The Women’s Art Center flourished in the 1970s under the umbrella of the Metropolitan YWCA, offering exhibition space, studio rentals, drama productions and poetry readings. A survey asked women artists what the center could provide that would most benefit the women artist members. An etching press was listed as an important element. Due to the diligent grant writing efforts, research and persistence of Charlene Ventura, YWCA Public Relations Director, and Mary Rose Ventura, Women’s Art Center Director, funding for a press was made possible through the generosity of the Cincinnati Foundation, the Crosset Foundation, the Crosley Foundation, the Ohio Arts Council and the YWCA.
Upon completion of her MFA from the University of Cincinnati, Kate Maynard became Tiger Lily Press’ first director. As a CETA staff member, Kate directed the Visual Art facet of the Women’s Art Center and set about obtaining supplies and equipment necessary to provide a printmaking studio open to the public on a rental basis. It was the first facility of its kind in the state of Ohio. A Charles Brand Intaglio Press was purchased with grant monies, and whatever was not scrounged, borrowed, donated or bought with personal funds was built by Kate and her friends. At the grand opening of the YWCA Women’s Art Center Tiger Lily Press on September 30, 1979, Mayor Bobbie Stern christened the Charles Brand etching press. Heartfelt recognition and gratitude was showered on Kate Maynard. When the CETA program ended, the YWCA generously offered space and day-to- day financial support for a number of years until their renovation in 1982.
Mary Mark, TLP’s second director, heard Kate Maynard’s presentation to the Ohio Arts Council and soon moved to Cincinnati for the purpose of using Tiger Lily Press as a renter. In 1982, when the YWCA began its renovation, Mary purchased the press and moved it to the loft space at 4th and Plum Street, where it shared a space with Merchants co-op gallery. There she kept the operation open for rent by area printmakers. Beginning as a workshop participant at Tiger Lily, Christine Cotting became a regular renter and soon an operational partner with Mary Mark in keeping the press rolling.
Tiger Lily produced two group editions, one at the YWCA and one during its time on 4th Street. In 1980, Mark Patsfall taught an intaglio workshop which produced the CAGE (Cincinnati Artist Group Effort) Edition and Mary Mark editioned the prints.
The second edition was a compilation by six artists who self-published, packaged, and distributed the edition of 20 to various museum collections, including the Cincinnati Art Museum, The University of Michigan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Miami University Art Museum and the Dayton Art Institute. The edition, entitled IMAGES, included work from Joan Effertz, Charles Grund, April Foster, Mary Mark, Philippe LeJeune, and Barbara Young.
In 1985, Mary Mark left Cincinnati and sold the contents of TLP to five local artists: Mary Ann Butkovich, Joan Effertz, Joyce Howe, Leslie Shiels and Barbara Young. They then donated the press to the Art Academy Alumni Association, which agreed to house Tiger Lily. The Art Academy kept the open press status, and classes were offered to the community through the Community Education department. The studio thrived at its AAC location and remained there from 1985 to 1998.
Joan Effertz (TLP Director from 1985-91) began a printmaking scholarship for AAC students and hosted Japanese artist, Soichi Ida, who produced an edition of four prints at Tiger Lily, printed by Mark Patsfall. Following Joan Effertz, Louann Elliott (1991-93), Theresa Gates (1993-94) and Susan Naylor (1994-98) each served as TLP director during this time. Coordinated by TLP, local Cincinnati artist Thom Shaw demonstrated woodcut and Chicago based artist Tony Fitzpatrick and his printer demonstrated his color etching process.
In 1998, under Susan Naylor’s leadership, Tiger Lily hosted a Printmaking Marathon in which several area printmakers agreed to print editions to be sold to the general public. The event raised nearly $3000. The money was donated to the Mid America Print Council Conference being held in Cincinnati that year and organized by The Art Academy of Cincinnati, The University of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky University and Tiger Lily Press. The conference brought over 300 printmakers from around the country to the Cincinnati area.
Immediately following the MAPC conference, the Art Academy decided they needed the space that housed Tiger Lily for their growing enrollment and they began a search for a new home for the press. The Cincinnati Recreation Commission stepped forward and agreed to take Tiger Lily Press under its wing. In 1999 Tiger Lily was temporarily moved to the Butterfield Recreation Center in downtown Cincinnati and would stay there for two years until permanent space was available in the Arts Building at the Dunham Recreation Center on Dunham Way in Western Hills. Susan Naylor recruited Cara Bardes (1999-2004), Elizabeth Foley (1999-2002) and Theresa Gates Kuhr (1999-2015), all artists with Masters in Printmaking, to serve as co-directors of the Press after it left the Art Academy.
