Rhyolite Press – A local force in creative book making
I met an amazing and creative talent about nine years ago. He called me by way of Bemis School of Art to donate some darkroom equipment. He shared with me a project he was working on at the time, that he thought I might be interested in. He had me hook, line and sinker, and we became great friends, and colleagues!
Donald Kallaus owns Rhyolite Press here in the Springs. He is also a photographer, and avid designer. After sharing with me his acquisition of the Glenn Wesley Murray historic negative collection, and two Murray exhibitions at Regional Building, he asked me to join him for a third Murray project. We conceived the idea for Colorado Springs, A Changing Landscape. With the help of eight talented students from my photography classes, we produced an exhibition and book that will be around for years to come. I learned a new term in the publishing/bookshop industry, “an evergreen book,” as that is how local bookshop owners have described our book. It means, the content stays fresh and relevant for years to come.
At publication, we had a fantastic exhibition and book release party with all the students and their friends, family, and colleagues in attendance, as well as a huge attendance from the community in Colorado Springs. El Paso County Administrator, Henry Yankowski, made this an affair to remember as we had the whole of the El Paso County Administration building downtown, a jazz band, and food for all. The students and their achievements, and our book and our publishing efforts were recognized by the El Paso County Commissioners.
As I mentioned previously on my 2020 post, I was thrilled to have a second project come along and keep me busy at home during our COVID year. I designed and did the layout for Rich Carnahan’s Louis Charles McClure, At the Foot of Pikes Peak. And I was asked to write the appendix which was also a lot of fun research to do while working from home. That book has been a big success for Rich, as he has sold out of all the printings we’ve ordered so far. Look out for Rich around town, and in Denver, as he does talks with his book and his extensive knowledge of the Louis Charles McClure photography archives at the Denver Public Library (DPL).
2021 would also bring some wonderful news for our collaboration with the photography students. The Friends of the Pikes Peak Library District named our book, Colorado Springs, A Changing Landscape, the 2021 Golden Quill Award winner! How cool is that! We had a wonderful reception, and all our student photographers were recognized by the Friends as well. Now that they’ve all graduated and moved on from school, many live out of town, but a few made it to the reception. It was fun to see Susi, Jen, and Margaret and catch up!
Moving forward, Don and I have a lot of projects in the works, and many planned. We founded Art Papers Press, which will be an imprint of the publishing company that specializes in art books. We published the COS19Century Project exhibition catalog under that imprint.
I am very fortunate to have forged my friendship with Don Kallaus. Rhyolite Press is continually growing, we are expanding the catalog and our goal is to be a major player in the book publishing industry along the Front Range and in the West. To be a part of this growing creative collaboration continually gives me inspiration and motivation to keep making art, writing about art, and researching the wonderful art and history of our region.