Anchor Graphics was founded in 1988 and became operational in 1990, as an independent non-profit for the purpose of advancing the fine art printmaking tradition by providing educational and art-making opportunities for both young people and professional artists, and by educating the public about the fine art printmaking process.Since it inception Anchor Graphics has been creating partnerships with other arts, education and social organizations in the Chicago area to better carry out its mission of providing public access to the fine art of printmaking. Such partnerships have been long-term, lasting years, and short-term, lasting from a few months to a single day. Long-term partnerships have included working with Gallery 37 and Marwen to present printmaking workshops for youth; collaborating with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's Division of Continuing Studies to provide printmaking classes for adults; and conducting printmaking demonstrations within the galleries of the Art Institute during recent Toulouse-Lautrec and Rembrandt exhibitions. Short-term partnerships have included single day workshops with the Terra Museum of American Art, the Mary and Leigh Block Museum, the Smart Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art; presenting exhibitions of prints created at Anchor in venues around Illinois and the Midwest; presenting lectures at area schools and colleges; and working with the Chicago Artists International Program to bring artists from Asia, Africa, and Europe to Chicago in order to create limited edition prints and promote an international discourse among artists.
On January 1, 2006, Anchor Graphics embarked on its most ambitious partnership to date, by becoming part of Columbia College Chicago. This innovative partnership gives Anchor Graphics access to the resources of Columbia College, allowing our programming to be carried out to its fullest potential and to reach an even wider audience, while ensuring the longevity of the organization. Under the purview of Columbia College, Anchor has continued to provide educational and professional opportunities to students, artists, and members of the community through classes for youth and adults, exhibitions, artist residencies, lectures, open studio time, publishing projects, and outreach programs with an even more fully developed vehicle for their delivery.
Anchor moved into a new facility on Columbia College's campus in April 2006. Having Anchor Graphics at Columbia College carries on an American tradition of having a well-respected fine art press on the grounds of an academic institution, similar to the Tamarind Institute at the University of New Mexico and Tandem Press at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Anchor Graphics continues to provide open access to a professional printshop for the general public while offering new areas of exposure and participation for Columbia's students and faculty. Anchor Graphics' presence on campus provides students access to academic internships, classes and workshops, as well as visiting artists and lecturers from across the country. In addition it provides Columbia's students and faculty the opportunity to work on special collaborative projects designed to integrate the professional world with the educational experience.
Anchor's original shop in Wicker Park