Zea Mays Printmaking is a professional printmaking studio, located in western Massachusetts. Since its founding in 2000, ZMP’s mission has been to provide a space and community to learn, create and promote prints made with the safest processes available. Zea Mays Printmaking collaborates with artists, studios and schools around the world to share innovations in non-toxic and sustainable printmaking.
The 6000 sq. ft, state-of-the-art printmaking facilities provide studio access for over 100 artist members, residencies, exhibitions and educational programs.
Zea Mays (Sweet Corn) is a plant known for its ability to extract heavy metal toxins from the soil through its leaves and roots. Just as this plant is being used as a natural way of restoring contaminated earth back to health, our mission is to restore the art of printmaking to a healthy art form. At Zea Mays we honor the rich tradition of printmaking by exploring alternatives that are safe for artists and the environment.
Honor the rich traditions of printmaking while researching alternatives that are safer for artists and the environment.
Share our knowledge as equitably as possible, through workshops, demonstrations, internships, residencies, collaborations, exhibitions, publications.
Provide a well-equipped, voc-free studio for artists to make prints and ways for artists to be recognized for their work.
Create a supportive community of artist printmakers
We acknowledge that we are located on the traditional land of the Pocumtuc and Nipmuck Peoples. We make monthly reparations contributions to the Nipmuck Nation through the Nipmuc Indian Development Corporation
Zea Mays Printmaking’s mission has been to help make printmaking safer for artists and the environment. Since our inception in 2000 we have always used this core value as a guide to our programming, research, and practices. But in this moment of national awakening to Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements, it’s time to rethink the definition of safer. Environmental justice, social justice, economic justice and racial justice are inextricably intertwined. Being an advocate for one requires us to be and advocate for all.
We begin this phase of our journey with deep introspection and consciousness raising education – acknowledging white privilege and reflecting on how it plays out in our organization. We will examine how we can break down barriers of access to our studio; how we can support BIPOC artist/printmakers by elevating their voices and promoting their work; and how we can be part of envisioning an equitable and safe future for all.
Zea Mays Printmaking strives to create sustainability in many ways, including
- recycling paper, plastic, metal and glass
- flocculating acrylics
- using Pedal People as our trash hauling/recycling service
- using a rag service instead of paper towels
- using bath towels for blotters
- using filtered water instead of bottled
- compact fluorescent light bulbs in all our fixtures
- electricity from a local solar farm
- energy efficient mini-splits for heating and cooling
In 2012 Zea Mays Printmaking invited The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Office of Technical Assistance and Technology in to do a complete audit of our studio facility and practices. Excerpt from their final report: “First we would like to commend you for using benign materials and safe practices at your facility, which will benefit not only the health and safety of your students and tenants, but the environment as well. As we reviewed the materials that you utilize with you during the visit, and examined the Material Safety Data Sheets that you sent to us in follow-up, it became apparent that you had taken great care to guarantee that the operations in your studio were as benign as possible.”
Printmaking is an evolving field and we constantly strive to make our studio safer and more sustainable.