SFCB Book Arts Mentorship Award

SFCB Book Arts Mentorship Award :: Supported by the Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation

San Francisco Center for the Book is proud to announce a new national mentorship award in book arts for Summer 2024. With the support of the Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation, SFCB has partnered with esteemed artists and educators John DeMerritt, Li Jiang, and Emily McVarish in order to offer three, five-day, one-on-one mentorships for experienced artists, held at SFCB’s facility in Potrero Hill. Each mentor brings a wealth of experience, expertise, and passion for their craft. They are dedicated educators who are committed to nurturing the next generation of book artists.

This program is an opportunity for mid-career and established artists from underrepresented communities to learn from skilled professionals in the bookbinding, letterpress, and artists book fields. Priority will be given to applicants who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). Mentees will work closely with their mentor who will provide personalized guidance tailored to their individual artistic goals and needs. 

The three selected mentees will each receive a $2500 stipend to cover program expenses, including travel, lodging, per diem, materials, and miscellaneous costs. 

SFCB is dedicated to fostering a vibrant and inclusive community for book artists at all levels. Our organization celebrates the art of the book, promotes collaboration, and provides support for both experienced practitioners and newcomers alike. As an organization, SFCB promotes the history, artistry, and continuing presence of books in our culture and their enduring importance as a medium of self-expression. 


Eligibility for our weeklong mentorship program extends to mid-career and established artists from underrepresented communities who possess a strong foundation in their artistic practice and demonstrate a genuine commitment to advancing their skills in book arts.

Book arts does not need to be the main expertise of applicant artists. However, the applicant must be interested in learning skills from our mentors to apply to their practice.

Applicants must:

  • Reside outside the nine counties of the metropolitan San Francisco Bay Area (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma)

  • Be over 21 years old

  • US citizen, permanent legal resident or O-1 visa holder to receive the stipend

  • Working artist with at least 3 years of professional artistic practice

  • Applicant may not be enrolled in a degree-granting program


There is no application fee to apply for this program. The application will consist of:

  • An artist’s statement

  • A statement of intent explaining their choice of mentor and proposing a project or skillset to pursue during the five-day mentorship

  • A portfolio of ten images with corresponding image list

  • A current CV

Evaluation of applications by the mentors and SFCB staff will be based on:

  • Eligibility guidelines

  • Whether the proposed goals align with the resources available and are compatible with the mentor’s expertise

  • Quality and relevance of the portfolio

Applications will be accepted until 11:59pm on Sunday, May 5, 2024. Selected applicants will be interviewed by SFCB staff to further discuss their objectives and expectations for the mentorship. Applicants will be notified of their status by May 15, 2024. 

The application is now closed.


John DeMerritt :: Bookbinding
Mentorship week: June 10-14, 2024

Areas of Expertise:

Edition binding :: Box making :: Foil stamping and embossing :: Collaborative design work :: Project management :: Small business operations

Click here to learn more about John's work and view examples


Li Jiang :: Letterpress Printing
Mentorship week: June 24-28, 2024

Areas of Expertise:

Letterpress printing on proof, platen, and hand presses :: Editioning for both printing and binding :: Tight printing registration, multi-color prints :: Incorporating make-ready techniques into artwork :: Free software suite of design programs such as Inkscape, Gimp, and Scribus

Click here to learn more about Li's work and view examples


Emily McVarish :: Artists’ Books
Mentorship week: July 22-26, 2024

Areas of Expertise:

Artists’ books :: Expressive typography as an extension of writing :: Interaction of textual and book features (graphic composition of page-space and sequence) :: Systematic design that makes creative use of the material processes and technical conditions of letterpress (Vandercook only) :: Experimentation with text and image relations; integration of photographic imagery through fearless engagement with relief halftone processes

Click here to learn more about Emily's work and view examples