Since 1960, Tamarind has shaped the field of collaborative printmaking, through a unique printer training program and an educational mission to preserve and advance the creative medium of lithography. Today Tamarind is a nonprofit workshop occupying a freestanding building on the original Route 66, with a state of the art workshop, public gallery, and regular public programs and tours. Tamarind encompasses an extensive archive of historic material, a vast print inventory of 8000 lithographs produced by the workshop, and a team of highly trained printers, curators, and print experts. Tamarind Institute stimulates research, preservation of knowledge, and community among a diverse international following. This unique program is widely credited with revitalizing the creative medium of lithography, and continues to provide the only printer training program of its kind in the world.
Tamarind Lithography Workshop, Inc. (TLW) was founded in Los Angeles in 1960 as a means to “rescue” the dying art of lithography. Fully funded by the Ford Foundation until it became affiliated with the University of New Mexico in 1970, founding director June Wayne, together with Associate Director Clinton Adams and Technical Director Garo Antreasian, established multiple long-range goals:
to create a pool of master artisan-printers in the United States by training apprentices
to develop a group of American artists of diverse styles into masters of this medium
to habituate each artist and artisan to intimate collaboration so that each becomes responsive and stimulating to the other in the work situation encouraging both to experiment widely and extend the expressive potential of the medium
to stimulate new markets for the lithograph
to plan a format to guide the artisan in earning his living outside of subsidy or total dependence on the artist’s pocket;
to restore the prestige of lithography by actually creating a collection of extraordinary prints
Tamarind Institute is a non-profit center for collaborative printmaking, dedicated to research, education, and creative projects in fine art lithography.
When considerable progress toward the achievement of these goals had been made after ten years in Los Angeles, it was clear that the innovative programs developed at TLW were filling a void. With Wayne’s resignation as director and the end of the third Ford Foundation grant, TLW needed a new home. Tamarind relocated to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where it became Tamarind Institute, a division of the College of Fine Arts of the University of New Mexico, under the directorship of Clinton Adams who served in that capacity until 1985. Marjorie Devon, Tamarind Director Emerita, served as director from 1985-2015. Diana Gaston is the current director, joining the staff in 2016. Many of Tamarind’s founding objectives continue to guide Tamarind’s mission.
The Tamarind Archive of ephemeral material is housed in the Center for Southwest Research at Zimmerman Library at UNM. There are two series: Administrative Files, papers and correspondence relative to the establishment of TLW in Los Angeles, continuing throughout the decade that the workshop was located in Los Angeles (1960–70); and Research and Publications from TLW and TI, including research notes, manuscript material, and publications. The Tamarind Print Archive is housed in the University of New Mexico Art Museum, and includes two impressions of every edition printed at Tamarind Lithography Workshop and Tamarind Institute, 1960 to the present.
For more information about the history of Tamarind, read An Informed Energy by Clinton Adams.