass course. Meanwhile, Fleisher was also where she returned to her printmaking roots, rediscovering the medium in our studios as well as in classes at PAFA.
The evolution of Elaine’s work with Fleisher also reveals stories about the evolution of the space itself. Recalling earlier times when the lithography and etching studios used to be in the main building, before they would find a new home in our Works on Paper Building at 705 Christian Street, Elaine also noted that her glass classes used to be hosted in the basement before moving into an upstairs studio. To this day, Elaine remains a dedicated member of our faculty, teaching classes for youth and adults—in addition to teaching at Moore, Drexel, and in the Pre-College program at UArts—while also helping with events. Her love for Fleisher and what it provides in terms of community runs deep. As Elaine says, “If I won the lottery, I’d still work here!”
Fast forward to the current iteration of our Print Love-In, just two weeks away! Elaine is back, as well as a talented crew of teaching artists, assistants, and volunteers organized with the help of Fleisher’s education department. Join us for this yearly tradition not only to fall in love with printmaking, but also to discover the work of a cadre of talented printmakers who have contributed designs to be printed during the event – and above all, to celebrate the joys of creating in community.
Special thanks to the artists who have contributed Print Love-In designs over the years, including Christine Blair, Bill Brookover, Nicole P. Dul, Marie Elcin, Elaine M. Erne, Mike Geno, Rebecca Gilbert, Geoff Hindle, Gloria Klaiman, Katie Knoeringer, Peter McMahon, Phoebe Murer, Carlee Myers, Judy Panetta, Miriam Singer, Gerard Silva, Elizabeth Stricker, Marlise Tkaczak, Juan Tang Hon, Teen Lounge and Layla Ehsan.
Image (header): Printing Cat head heart (artwork by Katie Knoeringer) during the 2020 Print Love-In at Fleisher Art Memorial; Image (inset): Elaine Erne guiding a young printmaker on the press during the 2016 Print Love-In.