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Marriott Library’s Book Arts Program expands to offer new major

Beginning spring 2024, the U will offer a new studio art emphasis in book arts. The Book Arts Program (BAP), a division of Special Collections at the J. Willard Marriott Library, has partnered with the Department of Art & Art History within the College of Fine Arts for nearly twenty-five years. A certificate and minor have been available since 2009, along with a modular MFA in Creative Writing & Book Arts through the English Department. The Book Arts emphasis within the Art BFA will allow continued growth and development of the book arts curriculum with the aim of the BAP reaching its full potential as a nationally significant and leading program in the field.

You may ask—what exactly is book arts? The book arts curriculum emphasizes the book as a conceptual, material, and generative space where each student’s unique skills and research interests can be investigated, developed, and integrated. The Book Arts Program offers classes in letterpress printing, bookbinding, papermaking, book design, artists’ books, and typography. An artist’s book can employ any media and examine any subject matter, so the major allows students to customize their experience through electives in other studio art practices, graphic design and creative writing. The Book Arts Studio is one of the best equipped in the country, with multiple flatbed and platen presses and bindery and papermaking equipment to accommodate large class sizes. With student computing, scanning and printing available in the building, the BAP is well-supported in new media applications. The studio also houses a large-format digital printer and a Risograph duplicator, further extending its creative scope. The Book Arts Program is integrated with the Rare Books Division, home to thousands of visual books that support student and faculty research.

The University of Utah is currently one of eight institutions nationally that offers undergraduate academic designations in book arts and will be one of six to offer a major. Four dedicated faculty look forward to extending this opportunity for serious study in book arts. The Book Arts Program will continue to work with partnering departments to sustain interdisciplinary objectives and cultivate collaboration, providing students opportunities to pursue coursework in multiple colleges through a book arts lens. In addition to academic programming, the Book Arts Program offers community workshops in book arts, bringing nationally recognized book artists to our studios to teach and share their expertise. For over two decades, the Book Arts Studio has functioned as a multi-disciplinary makerspace and is primed to welcome new students.

Check out Book Arts classes in the U’s general catalog.

Book Arts Faculty:

Marnie Powers-Torrey
Head, Book Arts Program
Managing Director, Red Butte Press




Sara Luz Jensen
Studio Manager and Instructor, Book Arts Program
Lead Printer, Red Butte Press




Amy Thompson
Designer and Instructor, Book Arts Program
Designer, Red Butte Press




Emily Tipps
Program Manager and Instructor, Book Arts Program
Lead Binder, Red Butte Press