Grenfell student shares experiences from print shop co-op placement
by Pamela Gill
Jonathan Green spent a co-op semester at St. Michael’s Print Shop.
Jonathan Green’s co-op placement at St. Michael’s Print Shop gave him experiences that will complement his studies at Grenfell College.
The fourth-year visual arts student spent last summer at the St. John’s printshop, thanks to a new co-op program; Mr. Green is the first visual arts student to participate in the program. His experience was essentially a specialty co-op course for which he received academic credit; his professor, Kent Jones, who designed the course, hopes it will expand to include other visual arts experiences.
“Jonathan was an ideal candidate to inaugurate the course,” said Prof. Jones. “In addition to acquiring new practical skills and knowledge involving fine art printmaking, Jonathan was able to assist in workshops and printing activities involving visiting professional artists of national and international stature, as well as producing a series of his own prints. He also wrote reviews of art shows in local galleries and submitted an analysis of his own artwork which fulfilled the written component of the course. Jonathan was a great ambassador for Grenfell and I am especially pleased that we established such a meaningful relationship with St. Michael’s Printshop.”
St. Michael’s Printshop is a non-profit lithography, intaglio and relief print studio which provides professional fine art printmaking facilities for established artists, emerging artists and students of fine arts programs.
“I learned the technical and business side of running a printshop,” said Mr. Green, who hails from Carbonear. “Here (at Grenfell), we learn the techniques of printmaking… but how do you clean the press, maintain the equipment? It’s a different skill set than would be developed in school.”
His duties included everything from hanging and shipping artwork to maintaining presses, mixing acids (for intaglio etchings) and working in the gallery. He also learned the safety techniques necessitated by the potential hazards of acids and spills.
“I assisted with equipment, changed the paper in the presses; it was very hands on,” he said.
The co-op program also gave him the opportunity to rub elbows with the artistic community in downtown St. John’s.
“I was always meeting other artists, going to shows and learning about what it is to be a working artist,” said Mr. Green. “The networking was tremendous. The gallery owners now know my work and have seen me at shows.”
He plans to share his new knowledge with his fellow students at Grenfell College, and to encourage them to take advantage of the co-op program.
Mike Connolly, director of the printshop and a graduate of Grenfell’s visual arts program, said the co-op program is all about “real life experience”.
“St. Michael’s Printshop is thrilled that we were able to facilitate this type of exchange with Grenfell College,” he said. “Real life experience in a student’s chosen field is invaluable, allowing experiences, networking opportunities and insight not necessarily available while in the school environment. I feel that these opportunities give students a distinct advantage when graduating and assessing their options for the future. I only wish I had access to a program like this when I was a student at Grenfell.”
The printshop also offers Visiting Artist’s Program Scholarships free access to the print shop and $500 in artistic materials. These include the annual Don Wright Scholarship, which is available to recent graduates of visual arts programs. Several Grenfell College students have won this award.