In 2002, Tiger Lily Press, along with artist Katherine Kadish, the Ohio Arts Council, April Foster and The Art Academy, brought a father/daughter duo of eminent Korean printmakers to Cincinnati for a week of lectures, demonstrations and exhibitions. Ha Dong Chul and Ha Won spent time at The Art Academy, The University of Cincinnati and Tiger Lily demonstrating and educating students and area printmakers about the traditional form of printing and recording called Takbon, refined as an art form by Ha Dong Chul himself. The artists traveled to Dayton and Columbus, Ohio, as well, which began relationships between the Ohio printmaking groups.
Once it left the Art Academy, a trio of directors, Elaine Mullen Zumeta (2002-2009), Don DeSander (2004-2006), and Theresa Gates Kuhr led Tiger Lily. When Don moved to Boston in 2006, Rick Finn (2006-2010) took his place. The Dunham home came under threat of closing due to declining financial support from the city. As a result, the co-directors and TLP members began working on fundraising projects to raise money to help secure the life and longevity of Tiger Lily.
The annual print sale and bi-annual calendar project and sale were born at this time and continue today. When Elaine Mullen Zumeta and Rick Finn stepped down as co-directors, Susan Naylor came back to help out. Susan took on the role of Studio Manager while Theresa Gates Kuhr became the acting primary director. Rick Finn accepted the job of photographer and set up and managed the Tiger Lily blog and Facebook page.
Tiger Lily continued on with yearly exhibitions, The Paper Doll Challenge, the first Next Generation gathering of university printmaking students, figure drawing and monoprinting sessions, collaborations with The Greater Cincinnati Calligraphers Guild and meetings with The Cincinnati Book Arts Society. And the annual Ohio Print Gathering was born out of a statewide printmakers show in Massillon, Ohio, in 2009.
In 2011, the Dunham Arts Building was closed and Tiger Lily was invited to move to the newly renovated Schoolhouse elsewhere on the Dunham Recreation Center grounds. The relationship with the Dunham Recreation Center and the Cincinnati Recreation Commission was strengthened as all involved parties began working cohesively to further the success of the studio and its programming. Donations of additional equipment have improved the TLP facilities in the new space: a small etching press in 2001, a Vandercook proofing press in 2002, with type and letterpress supplies, and in 2014 a large etching press, rollers, tools and supplies. Screen print facilities have also improved with a large exposing unit, screens and printing supplies.
Tiger Lily Press hosted the Ohio Print Gathering in June 2013. Printmakers from the four Ohio print co-ops arrived in Cincinnati for a series of workshops, panels, and the opening of Prints for Peace and Justice exhibition, a regional juried print show coordinated by TLP. Phoenix Rising from Columbus, Zygote Press from Cleveland, Tiger Lily Press and the Dayton Printmakers Cooperative were represented.
In 2012, Tiger Lily Press began a Working Artist Residency Program. Conceived by TLP Director, Theresa Gates Kuhr as a way to connect Tiger Lily with a local artist who is passionately committed to their work and their artistic community. The resident artist is encouraged to seek out possibilities for expanding their current work into printmaking, or to challenging their existing love of printmaking through a focused residency project. Through their creative drive and work ethic, the artist serves as a role model for the members of Tiger Lily Press and is asked to educate the greater community about printmaking.
– Jan Thomas (2012-13)
– Jack Arthur Wood (2013-14)
– Jonpaul Smith (2014-15)
– Rick Finn (2015-16)
– Brad Thiele (2017)
– Renee Harris (2018)
Tiger Lily members have offered programs for the Cincinnati Art Museum Teacher Education Program, Taft Museum Summer Camp Program and the Dunham Summer Campers programs, which introduced them to print techniques and the TLP facilities. A variety of classes in etching, screen printing, polyester litho, collagraphs, relief, monoprints and letterpress are taught during the year. Monitored open studios on Tuesday nights, and Friday and Saturday afternoons provide access for members to work. In addition, members also use the studio during Dunham CRC hours of operation.
Tiger Lily Press retains its original intent to serve as a fine art print shop open to local artists and as an educational facility for the public. We are always looking for new artists, artistic opportunities and exchanges to enrich the world around us.