Artist Anne-Joëlle Galley is stepping up in support of The Printing Museum as the Houston institution continues to recover from an electrical fire that occurred in May.
The effort is rooted in Galley’s love for the museum — and for printing in general. Her affinity for the medium began when she joined the class of highly regarded master printmaker Sylvie Germain Covey at the Art Students League of New York, a prestigious art school serving both professionals and amateurs for more than 130 years. Alumni include such luminaries as Mark Rothko, Ai Weiwei, Georgia O’Keefe and Jackson Pollock. Galley is now a lifetime league member.
When Galley moved to Houston, she found a new center for her passion — The Printing Museum. The institution has been around Houston for almost 35 years – and its collection features antique printing presses, rare books, prints and historic newspapers.
“One of things that makes the museum so special is that guests get to see our presses in action, and they even get to print,” executive director Jennifer Pearson said. “Guests can explore various workshops such as making paper, trying letterpress and printing their own business cards. They can screen print, bind a book and do so many other things.”
These artifacts come alive during tours with resident artist Charles Criner, who guides guests as they print a page from the Declaration of Independence on the museum’s majestic Columbian Press, a piece of equipment designed for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. They can then take that page home with them, as well as a leaf of the Bible printed on the Gutenberg facsimile press.
In May of this year, the museum suffered an electrical fire, causing significant smoke and water damage in the southwest portion of the building. The museum moved its collection of books, newspapers and works on paper to an off-site storage facility, where they have been undergoing assessments by professional conservators.
“The fire was contained to a relatively small area, one of our former tenant spaces,” Pearson said. “Yet, its impact was felt throughout our entire 17,000 square-foot facility. It was more than the fire itself, it was the water from putting out the fire out that seriously damaged hundreds of items in our reference library.”
Ash and soot travelled through the ductwork and coated every surface on the premises – every item on display, every display case, every upholstered chair in the theatre, all the floors and walls, meaning everything required professional cleaning.
Galley was devastated to hear about the news – and started brainstorming a way to help.
The artist decided to design a special scarf for the museum, which includes its logo. The scarf was created from a print Galley recently designed at the museum’s workshop with resident artist Charles Criner.
She is covering all the manufacturing costs — and donating half of the sale price from the scarf to the museum.
“I see this as not just giving back to the museum, but to the whole community,” she said. “Giving half of the proceeds to the museum is also a contribution to Houston, because of how special the museum is. The Printing Museum is a wonderful jewel in the local art world, especially in terms of the printing workshops.”
It is a gesture the museum staff greatly appreciates.
“This is incredibly generous — for her to donate 50 percent of the sale price of each scarf sold,” Pearson said. “The decision to create the scarf and support us in this way was all her. Anne-Joëlle is a gem. She is a dear friend to everyone on staff — a super talented, kind-hearted artist who is treasured by all.”
The exclusive scarf supporting the museum recently arrived from France and is selling now on Anne-Joëlle Galley’s website, annejoelledesigns.com.
Pearson pointed out that while Galley’s support will help the museum bounce back, more help is needed.
“Fire recovery takes a long time,” Pearson said. “It’s not just the damages and repairs, or the seemingly endless stream of contractors and adjustors. It’s also all the lost time, revenue, opportunities and momentum. Besides the fire, we had another big setback in October when one of our four air conditioning units broke down. Temperature and humidity control are paramount for museums, so replacing the A/C unit is a necessity.”
For those interested in supporting the museum, a new campaign will launch in December in honor of the museum’s 35th anniversary in 2017.
“It is called $35 for 35,” Pearson said. “We are encouraging donations in $35 increments.”
For information about how to support the museum, as well as a list of future exhibitions, collections, workshops and events, visit printingmuseum.org.
For more information about Anne-Joëlle Galley and Anne-Joëlle Designs visit https://annejoelledesigns.com/
About Anne-Joëlle Galley
Anne-Joëlle Galley is a Houston-based international painter and colorist who exhibits internationally and whose paintings are held in numerous private collections around the world.
She studied in Europe in the 1980’s, attending various ateliers and art courses at Sotheby’s and ICA-Institute of Contemporary Art/Christies in London). In New York City in the late 1990’s she joined the “Art Students League of New York,” of which she is a lifetime member. She showed in numerous group exhibitions, and her first solo presentation was in New York in 2002. She has been a selected participant in the I Bienal of Etching and Graphic Work in Cáceres, Spain, and in the Florence Biennale of Contemporary Art in Italy.
About The Printing Museum
The Printing Museum, located in Houston’s vibrant Montrose District, is dedicated to promoting, preserving and sharing print history, communication and art. The museum was founded in 1979 by Raoul Beasley, Vernon P. Hearn, Don Piercy and J. V. Burnham, four printers with passions for preserving their vast collections and sharing them with the community. It was chartered in 1981 and had its official opening in 1982 with Dr. Hans Halaby, Director of the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, Germany, cutting the ribbon. The Printing Museum’s stated mission is “to promote, preserve and share the knowledge of printed communication and art as the greatest contributors to the development of the civilized world and the continuing advancement of freedom and literacy.”