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The Williams Center Art Gallery continues a yearlong celebration of books with a juried exhibition, Meraviglia: Innovations in the Book Arts, Jan. 3-29. Liz Mitchell of Pittstown, N.J., is guest curator and juror.

Meraviglia: Innovations in the Book Arts presents the works of 42 artists who live and work in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Works chosen for exhibition test the common understanding of a book, pushing the boundaries through scale, content, and complexity, and create new definitions. Meraviglia in Italian means “wonder, astonishment,” with connotations of awe and the excitement of discovery, which is illustrated in the imaginative and experimental nature of contemporary books.

An artists’ reception will be held at the gallery 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15, (snow date Jan. 29). Bookmaking workshops for children and adults are scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 8 and Saturday, Jan. 14. Contact the gallery at (610) 330-5361 for details.

In this exhibition, works such as Carol Barton’s Home Dreams and Rachelle Woo Chuang’s Earth Sky/Sky Earth demonstrate how a spine is designed for movement; pages fold, unfold, open, and close, reminding the viewer of the physical, interactive nature of books. Robert Ebendorf’s The Voyage and Way of the Cross, Ellie Brown’s Women to Women, and Julius Vitali’s Portable Puddle Bath Book maintain the books’ traditional structure but revise original content through additive and reductive techniques.

In contrast, other artists deconstruct the book, selecting only the fundamental elements of page, form, and suggestion of structure, to reveal its essence as a whole. In her piece Aquiloni,KarenGuancione exemplifies the spirit of Meraviglia, using the words of poet Roberto Dossi as her inspiration, “Quando sono stanca di camminare, volo,” which translates to “When I am tired of walking, I fly.” She creates small, book-like forms that are tethered together, suspended from the ceiling with visual energy. Another approach is seen in Tara O’Brien’s Natural Effects, a book formed from ice that evolves as it melts away throughout the duration of the exhibition.

Area artists include: Virginia Abbott, M. R. Cabreza, Margaret A. Campbell, Tess Mondello, Maggie Paré-Farrell, and Mary Zehngut from Easton, Pa.; Vitali, Emmaus, Pa.; David Gothard, Bangor, Pa.; George Shortess, Bethlehem, Pa.; Ruth Bloom, Carversville, Pa.; James F. L. Carroll, Kutztown, Pa.; Barbara Moon Boertzel, Doylestown, Pa.; Mackie, Frenchtown, N.J; Maryann Riker, Phillipsburg, N.J.; Bonnie Berkowitz, Bloomsbury, N.J.; Lauren DuBeau, Califon, N.J.; Shellie Jacobson, Skillman, N.J.; MaryAnn Miller, Clinton, N.J.; Lois Morrison, Leonia, N.J.; Maria G. Pisano, Plainsboro, N.J.; Carol M. Rosen, Califon, N.J.; and Annelies Van Dommelen, Lambertville, N.J.

From Philadelphia are O’Brien, Chuang, Brown, Christy Cullen, Hedi Kyle, Carol Moore, Mary Phelen, Jude Robison, Mary Tasillo, and Susan Viguers. Other exhibiting artists include: Guancione, Belleville, N.J.; Jesse Wright, Jersey City, N.J.; Harry Bower, Island Heights, N.J.; Susan Dry Boynton, Pottersville, N.J.; Lynne Buschman, Montclair, N.J., Liz Demaree, South Orange, N.J.; Jun’ichiro Ishida and Natasha Wozniak, Jersey City, N.J.; Kumi Korf, Ithaca, N.Y.; Ebendorf, Greenville, N.C.; and Barton, Glen Echo, Md.

At her studio in Pittstown, Mitchell creates collages and artist’s books. Her work has been exhibited extensively and is included in the collections of Johnson and Johnson, William Paterson University, Seton Hall University, Pennsylvania Power and Light, and Lafayette’s Skillman Library and Experimental Printmaking Institute, among others. In addition, she teaches book arts programs to children and adults. Mitchell presented her lecture and workshop “Telling Stories: Literacy through Personal Story Telling and the Book Arts” at the 2005 Global Understanding Conference at Monmouth University, Monmouth, N.J.

Meraviglia is presented as part of Lafayette’s Roethke Humanities Festival. This year’s theme, “The Book Re-Visioned: Crossroads of Traditions and Technologies,” celebrates books and their many interpretations and permutations through exhibitions, readings, workshops, lectures, performances, and special events. A complete schedule can be found by visiting, Quick Links, Performing Arts/Williams Center. The biennial festival is named in honor of poet Theodore Roethke, who taught at Lafayette during the 1930s.

The Williams Center gallery’s hours in January are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., weekdays; and 2-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, as well as noon-5 p.m. the first Sunday of each month for First Sunday Easton; and by appointment. The Morris R. Williams Center for the Arts is located at the intersection of Hamilton and High Streets on Lafayette’s main campus. For more information, email

The Williams Center gallery is funded in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

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