Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pyramid Atlantic Art Center


For the duration of the summer I interned at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, located in Silver Spring, Maryland. Upon the recommendation of my professors, I applied to Pyramid Atlantic. It is run by Gretchen Schermerhorn, the artistic director, and Jose Dominguez, the executive director. They run a successful community printshop with a relaxed atmosphere.

Pyramid’s core is made up of local artists who volunteer at Pyramid and in return are given free studio time. Pyramid also works with clientele in the community and sponsors community events to better the understanding of art.  There were 7 studio interns including myself. As a studio intern we worked two days a week, and at least 7 hours outside of that towards our own artwork. I was at pyramid usually 4 or 5 days a week. In return we were granted free studio time and 3 credits.




Our work involved cleaning up the studios as well as larger projects. The summer interns had three larger projects. The first was the Sargasso Sea Scrolls which is a collaboration between the Sargasso Sea Alliance and Pyramid Atlantic. We made scrolls of paper, and digitally printed on the sheets. The second project was the annual keepsake mailer, which is mailed out to 4000 people. We created the design for the mailer which we then pulled handmade paper for and screenprinted text onto. The third project was an edition of thirty handmade paper lanterns for “Artspring” a local arts shop in Takoma Park. Most of my time went into making paper for the Sargasso Sea Scrolls and assembling the paper lanterns. I headed up a print trade within the Pyramid Atlantic artist community. The interns designed the folio and we assembled the print trade for 13 individuals. We coordinated a gallery opening in space 10 in Takoma Park Community Center as a conclusion to our internship. We had a successful opening Friday the 10th of August, where our families and friends joined in celebrating our artistic accomplishments of the summer.

The dynamic between the seven interns was very positive. We collaborated really well. There were two other MICA students that interned at Pyramid, which was convenient for the hour long carpool. It was a fun low key environment, but not a second went to waste. Being in this space allowed me to step up to the plate and take responsibility. I learned valuable skills while I worked at Pyramid. I now have a working knowledge of paper making and letterpress, two skills that I had no prior knowledge of. I am excited to integrate these new techniques into my work this next semester. One of the best things I learned at Pyramid was how to make and use paper clay from resident  artist Rebecca Hutchinson.  

Working at Pyramid was eye opening for future opportunities that await.  I am now interested in doing residencies after I graduate. Knowing that shops like Pyramid exist as a space for working artists to be together in a community printshop is important. It was truly worth while to have this practical application of art within a community.  

-Jackie Riccio '14, Printmaking