Power of the Press Fest celebrates print artists from across Detroit, country

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

Dozens of print artists from all over the country will converge on Eastern Market Sunday for the second Power of the Press Fest.

Presented by Detroit's Signal-Return, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and teaching traditional letterpress printing, the fest, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will include vendors and artists specializing in a range of print techniques, including letterpress, screenprinting, risograph, wood engraving, paper making and more. There also will be free demonstrations throughout the day.

Melinda Anderson of Studio M stands with a "Power of the Press Fest" poster. The festival is presented by Signal-Return, a nonprofit dedicated to traditional printmaking.

The festival has been postponed twice because of COVID-19 but now it's happening in Eastern Market's Shed 5. It's the only festival focusing on printmaking in Detroit starting from letterpress but expanding to other means of nondigital printmaking, said Melinda Anderson of Studio M in Detroit and the fest's manager.

"Our purpose in doing this is that we want to provide a larger platform for artists to share their work," said Anderson.

Signal-Return, which opened its doors in 2011 in an empty storefront on Detroit's Division Street, is dedicated to reviving letterpress printing as a means of artistic expression and communication. But it isn't just about a centuries' old craft: letterpress has also been used recently in social activism, creating posters for protests.

The first Power of the Press fest was held in 2017. This year's event will include roughly 50 artists from Detroit, Kalamazoo, Brooklyn, Pittsburgh and Vermont, all selling original artwork.

Demonstrations throughout the day will include wood-engraving; paper marblin; woodcut prints; paper making; and book arts. Advance registration for workshops is required at the fest's Welcome Table.

The fest also will include music and the Quarantine Public Library, a project started by two artists during the pandemic. It invites other artists to make free, downloadable artists' books.

"To date, over 200 artists from all over the world have participated, and we've printed out and folded up all the books to share with Fest visitors," said Lynne Avadenka with Signal-Return.


Power of the Press Fest

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Market Shed 5

Free demonstrations, artist vendors

Go to https://www.powerofthepressfest.org/