MA Art and the Book*

* The MA in Art and the Book degree program will not be accepting students for Fall 2015. Students who entered this program prior to Fall 2015 will still be able to complete their degree program, as outlined below.

Art and the Book, a two-year Master of Arts program, offers a comprehensive approach to studying the history and theory of book culture while producing contemporary artist’s books. Studying within the Art and the Book program at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at GW is to be immersed in the life, history, and meaning of book culture, to participate in a personal and profound way in understanding its relation to art and society, and to help frame its future. The program features internationally recognized faculty and visiting artists and draws on the cultural riches of collections at the Library of Congress, the National Gallery of Art and other Washington, D.C. resources. Interdisciplinary and collaborative in nature, the curriculum encourages exploration of the artistic potential and evolution of book form.

The MA in Art and the Book program offers an array of academic and studio courses from traditional book arts to digital and multi-media approaches---including Letterpress Printing, Binding, Papermaking, Typography, Digital Media, Traditional Printmaking, and Book History classes. This MA program establishes Washington, D.C., as a leading center for the study and production of artist’s books. The curriculum also includes an internship program that pairs students with artists and curators at noted Washington institutions, giving students the opportunity for professional development in specialized areas.

Program Head


Kerry McAleer-Keeler
Art and the Book Program
Associate Professor

Careers and Internships

George Washington University believes in drawing upon the abundant resources the National Capital has to offer students in regards to educational and professional development opportunities. Students in the Master of Arts in Art and the Book program can learn and benefit from practicing professionals in the field of book arts. Many students in the program choose to gain real-world experience through internships with museum institutions, non-profit art centers, or private printing presses, binderies and / or local workshops. Understanding how book and print collections are created and enhanced provides essential information to students for research and educational advancement. Our unique book arts internship and fellowship opportunities foster real-world experience, original research, professional connections, career preparation and personal growth.

Past and present internships and student fellow placements

·       The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections
·       National Geographic, Children’s Division
·       National Museum of Women in the Arts
·       National Gallery of Art Library
·       Smithsonian National Museum of American History
·       Artreach at thearc, Corcoran College of Art + Design
·       Chris Manson of Crooked Crow Press, Letterpress studio, Bethesda, MD
·       Distinctive Bookbinding and Leather Designs, Rockville, MD
·       Handprint Workshop International, Alexandria, VA


The following curriculum is for legacy students, defined as those students who began taking classes at the Corcoran prior to the fall 2015 semester. Students enrolled beginning in fall 2015, should contact Kerry McAleer-Keeler.

Required Courses

·       Art and the Book Graduate Seminar I
·       History of the Western Book Survey
·       Binding I: Intermediate and Advanced Structures
·       Letterpress I: Letterpress Basics from the 1400's to the Digital Age
·       20th-Century Artists' Books Survey
·       Art and the Book Graduate Pro-Thesis
·       Art and the Book Graduate Thesis Forum
·       Art and the Book Studio I and II
·       Type and the Book Form
·       Layout and Design of the Book (possible pre-requisite for Type and the Book Form)

Sample Electives

·       Art and the Book Internship
·       Box Elements In Book Arts
·       Advanced and Alternative Printmaking
·       2D Applications In Paper
·       Binding II: Leather Bindings
·       Letterpress II: Advanced Discoveries
·       Creative Writing
·       Lithography
·       Vandercook Fine Art Printing
·       Screenprinting
·       Pop-up Book Art Methods (Paper Engineering and Sculptural Books)
·       Advanced Printmaking: Lithography, Monoprint, Etching
·       Photo Printmaking Process
·       The Creative Space: Viewing and Reading

Department Life


Marginalia is the student-led organization for the Art and the Book graduate program. The organization is made up of a group of artists, bookmakers, and scholars interested in investigating and creating handmade artists' books. The group also focuses on educating themselves and others through actively producing work and connecting with the larger bookmaking community.

The group's purpose is to keep members and the artist book community informed of the work they are creating along with the events planned throughout the academic year at the George Washington University. The Marginalia group was created by the first graduating class of the program in 2011. The student group's name can be loosely defined as "notes and comments made by readers in the margin of a book as well as marginal decoration and drawings in medieval illuminated manuscripts."

Since its original development, Marginalia's active student group has participated in the Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Fair, Baltimore Book Fair and the Codex International Book Fair, hosted numerous guest speakers, and sponsored their own graduate scholarship award.

Study Away

Students of the MA in Art and the Book program are encouraged to engage in the exceptional graduate study abroad programs provided at the GW. Exemplary students in the graduate programs are selected through a rigorous academic and / or studio process and can work in such places as Ladakh, India, and Jerusalem, Israel. Many Art and the Book students will choose to study away during their graduate studies in order to develop pivotal ideas in new and creative environments.