As a printmaker, I am a press user. For many years, I was one of many users, often in a shared environment that also shared a press. Our communities in University of Miami and ArtCenter South Florida print shops also shared ink, paper drawers, shelves, and other resources necessary to printmaking. When I took on the identity of a printer who owned presses, I began the evolution from a “guy with presses” to Extra Virgin Press. My sense of community has changed me. The press’ voice is one that belongs to all of its users, as well as the voices that they channel. Working in Title I Public High Schools for over twenty years and driving in big circles from Hialeah, to the West Grove, Little Haiti, Kendall and Miami Beach has turned a big city into “my neighborhoods.” Traveling back and forth from the Midwest to Miami and back, has made me appreciate the things that these printers hold in common in those “neighborhoods” as well.
The work in the “Neighborhood” gallery is actually many neighborhoods, but with shared values. Extra Virgin Press’ stated mission is to keep letterpress printing alive in Miami. This mission has brought me to community partners such as: Oolite Arts, the Miami Foundation, the Knight Foundation, Miami Dade County Public Schools, Exile Books, O, Miami, Perez Art Museum Miami, Miami Dade College, Miami Book Fair, Little Haiti Book Festival, Florida International University, the Jaffe Center for Book Arts, Books & Books, the Center for Visual Communication, YoungArts, Emerson Dorsch Gallery, Locust Projects, University of Miami Special Collections, Miami Dade Public Library System and many individual artists of all stripes.