Artists Image Resources (AIR) is an artist run, non-profit print and imaging organization established in 1996 to serve as a laboratory for artists, educators and the community. AIR’s mission is to integrate the creation of fine art prints with educational programs that explore the role of the artist in contemporary culture. AIR’s primary activities are to initiate and facilitate projects with professional artists and to create active laboratory environments where artists, students and the public interact. AIR’s fundamental interest is in how print and imaging processes are being used in broader contemporary art making practice and how these practices impact and reflect culture.
The organization combines a print lab (that publishes print editions with artists and provides fee for service project support to educators and the public) with a cooperative workshop where individuals can learn all facets of printmaking through individual study, and school-centered collaborative programs. Individuals may also become members of a volunteer workforce that trades technical and organizational skills for facilities access and project assistance from the studio.
Our goal has been to create a dynamic learning environment that supports the artist and informs and challenges our schools and our communities. We do this by initiating new work with artists and providing educational programs, discussions, and exhibitions that encourage strong voices and support informed and active community members. Print shops have long been associated with voice in our communities and printmaking has a long history of apprenticeship learning. We find that our dynamic mix of mentorship and apprenticeship learning models, driven by thoughtful and ambitious artist’s projects, can be extremely effective in stimulating and reinforcing critical thinking and problem solving skills in students and in the community.