The Graphic Arts Workshop, or GAW, was founded by faculty from the California Labor College in 1952. Their societal concerns were reflected in each artist’s style of work and in the co-operative form of the Workshop. In the early years, members printed posters, leaflets and pamphlets in support of peace and civil rights issues. During the Sixties, the GAW lent space for anti-Vietnam War activities.
Over the years, the GAW membership has included many distinguished artists, undertaken national and international art exchanges, and hosted traveling exhibits. A pamphlet from a 1989 history exhibit offers this sentiment: “In all this, there were no imposed styles or themes. Artist-members as individuals worked freely with a diversity whose common element was the love of printmakimg.”
Today, the cooperative has approximately 40 members working in traditional fine art printmaking techniques. The Workshop is a non-profit, mutual benefit corporation. There is no paid staff; the maintenance of the fully-equipped printmaking studio is shared equally by all members. Administrative management of the Workshop is conducted by a board of directors elected from and by the membership.