MA Art and the Book

The Master of Arts in Art and the Book program offers a comprehensive approach to studying the history and theory of book culture as well as contemporary techniques for creating artists' books.

The program draws on the culturally rich collections of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Library of Congress, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, National Gallery of Art Library, the Smithsonian Institution, and other archives, libraries, and museums in the Washington, D.C. area.

The Art and the Book Bindery and Letterpress Studio is fully equipped for the creation of both large and small book editions with three Vandercook presses, a polymer plate machine, Jacques board shear, job backer, Challenge Guillotine, metal type, and a beautiful array of wood type on loan from the U.S. Government Printing Office.

Students are able to also take full advantage of the Corcoran's Printmaking Studios where they can experiment with traditional print processes such as lithography, screen-printing, relief, and etching. Students with a digital focus have entry to the College's numerous fully-developed Mac computer labs where they have access to the latest print, photo, and digital media software programs along with a multitude of font selections.


Interdisciplinary in nature, this two-year, 48-credit program encourages the exploration of the artistic potential and evolution of the book form. The degree program is structured around an array of academic and studio courses from traditional book arts to digital approaches, including letterpress printing, binding, paper making, typography, digital media, printmaking, sculptural book, and book history.

Required Courses

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

Sample Electives

  • Advanced and Alternative Printmaking
  • Box Elements
  • Digital Media and the Book
  • Explorations in Paper Making Techniques
  • Internship
  • Chapbooks and DIY Publishing
  • Binding II: Leather Bindings
  • Letterpress II
  • Lithography
  • Screen-printing for the Fine Arts
  • Sculptural Book and Paper
  • Sculptural Book II: Paper Engineering
  • Creative Space: Viewing and Reading

Careers and Internships

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 developed provides essential information to students for research and personal growth.

Past and present internships and student fellow placements

  • National Geographic, Childrens' Divison
  • National Museum of Women in the Arts
  • National Gallery of Art Library
  • Smithsonian National Museum of American History
  • The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections
  • 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

Art and the Book Faculty

Carol Barton
Adjunct Faculty

Georgia Deal
Program Head, Printmaking

Maryanne Grebenstein
Adjunt Faculty

Sarah Noreen Hurtt
Adjunct Professor

Antje Kharchi
Associate Professor

Kerry McAleer-Keeler
Director, Art and the Book Graduate Program

Sarah McDermott

Matthew McLaughlin
Adjunct Faculty

Gretchen Schermerhorn
Adjunct Faculty

Lynn Sures
Professor, Chair of Fine Art

Department Life


Marginalia is the student-led organization at the Corcoran College of Art and Design 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 oneducating 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 Corcoran College of Art and Design. 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 and the Codex International Book Fair, hosted numerous guest speakers, and sponsored their own graduate scholarship award.

Study Away

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

Examples of Student Work

Apply Today!

Program Brochure



Director, Art and the Book: Kerry McAleer-Keeler ( contact )