University Libraries calls for submissions for altered book exhibit
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University Libraries calls for submissions for altered book exhibit

USD’s University Libraries is seeking entries for their sixth international altered book exhibition, “Bound and Unbound VI: Altered Book Exhibition,” scheduled for display from Aug. 23, 2021 to Jan. 3, 2022. The exhibit involves mixed media artwork which changes a book from its original form by altering its state or meaning. Books from any source utilizing any medium are eligible.

Danielle Loftus, chair of the art and exhibit committee at the University Libraries, said the library considers their art exhibits to be educational opportunities.

“On one hand, it’s an art exhibit,” Loftus said. “But on the other hand, it helps our students or staff or faculty or our community, people understand more about what is art, and get exposure to the people that are entering their works.”

Sarah Hanson-Pareek, the curator of digital projects at the University Libraries, said the original exhibit in 2009 came from an idea she had when the arts and events committee first started.

“Because when we started, we were trying to be more focused on art events in the library,” Hanson-Pareek said. “And so that year, it wasn’t juried yet, and it wasn’t international, we just started out very local.

This year’s altered book exhibit competition will be juried by Melissa Stern, an artist, professor and journalist living in New York City who has worked in sculpture, photography and drawing. Stern was the lead art critic for New York Press and City Arts from 2006 to 2014.

On average, the exhibit receives 95 entries from 52 artists, which are curated by a jury due to limitations including the sizes of the cases on the library’s second floor which limit the number of pieces that can fit. Past entries have included sculptures, paintings, collages, sewn pieces and pieces incorporating the elements.

“Burning is popular, leaving outside,” Hanson-Pareek said. “Every year just seems to be, I don’t know, every year seems to be more… It just seems like every show is stronger and stronger.”

Two years ago, the exhibition received its first video entry, which was displayed by a repeating .mp4 file on an iMac. Hanson-Pareek said she hopes to receive more alternative and digital media entries this year.

Loftus said the exhibit receives entries from all kinds of  Vermillion community members.

“They were just about anybody, everybody that likes art,” Loftus said. “And some people, some are crafters. Some people just like to like books.”

Hanson-Pareek said she’s intrigued by how artists will interpret the current state of the world in their submissions.

“I’m interested to see how COVID has impacted artists making work. The political climate,” Hanson-Pareek said. “I guess, global warming, we have a lot of things going on with climate change right now.”

Artists may submit up to three entries through March 5. There is no fee to enter the exhibition. Those wishing to submit can do so online at