Traditional letterpress printing has caught on in Laredo with a series of community events hosted by students, faculty, and staff at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU). Together, they have collectively spent the past year creating vibrant works of art made from ancient typographic equipment.

During the Spring 2020 semester, TAMIU Assistant Art Professor Jesse Shaw received a $ 10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). With help from the University’s Office of Research and Sponsored Projects, grant funds helped start Laredo Mobile Typography.


The proposed project purchased vintage letterpress material with wood and metal and aimed to provide a year of public programming, Shaw explained.

“For the programming, we welcomed two guest artists to carry out typographic projects. The project’s mission was to give Laredoans a voice through the tradition of handmade posters and letterpress prints and to teach the history of the process, ”said Shaw.

As the COVID-19 pandemic strained the search for the necessary equipment, Shaw and his students found a typography contractor who would restore and deliver typography in time for the fall 2020 semester.

The first project for Laredo Mobile Typography was a collaborative opportunity between the students of Alexander High School art teacher Erika Buentello and the students of the university. High school students remotely worked on their designs from their homes and sent them to the university’s printmaker to be physically printed by socially distant students in the on-campus printmaking studio. University students then hand-dyed the paper and created designs to match the text.

Check out some of the artwork created by students at Alexander High School and TAMIU at https://www.instagram.com/p/CH_azG5lNij/.

During the Spring 2021 semester, Romero, Shaw and research assistant Elizabeth Kennedy also hosted an outdoor event at The Outlet Shoppes in Laredo which culminated in a wall exhibit. To view the wall display, visit https://www.instagram.com/p/CNGee06FM4j/.

During the summer and fall semester of 2021, Romero, Shaw and research assistant Melissa Arredondo organized several outdoor events and workshops on campus through the Laredo Public Library.

A popular workshop on campus was the LAREDO Language Typography Project which resulted in a gallery of typographic works on display at Dusty’s Gameroom. Here’s a look at some of the artwork created: https://www.instagram.com/p/CT15w0eFCDt/.

The students also participated in a Dia De Los Muertos celebration at the Laredo Center for the Arts. The prints created at the community festival used ink mixed with copal incense powder. See additional photos from the event at https://www.instagram.com/p/CVzJ_eoMFX0/.

The fall semester 2021 also brought two guest artists who met university students. Artists on the tour included Keri Miki-Lani Schroeder, who specializes in book creation, and Cynthia Marsh, a pioneer in the revival of printing and typography preservation, Shaw said.

Schroeder ran a book creation workshop with students and produced an edition of 70 zines titled “Unseen City”. The photos of this project are visible on https://www.instagram.com/p/CVLBzXGlu4_/.

Marsh organized four workshops, including two at the Laredo Public Library and two on campus. The workshops helped assemble Marsh’s newest project, “Printed River,” which features a piece of fabric six feet wide and over 40 feet long.

“The piece is made up of Laredoan’s thoughts, memories and hopes for the Rio Grande River,” Shaw said.

An overview of the project is available at https://www.instagram.com/p/CWLnyNQl8o3/.

Laredo Mobile Letterpress’s latest venture is an exhibit at the Laredo Center for the Arts, which features works created using typography throughout 2020-2021.

Through the typography initiative, Shaw and his students hope to continue to collaborate with community partners, as well as the university community.

“Laredo mobile typography remains accessible to TAMIU students and guest artists. Special print events will always be held to continue the mission, ”said Shaw.

For those interested in obtaining an art degree, the University currently offers a Bachelor of Arts in Art and a Bachelor of Arts with All-Level Certification for those who wish to make the transition to a career in teaching. .

More information on these study programs is available at http://catalog.tamiu.edu/undergraduate-information/arts-sciences/fine-performing-arts/. Additionally, students can also choose a minor in Art History or Studio History.

For more information, contact Shaw by email at [email protected]

TAMIU’s Spring 2022 registration is now underway. Classes start Tuesday January 18, 2022. Late registrations end Monday January 24, 2022. To learn more about TAMIU’s registration process, visit the dedicated registration center at https: // go. tamiu.edu/registration.

University offices will close on a state-authorized holiday at noon on Thursday, December 23, 2021. University offices will reopen at 8 am on Monday, January 3, 2022. In case of emergency, please contact the university police at 956.326.2100.