In Case of Fire, Make Something Beautiful

Houston artist Anne-Joëlle Galley offers stylish support for her favorite museum in wake of fire

Style Magazine Newswire | 12/9/2016, 4:06 p.m.
Artist Anne-Joëlle Galley is stepping up in support of The Printing Museum as the Houston institution continues to recover from ...
artwork by Artist Anne-Joëlle

HOUSTON – Dec. 6, 2016 – 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.”