Broadsides: Josef Beery Spotlight

Virginia Arts of the Book Center

It’s July and the VABC is all about broadsides this month. Just one thing. What exactly is a broadside?

Well, it’s a large sheet of paper, printed on one side and distributed as a poster, mailed piece, or handbill. Broadsides are a class of ephemera that originally could include anything—advertising, event announcements, notices of a government policy. Arguably, the most famous American broadside is the Dunlap broadside…of special resonance in the month of July. (UVa Special Collections has a permanent exhibit on printing’s role in independence.)

More recently, the broadside has been adapted by artists and writers as a vehicle for creative work. The VABC is just kicking off its annual poetry broadside themed contest…this year, “Power Poems,” on the topic of energy. (In Charlottesville, power is a big topic right now…if you can read this you have power. Sorry VABC members and fellow poets, we’re all unplugged and ineligible according to the guidelines. Still, pass it along to a friend! Last year’s winner turned out beautifully, thanks again, Frank Riccio!)

But I digress. Our biggest news on the topic of broadsides is that one of our project’s founders, Josef Beery, has been on a tear (so to speak) of broadside collaborations and commissions. If you cut Josef in the last six months, he bled ink. You may have taken one of Josef’s classes recently…I’ve seen so many students flourishing under his care, printing their own specimen sheets and broadsides that I’ve simply lost count how many works have rolled off the Vandercook in the last six months. He is our definitely this spring’s MVP (most voluminous printer).

We’ve included a gallery below as a teaser–but you have to come into the Art on Ivy Gallery this month to really appreciate the mastery. Incredible original artwork in the block cuts and a careful hand at typesetting. Josef’s work will be on display (and for sale, from the artist) all month. Stop by and marvel. You’ll find a celebration of all our available VABC broadsides with a special gallery spotlight on Josef Beery.

Josef Beery is a graduate of the University of Virginia. He has operated a professional design practice specializing in publications for education and development for almost 30 years. He has long been committed to teaching the story of the book, printing, and reading, having worked as a volunteer in the public schools and taught at Sweet Briar College and UVa. Beery designed the Virginia Festival of the Book’s signature floral logo annually for the Festival’s first 15 years. In 1995, he partnered with Calvin Otto and Terry Belanger to start the Virginia Arts of the Book Center, a non-profit organization fostering education and creative work in the arts of the book (papermaking, printmaking, letterpress, and bookmaking). The VABC is now a vibrant Virginia Foundation for the Humanities program.

A sample of Josef’s broadside work and details on where to see the gallery show are below.

Art on Ivy Gallery
(beneath Creative Framing/The Art Box)
2125 Ivy Road
9:30-5:30 M-F, 10-4 Sat, closed Sun


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