Each year, Special Collections at RISD Library hosts a juried student artists' book contest to promote engagement with the book arts, investigation of the Library's artists' book collection, and creative production in the book form at RISD. The contest and accompanying exhibition attract on average 45 submissions from RISD undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education students. All of the entries are displayed in the annual Library exhibit. A team of RISD faculty members and professional artists serves as juror(s), selecting prize winners from the submissions. All purchase prizes receive a cash reward, and the selected student-made artists' books become part of the Library's collection. This year is the 8th installment of this program.
In 2014 when I first started in Special Collections we began conversations about outreach and the idea of an artists’ book contest was born. The late Jan Baker, Graphic Design Professor was one of the first jurors for the original contest in 2015. After the contest we debriefed and Jan asked what was the greatest obstacle for this contest to continue. I said money. A few months pasted and I was informed that we had received an anonymous gift so that we could continue the contest. I would find out later, it was Jan’s gift.
In Jan’s words “The aim of this competition is to encourage faculty in all mediums at RISD to use the Artists’ Book Collection as inspiration for their classes; in addition, for students to be stimulated by the collection to create their own Artists’ Books.”
Starting with the 5th year, the contest is named for Jan Baker and Laurie Whitehill, the former Special Collections Librarian. Recognizing their legacy and their combined 60 years of dedication and passion in the field of Book Arts.
Claudia Covert, Special Collections Librarian
We are very happy to announce that Lois Harada is this year's juror.
Lois Harada is an artist and printmaker working in Providence. She studied traditional printmaking at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and settled in Rhode Island after graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2010. She works at DWRI Letterpress, a commercial letterpress printshop where she also prints her own work. Harada utilizes text and the medium of the poster to tell her family’s story of incarceration — her paternal grandmother was interned in Poston, Arizona from 1942 -1945. She takes inspiration from propaganda printed and distributed by the United States government and prints with type and equipment similar to that which would have created the original works.
Harada has exhibited her work across the United States and internationally. Her work is included in private collections as well as the RISD Museum. Her practice is bolstered by residencies and she is preparing for a five-week residency at Anderson Ranch in Colorado in the spring of 2022. She recently finished a seven year term on the board of New Urban Arts, a nationally recognized free, arts drop-in program and a term as a city commissioner on the Art in City Life Commission serving the city of Providence.
RISD undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education students are
invited to enter an artists' book they have completed in the past year
(December 2020 - December 2021).
The winning purchase prizes will be added to the
Fleet Library at RISD's Artists' Book collection.
Purchase prizes will be announced in February 2022.
Look for the next call in Fall 2022. Thank you!
By submitting an entry from, you are acknowledging that you are exhibiting your work at your own risk, and releasing RISD, and their employees, from any and all liability for my work. In addition, you are granting permission for any images, video, or other digital forms of the submitted work to be used for publicity, promotion or any other purposes deemed desirable by the Fleet Library at RISD. This includes, but is not limited to, use within the library or RISD, library websites, and social networking websites. You also understand that if your entry is selected, it will be included in the Library’s Collection and will not be returned.