Short Run: A Small Press Event at the Vera Project

Posted on November 06, 2012, 9:00 am
4 mins

Short Run is an event focused on small press publications put on at the Vera Project, a youth run center for music and arts in the Seattle Center. Short Run offers artists a chance to exhibit and present their pieces in a convention-like setting for “alternative press, limited editions, and handmade books.” Small press—a rather broad and inclusive genre—encompasses comics, zines, art books, animation, and other literary works. The event featured mostly comic books and graphic novels, but some zines and literary magazines were also available. The event was founded in 2011 by Eroyn Franklin, Kelly Froh, Jenny Gialenes, and Martine Workman in an effort to provide  the small press and arts community with a venue for exposure and exhibition. The event, in a time of economic turmoil, provides support for a small industry that is dominated by large-scale commercial publishing, which is itself having a hard time competing with digital media.

A poster designed by Eroyn Franklin to bring publicity to the event around Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.

Short Run provides exposure an outlet for small press publications and the artists of the Handbound gallery show at SOIL in Pioneer Square and allows them to sell their work affordably. The event also brings attention to upcoming events as well, such as the April Festival—ironically occurring from March 25 to 31. This literary festival focuses on independent authors and publishers and the culture of literature in our society. Another exciting event is a reading and slideshow presentation of Nicole Georges’ new graphic memoir “Calling Dr. Laura.” This memoir follows the author’s personal revelations “about what happens to you when you are raised in a family of secrets and you learn the truth from an unlikely source.” The reading will occur on January 30 at Elliott Bay in Pioneer Square.

The quality of the works at Short Run was extremely high for almost every exhibitor, in both design and construction. The artists and companies featured at Short Run were varied but held together with a unifying thread—their devotion to the handcraft and unique storytelling possible through short-run press. As an outsider of the world of comic books, I was provided with a glimpse into this genre and its devoted sub-culture. Short Run also offered a look at the screen printing press of the Vera Project, creating a unity between the completed projects and the process of creation. The onsite printing press at the Vera Project allows the music and arts center to promote and influence youth culture in Seattle. The general environment of the event itself was inspirational for both visitors and exhibitors, and broke the typical comic book stereotypes that have been promoted in mainstream culture.

The silkscreen set up at the Vera Project and a press piece in the works.

One of the showroom spaces at the Vera Project.

An example of the booth set ups at the Short Run event.

Claire Reiner is a writer, artist and recent graduate from the University of Washington’s School of Art with a major in Art History. She is interested in recent art movements and subcultures (1950s, 60s, 70s) and how they have shaped present perceptions and practices of art. She grew up in Southern California and moved to Seattle in 2010. She is quite influenced by the unique geography of both places and enjoys hiking and exploring the Pacific Northwest. Reiner covers visual art exhibits in Seattle and seeks to contribute to a profound and positive artistic community, as well as encourage people to come out and experience art moments for themselves. Reiner is also the Executive Assistant for VanguardSeattle and handles any press related needs.