The University of South Florida’s Graphicstudio is turning 50 this year, and the public is invited to help celebrate. An anniversary celebration will be held Thursday at the Tampa Theatre. The studio’s founder will be there, alongside current director Margaret Miller and past directors to commemorate the occasion.
Miller said she is excited to celebrate 50 years of success.
Graphicstudio was founded in 1968 and has since brought about 150 artists from all over the world to create over 1,000 pieces of work.
Miller said the founder, Dr. Donald Saff, was bored when he moved from New York to Tampa in the 60s. He wanted to bring leading artists to the area to work in a collaborative studio environment and enliven the university’s art program.
“For 50 years we’ve done just that,” she said.
Graphicstudio invites artists from across the globe to create work in Tampa. Miller said she tries to identify artists who would create work that's meaningful to the student and community experience. They come to Tampa to do things they've never done before and couldn't do by themselves. For example, Miller said they've had painters who have never made a print before.
"They develop new ideas and new ways of working," she said.
One of the first artists to work at Graphicstudio was Robert Rauschenberg. He experimented with numeorus forms and techniques to eventually complete over 60 editions of his work.
Saff will be at the event, telling the story of the origins of the studio. Former directors Alan Eaker and Hank Hine will also be there talking about the projects they developed during their time at Graphicstudio.
Miller will discuss the relationship between Graphicstudio and USF’s Contemporary Art Museum. The two organizations and the Public Art Program, are all under the umbrella of the Institute for Research in Art, which Miller is the director of.
“Exhibitions have come together to add a context to the artists brought to Graphicstudio,” Miller said.
To Miller, the greatest artist she’s seen during her tenure was Christian Marclay, who started with an exhibition at CAM and went on to produce work at Graphicstudio for six years. One of his pieces from the studio was shown at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art.
The event will also be an opportunity for members to show the importance of the community to the studio.
“I’m looking forward to really recognizing that the success of Graphicstudio is very much supported by the community,” Miller said.
The studio has research partners, people who contribute financially to help keep it all running. In return, partners can get pieces of art at the same rate it costs to produce them. Miller said it’s a great opportunity that helps to advance the studio’s research mission.
“I always hear ‘wow, you’re just this wonderful studio that no one knows about,’ but we’ve had so many people RSVP to the event,” Miller said. She hopes there will be hundreds of people at the celebration because there are a lot of people who have contributed to the success of Graphicstudio.
Graphicstudio and the rest of the Institute for Research in Art is owned by USF. It is one of three major print studios associated with a university in the country. Miller said it offers the biggest array of technical possibilities.