The first iteration of the AS220 Printshop was spearheaded in 1996 by AmeriCorps*VISTA Mark Pedini. Originally located in the basement of AS220′s Empire Street Complex, the Printshop provided silkscreen printing facilities to both novice and experienced printmakers in Providence, Rhode Island. In 2003, increasingly stringent fire codes led to the Printshop’s closure.
With the acquisition of the historic Dreyfus Hotel at the intersections of Mathewson and Washington Street, AS220 recognized the opportunity to open a second Printshop and fill the hole left in the wake of AS220′s popular basement studio. A full-time AmeriCorps*VISTA, Morgan Calderini, was enlisted to establish and manage the Shop. Calderini, aided by a team of around fifteen volunteers, opened the doors to our second Printshop in September 2007. During its first year, the reincarnated Printshop at AS220′s Dreyfus, launched its signature offerings: affordable access through a variety of Membership plans and a diverse range of educational offerings.
In late 2010, demand for the resources of the Printshop led to its expansion. The Shop moved from its 500 sq ft, two room incubator space to a spot six times its former size in the recently renovated Mercantile Block just next door to the Dreyfus. The space provided a new home for several long-stored and storied presses, including a massive Takach etching press, donated to the organization by the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).
Since its rebirth in 2007, the AS220 Printshop has taught thousands of community members the art and craft of printmaking.