MISSION

We connect and build communities through socially engaging arts practices rooted in papermaking and printmaking.

 

VISION

A future where individuals from all walks of life can find commonality, connection, and empathy.

CORE VALUES

  • Educate new, emerging, and established artists in the fine arts of printmaking and papermaking in all its varied forms

  • Connect existing communities & build new communities through our studio programming and trans-disciplinary partnerships, connecting artists to each other, to communities, and to the public

  • Foster a culture of socially engaging arts practices, highlighting the importance of the act of making and engaging as a participatory and connective experience with others

  • Increase access, participation, and visibility in the arts for marginalized communities and individuals of all ability levels

  • Conduct research, explore practices, implement, and share our findings on socially engaging arts practices, less-toxic and non-toxic studio practices, and social change impact

 

HISTORY

Frontline Arts, formerly known as the Printmaking Center of New Jersey (PCNJ), was incorporated on December 10, 1974. Originally founded as the Printmaking Council of New Jersey, Founders Lois Berghoff, Zelda Burdick, Florence Wender, Carol Yudin and Peter Chapin, envisioned an organization that would help local artists as well as promote the fine art of printmaking statewide.

In 1978, the mobile program Roving Press attracted the attention of the Somerset County Parks Commission, which had recently acquired 35 acres of property donated by Ralph T. Reeve to be used as a statewide cultural complex bearing his name. The organization was offered three acres and a two-story framed building, which once housed the offices of a lumber company, through an ongoing lease with the Somerset County Parks Commission. The Ralph T. Reeve Cultural Center located in Branchburg, New Jersey has been home to our offices, gallery, mobile programming, and fully-equipped printmaking and papermaking studios ever since.

In 2018, the Printmaking Center of New Jersey merged with its fiscal project known as Frontline Arts, originally founded under PCNJ in 2011 as Combat Paper NJ. CPNJ was founded by veteran artists and activists, Eli Wright and David Keefe. With inspiration from master papermaker Drew Mattot, and Drew Cameron’s traveling project called Combat Paper Project, Eli and Dave built a unique community-oriented papermaking program that connected veterans and non veterans from all eras through the transformational practice of making handmade paper from military uniforms, creative writing, and printmaking via the profound connection over making and telling stories together. Through a process of deconstruction, reclamation, and communication, Veterans connect with non-veterans, by sharing their personal stories through handmade paper, printmaking, and participatory artmaking.

Out of this nationally-recognized and growing Veterans’ papermaking program, now called Frontline Paper, the budding new organization, Frontline Arts was born in 2015, eager to embrace social awareness through connective arts practice. As the fiscal project grew, PCNJ and Frontline Arts agreed to unite and move forward as a stronger printmaking and papermaking organization together. In September 2017, the assumption agreement was signed by both organizations. On March 31, 2018, the assumption was finalized with the legal name change to Frontline Arts.

We've updated our mission to connect and build communities through socially engaging art practices rooted in papermaking and printmaking. We're excited to continue and further the work of the original Founders, connecting artists with communities through mobile socially engaging initiatives and teaching the fine arts of printmaking across the state, while also offering groundbreaking exhibitions, artist residencies, an Artist Series, and communal space with shared equipment for printmakers and papermakers across our state and larger region.