Published on October 30th, 2018

There is poetic justice in the marketplace writing obituaries for media such as print: left for dead by the masses and corporate interests, they become the province of creators who step in and take over the means of production.

The Small Press Fair was founded in that spirit of restoration: to support artists and makers and anyone else into small-batch printing, ’zines, comics, posters, books and the like. With the third annual installment, SPF’18, coming up, the investment in a local expo of tactile, non-digital artistry and craft is paying off.

“We’ve hit some really great milestones,” Sarah Michelle Rupert, co-founder and co-director with Ingrid Schindall of SPF, tells PureHoney. “Each year our attendance and exhibitor participation has increased. It’s on track and growing nicely. And what’s surprised me is the amount of people from outside of South Florida who are participating.”

SPF17 by Monica McGivern

SPF organizers are expecting around 80 exhibitors this year, up from 60 last year and 50 the year before. The fair will take place in the 10,000-square-foot space, The Projects, that anchors the FATVillage arts warehouse complex in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Previous attractions included a live printmaking session with a giant steamroller — a witty rejoinder to the idea of the medium as pixel-era roadkill. The steamroller is back for the expanded 2018 edition, along with creation stations for first-timers and other celebratory-yet-practical demos of all things paper and ink.

SPF17 by Monica McGivern

SPF was born as a collaboration between two Fort Lauderdale ventures that combine creative entrepreneurship and education, Rupert’s Girls’ Club art gallery, and Schindall’s IS Projects printmaking and bookbinding studio. This year SPF became its own nonprofit, able to pursue a bigger slate of supporting grants. It has become a driver of Fort Lauderdale’s emerging profile as an arts and culture destination.

The makers are all in. “They know they can do this easier and cheaper digitally,” Rupert says, “They’re choosing to take the time, choosing to hand-craft these things. It’s a deliberate decision. That forethought and sweat equity isn’t going away, and we can see that in SPF.”

SPF’18 runs noon-6pm on November 10 at The Projects of FATVillage in Fort Lauderdale. Admission is free. ~ Tim Moffatt

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