Sale to help kick off Tandem Press’ move to on-campus facility

April 24, 2013

Photo: printmaker at printing press at Tandem Press

Master printer Jason Ruhl uses an auto-inking press to add a layer of blue ink to an edition of prints at Tandem Press.

Photo: Bryce Richter

Rumors of Tandem Press being forced from its longtime home on the near east side of Madison are nothing new.

Paula Panczenko, who has served as director of the UW-Madison artistic printmaking laboratory since 1989, recalls hearing near perpetual talk over the past two-plus decades about how this state-owned, white brick and cinder block facility was on the verge of being sold — or destined for a date with the wrecking ball. In 2007, then-Gov. Jim Doyle even temporarily put the warehouse at 201 S. Dickinson St., which also is home to the state's car fleet, up for sale.

But fast-forward to today, and rumor has evolved into reality.

"The move is going to be a little bittersweet," says Panczenko. "We have sort of run our own show over here and become a part of the east side community as an anchor arts space. But the future is now and leaving this building is the first step in our eventual move to campus, which will be fantastic."

Indeed, although Tandem Press will start the process of moving into a different facility at 1743 Commercial Ave. in the coming weeks, that stop is scheduled to simply be a three-year layover before Panczenko and company can unveil a new, on-campus facility adjacent to the Art Lofts building at 630 W. Mifflin St. Continuum Architects was selected in March to design the new facility on campus.

“The future is now and leaving this building is the first step in our eventual move to campus, which will be fantastic.”

Paula Panczenko

"The visibility that we will eventually have on campus with the new facility will be huge," says Panczenko. "And the fact that we can have much greater and easier access to alumni who visit campus will be invaluable. It will also be much, much easier for interaction to take place between faculty and students, the artists and the Madison community."

And in an effort to both raise funds and lighten its load before the upcoming move, Tandem will be holding a moving sale from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, April 27 at its current facility at 201 South Dickinson St. Hundreds of original, artist-signed, fine art prints will be available for purchase with discounts up to 50 percent off the regular list price.

Over the years, Tandem Press has built up an inventory of some 8,000 prints. Hundreds will be available for this sale, including those by Richard Bosman, Suzanne Caporael, Robert Cottingham, Sam Gilliam, David Lynch and Judy Pfaff — among many others. Tandem also will host a special reception that same day from 7 to 9 p.m.

Tandem Press, which was founded in 1987, is affiliated with the Department of Art in the School of Education. It brings in artists who use its facilities to create editions of prints and interact with graduate and undergraduate students and the university and Madison community.

The press is one of only three professional presses affiliated with a university in the United States, with Tandem prints hanging in museums and corporations across the country.

"The only thing that's tough about the interim move is the time and effort this is taking, plus the financial aspects," says Panczenko. "It costs a lot to move all the presses and our print inventory. But overall, these are very exciting times."

—Todd Finkelmeyer