Print Day in May 2020

Robynn Smith (founder of the international Print Day in May) reflects on this year’s remarkable event held on Saturday 3rd of May.

In early March, prospects for Print Day in May 2020 were looking very good. We were just ramping up for the PDiM event and all was in place when Covid 19 hit.

Cancellations, contractions, confusion, fear and terrible sadness. Calls across the Atlantic, and resolve to continue as best we can. After all, Print Day in May is a global event that connects people through social media and the internet. In some ways, we were perfectly positioned to help people with what we all need the most: connecting in our isolation. On the other hand, as the early, unimaginable weeks of social distancing became a new normal, I was afraid that Print Day in May would become just another email to delete in the inundation of messages flooding our inboxes.

We continued on, offering messages of hope and support to printmakers, sponsors, and each other. As endless March finally ended and we moved into April, we began to sense that PDiM was taking on a new form this year. Without print parties, without business as usual, we were to see the event in a new form, taking on a new identity.

And now, after a printmaking marathon across the globe, we are basking in the success of Print Day in May 2020! It is another year of exponential increase, with Instagram phone ”dings” haunting our dreams and hundreds of people posting on our blog. Sponsorship hashtag campaigns went smoothly, with winners being chosen and notified. Tremendous numbers indicate another exponential increase in participation.

 The character of this year’s event has emerged as tremendously gratifying and poignant. This was not an opportunity to share the love of printmaking with crowds on the streets of Rio, rather it served overwhelmingly as a path for serious artists to reclaim themselves. Inks and plates sitting idle for months as shell-shocked artists struggled to find a foothold, were dusted off and lovingly resurrected. Artists connected with themselves, as well as others. Self-confidence and artistic paths were re-discovered. Inspiration and creative sparks were welcome light in what has been terrible darkness. Prints and words of thanks have been pouring in. We have made a difference to tens of thousands of people, in over seventy countries across our terrifically beautiful, terrifically troubled world.