Since opening up its doors over two decades ago, the nonprofit artist workshop Zygote Press has dedicated their mission to promoting the practice of printmaking in an inclusive, collaborative, and professional manner. With access to an abundance of printmaking machines and equipment, gallery space, educational outreach programs, and even in-house artist residency opportunities, Zygote is able to fulfill this impressive mission.
Zygote Press was founded in 1996 by Liz Maugans, Joe Sroka, Bellamy Printz, and Kelly Novak, who all were interested in opening an affordable printmaking space during a time when printing was beginning to mainly be done digitally. Universities and print businesses were starting to discard of their printing presses and other printmaking equipment, which allowed Zygote to acquire a robust collection of the necessary printmaking tools for their workshop.
Over the past two decades of building out a network of artists and implementing tons of different programming, Zygote has also underwent a few big changes, including moving their headquarters in 2006 from their original location on Chester Ave. into 1410 East 30th St., right on the edge of the Campus District. Along with the move, in 2016, Zygote Press’ board decided on hiring two co-directors, Stephanie Kluk and Kate Snow, which was a model they hadn’t tried before.
According to Kluk, the co-director model works really well in their favor, as both her and Snow have similar work ethic and values, and they’re both able to combine their knowledge in the arts and nonprofit worlds. Kluk comes from a background in fine art photography, as well as over 15 years in arts administration, including directing Cleveland-based arts center, Art House. Snow has a lot of experience in printmaking and painting, while she also brings extensive nonprofit experience to the table after working with numerous art-based nonprofits throughout Cleveland.
The duo, along with the rest of their 7-woman staff, have been able to bring a variety of different programming to the workshop. Zygote offers 8 different exhibitions in their gallery throughout the year, which includes a spot dedicated to a solo show for a local artist, one-on-one classes to teach silk screening, group tours of the workshop, and even an in-house artist residency.
Kluk, who greatly appreciates being able to work alongside a community of diverse artists, spoke highly of the residency program. “We get to meet new people and introduce them to other artists.”
Through this program, Zygote is able to host multiple artists across the U.S. and abroad to stay in their apartment space attached to the workshop. Artists have been hosted from Greece, Taiwan, Germany, New York, Virgina, and Philadelphia, to name a few. Resident artists, who mainly specialize in printmaking, are not only able to access the workshop 24/7, but are able to work alongside the diverse network of other artists that Zygote has built over the years. On top of that, resident artists from overseas have the opportunity to showcase their work in the gallery for their own exhibits.
Moving forward, Zygote looks to keep making printmaking affordable, accessible, and fun. With outreach programs to educate local elementary schools students about the art of printmaking and efforts to make their printing processes more environmentally friendly, Zygote continues to be able to reach even more folks in the community. If you’d like to learn more about Zygote Press, click here to check out their website. To learn more about their next exhibition coming up on May 10th, click here.
Article by Connor O’Brien