Brief History – The Minnesota Daily – cialisdfr
Brief History – The Minnesota Daily
Brief History – The Minnesota Daily

Bohemian Press (“Bo Press”), the University of Minnesota’s nonprofit graphic arts organization, is hosting a screen printing party for its Thursday meeting.

Staff set up screens with some of the collective’s archived designs for attendees to print on scrap fabric or clothing they brought.

Co-presidents Josh Wojnar and Jobee Gust demonstrated the process, exchanging playful banter with each other and the other attendees.

Wojnar said with a smile that he’s still considering whether to print a Bo Press logo on his graduation stole.

Rainbow Robbins, a regular at Bo Press, was delighted to see their design featuring a mushroom cap frog successfully screen burned ready for printing. They said they planned to make identical shirts for themselves and their girlfriends.

“I found it [Bo Press] in an accident,” Robbins said. “I saw flyers, I just came to one of the meetings and just stayed a part of the club.”

There were no bad ideas or negative consequences of mistakes or lack of experience at the meeting.

“[Bo Press] is open to anyone interested in art and graphics here at the U,” Gust said.

Neither Gust nor Wojnar themselves are fine art majors. Students from a variety of majors are part of Bo Press, from fine arts to graphics to mathematics.

Both Gust and Wojnar agreed that prior printing experience can be helpful for Bo Press members, but is by no means required. Bo Press focuses its activities mostly around screen printing and embossing, which are easier and more affordable processes.

“Most of the time the print studio can only be used by people who are in a print class, but being at Bo Press you can come in during meetings no matter what your experience is,” Wojnar said.

Established in 2006, Bo Press meetings are held in the Malcolm Myers Print Studio in room W185 of the Regis Center for Art, every Thursday at 4:00 p.m. The posters, advertising various events in the collective’s nearly 20-year history, add bright colors to the brown cinder block walls and the white cork boards attached to them.

Printmaking professor Jenny Schmidt, who helped found Bo Press and has been the collective’s faculty adviser since its founding, said it got its name from Bohemian Flats Park along the West River Parkway, which is visible from the Washington Avenue Bridge.

“‘Bohemian’ has a double meaning as a region in the Czech Republic, but also as ‘free and wild people,'” Schmidt said.

Bo Press stays busy throughout the year. In the fall, they screen-print live at WAM-O-RAMA and coordinate collaborative projects like their Halloween-themed “Hallow-Zine” and screen-printed calendar. They hold sales in the Regis Center for Art East Lobby, attend events such as print conferences, and host visiting artists in the print studio.

“We packed up and were ready for the fall, and then when spring came, we were like, ‘Let’s take a breather. What do we do to keep it interesting and fun?” Wojnar said.

Schmidt said she’s noticed a post-pandemic renaissance of Bo Press — a student-led effort to keep things interesting, try new things and lead the collective in new directions.

“It was really hard during COVID. We were going to be online, but it was just sad,” Schmidt said. “It was great to see the students take charge [Bo Press] and I’m just super active and I meet so regularly and I don’t need to motivate anyone.”

Schmidt said she always wanted Bo Press to be student-run. As it stands, Gust and Wojnar are co-presidents — whom she calls “royalty” — and there are five other board members, all of whom are juniors and seniors.

Gust and Wojnar went from newcomers to co-presidents of Bo Press in two short years, an experience they called “stumbling and falling” into the roles.

“Feels really weird,” Wojnar said as Gust giggled in agreement.

Both Wojnar and Gust are graduating this semester, but even with their short term, they aim to leave a lasting impact on Bo Press, namely by rewriting the collective’s constitution to create a safe space for others.

“We’re trying to get it into our constitution that we can ask people who are transphobic or racist, etc., to leave the club,” Gust said.

She added that the measure was not intended to be exclusionary, but rather to proactively protect others.

Bo Press also hosted queer artist Brian Wagner in the fall and collaborated with the Queer Ecology Hanky ​​Project in spring 2023.

Printmaking is a multitasking environment, meaning that one process can create more than one job. Wojnar said this creates many more opportunities for support, collaboration and community building – all things Bo Press is rooted in.

“What really excites me about going further with the press is that even outside of Bo Press, it’s really big for the community,” Wojnar said. “Community is everywhere in different ways.”

The next Bo Press event will be a Spring Print Sale in mid-April. You can follow them Instagram for updates.

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