Welcome to the Kate Cheney Chappell '83 Center for Book Arts.

In an age where most people buy mass-produced books at chain stores and an increasing number of people shop for their books online to read on Amazon’s Kindle electronic reading device, one would think the days of holding and opening a hand-bound book are over. Except, of course, for a growing contingent of book artists who create works of art as limited edition, hand-printed books or unique handmade volumes. An art form that reaches back to medieval bookbinding and letterpress tradition and forward to installation art and novel constructions, book arts cover a wide spectrum.

University of Southern Maine alumna Kate Cheney Chappell (’83) and co-founder of Tom’s of Maine, studied book arts under well-known Maine book artist and USM faculty member Rebecca Goodale. A professional artist, Chappell’s love of creating handmade books was something she wanted to share with a gift that established The Kate Cheney Chappell Center for Book Arts at USM, naming Goodale as program coordinator. The Center for Book Arts will celebrate the innovative and engaging nature of book arts through lectures and workshops by national and regional book artists, and through exhibits of artists’ books.

New studio space available for book arts workshops in the recently opened Wishcamper Center is named in memory of Chappell’s mother, Mary Pope Cheney, an artist and advocate for the visually impaired, and her aunt Elizabeth Pope, chair of the English Department at Mills College and author of historical fiction for young adults. The Wishcamper Center houses USM’s Muskie School of Public Service and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

CAHS launched the Kate Cheney Chappell '83 Center for Book Arts in 2008.

View the presentation What is Book Arts: A Panel Discussion from September 29, 2022.


Browse the Book Arts Collection:

Book Arts Collection Student Work