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Society of Northern Alberta Print Artists

Printmaking workshop at SNAP workshop. The Society of Northern Alberta Print Artists (SNAP) began in the early 1980s as an idea conceptualized by a few friends gathered after a day of work at the University of Alberta printmaking department.

Two of the individuals present that day were master printers Robin Peck and Marc Siegner, of Halifax and Toronto respectively. They both came from cities with studios exclusively dedicated to printmaking, and after having arrived in Alberta, where an absence of such facilities was glaringly missing, they decided to hatch a plan with some like-minded individuals. In 1982, SNAP was founded.

Sean Caulfield.At that time, printmaking facilities in Edmonton were available to visual arts faculty and students through the University of Alberta's Art and Design Department, but once students graduated, they and other printmakers not involved with the department did not have access privileges.

People browsing through original prints.In order to realize the creation of an accessible facility dedicated to printmaking, an ample space was needed. Peck and Siegner had their eyes on the Great West Saddlery Building in downtown Edmonton. By 1986, the building had been acquired and SNAP held its first exhibition, The Great West Saddlery Show, which raised the organization's profile and went on to become an annual event.

"The Great Carpe Diem" UV screenprint by Carl Heywood.Like many non-profit organizations, SNAP faced the challenge of acquiring equipment and actively sought out the donation of necessary resources. It was successful and received a crude press on loan from University of Alberta. The Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD) contributed a few presses it had in storage.

Getting the large and heavy equipment from ACAD (in Calgary) to Edmonton proved to be an adventure. One person almost lost limbs hauling the presses onto a U-Haul, but celebration was called for when the equipment arrived, and the presses where swiftly christened.

"Goat" a print by Gary Olson.The communally minded printmakers at SNAP decided that building studio spaces would be conducive to cultivating Edmonton's artist community. Ten studios, to be inhabited by printmakers, painters and other artists, were constructed by 1986."Nightfall: all day long you'll squint at the sky" by Derek Besant.

In 1988, the organization introduced a newsletter with accompanying print editions. Throughout its time of growth, SNAP sought out collaboration with other arts organizations such as the Alberta Printmakers' Society based out of Calgary, and the Open Studio printmaking centre in Quebec.

"Tip #72" linocut and watercolour print by Katherine Aoki.Completely dedicated to printmaking, SNAP remains unique to Alberta. Always striving to be a dynamic artist-run centre, it opened a gallery in 1996. The SNAP gallery actively exhibits a gamut of artists, runs educational outreach programs to engage new audiences in printmaking, and has expanded its print workshop.

Some highlights of SNAP's achievements are its hosting of the 1997 SITElines International Symposium in Image Culture, and the organization being featured as a guest exhibitor in Tokyo, Japan. In 2002, SNAP held its first True North SNAP International Print Biennial.

Featured Audio

Featured Audio

Tommy Banks introduces Society of Northern Alberta Print and then Tony Dillon-Davis speaks with Marc Seigner and Marlene McCallum about the society's contribution to a show in Brazil. Listen Now

"Mull Ferry" by Barbara Rae.SNAP's mandate is communicated clearly as seeking to promote printmaking as an art form. As an active and ever-evolving centre involved with the greater community, SNAP is continually striving to be an asset to Alberta's arts community.

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