USM Art Department

USM Book Arts Students to Display Artists’ Books; Guest Lecturer to Speak on Artists’ Books as Teaching Tools

PORTLAND, Maine – Book arts students at the University of Southern Maine will celebrate the culmination of their unique summer course at the university’s Stone House in Freeport with a month-long exhibition of artists’ books.

The course completion also will be marked by a reception and lecture by Laurie Whitehill Chong, Special Collections librarian and curator of Artists’ Books at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), who will speak on artists’ books as teaching tools.

“Our book-arts program is an exciting and innovative opportunity for art students and professionals alike to expand their education in a wonderful setting,” said Rebecca Goodale, faculty director of Book Arts at Stone House and a USM Art Department faculty member. “Each student has created a unique artist’s book for this exhibition. Each book makes reference to techniques and skills learned at Stone House.”

The details of the exhibition and lecture are:

  • Book Arts Exhibition, Monday, Sept. 9-Friday, Oct. 11, Glickman Family Library, 6th floor, 314 Forest Avenue, Portland Campus; free to the public during library hours, 7:45 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Book Arts Lecture and Reception, “Artists' Books as Teaching Tools: A Cross-Disciplinary Perspective,” Laurie Whitehill Chong, Special Collections Librarian and Curator of Artists' Books, Fleet Library, Rhode Island School of Design, 4 p.m., Monday, Sept. 16, University Events Room, seventh floor; Exhibition Reception, 5-6 p.m., sixth floor near Special Collections; refreshments; free and open to the public.

“An artist’s book,” said Goodale, “is conceived and created in the same manner that a sculptor might create sculpture. It is a vehicle for expression and in itself a work of art.”

Some 36 students – full-time college students, professional classroom teachers and professional artists – many from all over Maine and New England took part in the seven-day course, offered by the USM Art Department, Goodale said. “One student was a teacher from the American University in Cairo, Egypt,” she noted. 

During the seven days, the participants were required to attend eight workshops, each given by a different faculty member. The workshops this year included topics on monotype prints and etching, book binding, inventive fold books, book design, calligraphy, sewing, and narratives in book form.

“After the weeklong program, each student then had one month to create an artist's book inspired by some aspect of the course,” Goodale said. Those books will be on display starting in September.

Guest lecturer Laurie Whitehill Chong is both a librarian and an artist specializing in artists’ books. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from RISD and her Master of Library Science from the University of Rhode Island. She joined the RISD Library in 1989 and became Special Collections Librarian in 2006. In that position, Chong presents selections of resources to more than 75 classes per year, provides individual consultations for student projects and curates the library’s exhibition program. She maintains a Special Collections blog featuring artist’s book and special collections resources and events at

Chong’s drawings, paintings, collages and handmade books have been exhibited locally and out of state. Her more recent work is in experimental letterpress broadsides and linocuts. During her sabbatical year, she hand-produced an artist’s book, Snow Bound In September: A Re-Imagining,” in an edition of 25 copies. She has taught classes in papermaking, paste paper and bookbinding through RISD’s Continuing Education and the RISD Museum Education department.

For more information about the USM summer book arts program, go to:

For more information about the USM Art Department, go to:


For more information about USM’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, go to:


For more information about USM, contact:

USM Office of Public Affairs