by Lillian Dabney, SCBA Founder and past President
I moved to Seattle in September of 1995. As a calligrapher/bookbinder I was pleasantly surprised to find the city a virtual hub for both art forms. However, my desire to delve deeper into the craft of bookbinding became somewhat stalled for lack of ongoing classes and studies in fine designer bindings. I noticed many major cities in the US hosted large Book Arts Centers, most notably New York, Minnesota and San Francisco and wondered why a city the size of Seattle with a flourishing book arts community did not have any such center.
Fast forward ten years, when I took early retirement and decided on a career change from physical therapy to some facet in the book/literary world. It dawned on me, that it would be a perfect time to try start an educational center for bookbinding and book arts to address the educational lack I experienced so long ago. Retirement would afford me the opportunity to focus my entire attention on creating a book arts center here in Seattle.
I began talking with the executive directory of the San Francisco Center for the Book who gave me excellent instructions for getting started. With her input and the NOLO guide to starting a nonprofit organization I began the process. Invitations were sent out to artists, calligraphers, bookbinders, book collectors and many of my interested friends. One year prior to beginning, I also founded a book arts portfolio group, hoping to draw some of them into the board of directors for the nonprofit. This was entirely successful.
On January 18, 2005 we held our first board meeting at the Central Branch of the Seattle Public Library. The founding members included: Judy Blanco, Daved Ferrell, Delia Floor, Laura Fox, Joel Radcliffe and his wife Mie, Cheryl Taketa, Patrick Williams and myself, At that meeting we drew up a mission and vision statement and voted on the name of the organization. Seattle Center for Book Arts, now fondly known as SCBA, was born. For the first year I followed in the footsteps of another nonprofit organization that had formed a year prior and was guided through each essential step by one of its members Brian Grimes.
In 2006 the organization received 503(C) nonprofit status from the IRS and we became official!
As time went on I realized my own deficit in business matters and began looking for individuals with knowledge of nonprofit organizations. This came in the guise of Amanda Lee who moved the organization forward several levels toward what it is today.
SCBA clearly answers a need for ongoing bookbinding and book arts instruction. My dream is for its continued growth and expansion so that we can sustain and foster the book arts community of Seattle.