EPI began in the summer of 1996 with the visit of noted New York artist Juan Sanchez, our first visiting artist. This weekend artist residency was made possible with the support of longtime arts patrons of Lafayette College.
A member of the Lafayette College Board of Trustees took a special interest in printmaking and student-based collaborations with artists and the local community. EPI’s visiting artist and artist-in-residence programs have since introduced students to artists from diverse cultural and social backgrounds, providing them with talented, well-educated, and ambitious role models.
Over the past 13 years, EPI has produced over 100 editions by over 80 different artists. Many of these artists are some of America’s most acclaimed such as Faith Ringgold, Richard Anuskiwicz, David Driskell, Grace Hartigan, and Sam Gilliam. We have established a unique printmaking laboratory that enables students to work hand in hand with professional artists (with the support of patrons and Lafayette College). The results of these collaborations have been included in museum collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as within the permanent collections of various colleges and universities.
Described by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as “The Ink Think Tank,” EPI exemplifies the liberal arts educational mission by bringing the printmaking medium to students through inherent qualities of collaboration, shared artistic visions, intercultural exchange, and multi-generational engagement.
EPI has created a fully student-centered creative arts laboratory, not only involving students intimately in the art making process, but also involving them on the business side—running workshops, acting as teaching assistants, and most recently, running the management of EPI. Student interns help manage EPI’s business initiatives, media relations, and research and documentation efforts.
This innovative program provides students with an interdisciplinary, “real world” experience. These interns learn about the art industry while learning to negotiate, develop strategic plans, assess opportunities, and develop oral and written presentation skills. What better way to celebrate creativity within the liberal arts experience than to center it around the students who are doing it?
EPI uses the printmaking process and the workshop environment to offer one of the most democratic and artistically challenging forms of a liberal arts education.