About Octavofest:
Since 2010

By 2010, the founding organization ABC and its partners were able to organize, publicize, and staff an even more vigorous program. Collaborating organizations and institutions had expanded to a dozen, and in coordination they presented nearly fifty different events at twenty different venues across Cuyahoga County. These events included multiple exhibitions, lectures, artist demonstrations, workshops and classes, art tours, and lectures that filled the entire month of October and brought the exciting world of book and paper arts to a wide audience of all ages.

The 2011 Octavofest program presented an even livelier and more visible exploration of the book and paper arts, funded in part by a grant from the George Gund Foundation. It continued to draw new collaborators who, by combining energies, leveraged their own venues, audiences, expertise, staff, and other resources to build programming. Acclaimed author and book artist Audrey Niffenegger was guest speaker and the program included film presentations, a book and paper fair, various exhibits, and book artist show-and-tell events. New collaborators from beyond the immediate area, such as Oberlin College and the Ohioana Library Association, demonstrated the potential of Octavofest to promote the Cleveland area's strengths, both in the book and paper arts and in the successful co-creation of community among institutions, organizations, artists, and entrepreneurs.

Octavofest 2012 drew state-wide attention and an international audience when it coincided with the Morgan's sponsorship of two international conferences of enthusiasts of hand papermaking, the International Association of Hand Papermakers and Paper Artists (IAPMA) and the Friends of Dard Hunter. Book artists Susan Gaylord and Bea Nettles gave guest lectures and Gaylord presented a workshop for teachers on using handmade books in the classroom. ABC members exhibited artist books at the Ingalls Library at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the CSU Michael Schwartz Library inaugurated a website to consolidate scheduling among the ever-growing list of collaborators.

The annual program has continued to grow. ABC has some forty active members who present two exhibitions each October: the annual abecedarium show and a second themed exhibition. Both of them showcase the variety and creativity of local book and paper artists. Their multi-venue WatchART! events, during which book and paper artists work on projects in progress while interacting with members of the public, continue to grow in popularity. Octavofest collaborators now stretch from Oberlin to Akron and include libraries, bookstores, educational institutions, bibliophilic and arts organizations, museums, and community groups.

In 2016 Octavofest reached a new stage of development with the formation of a Steering Committee: Glenda Thornton (CSU), Rachel Morris (Notre Dame College), Louis Adrean (Cleveland Museum of Art), Nadine Grimm (Educational Service Center, Inc.), Bette Bonder (ABC), and Carole Wallenchck (Heights Libraries), with Laura Martin serving as Chair. With funding from Ohio Humanities, Octavofest 2016 will bring to Northeast Ohio its first international guest presenter, Rickey Tax, Head Librarian and Acting Director of the Museum Meermanno – the Dutch Museum of the Book in The Hague.

By combining the resources of its many collaborators, Octavofest intends to continue to bring the exciting world of book and paper arts to a wide audience of all ages – and to serve as a model of grass-roots, community-organized arts programming.

Link to What is an Octavo?