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Jul 22

Wine and Design: Mail Art

July 22 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm EDT

Join us for our virtual July Wine & Design as we learn about and make mail art.

What is mail art, exactly? The simplest and broadest definition of mail art is artistic correspondence sent through the mail. NPM’s virtual Wine & Design series continues with a program that will explore this topic on Thursday, July 22nd at 7 pm ET.

Participants will learn about the origins of modern mail art through a discussion with Chuck Welch (aka CrackerJack Kid), who will explain the whimsical and impactful movement that emphasizes creative communication sent through the mail. Attendees will also have a chance to craft their own pieces of mail art under the direction of Jennie Hinchcliff, the co-author of Good Mail Day, who will provide inspiration and instruction for continuing to create unique correspondence after the program.

Registration is required for this free, virtual program. A link for the online event will be sent to participants 24 hours before the program. Closed captioning will be provided.

Questions? Please email NPMPrograms@si.edu

Supply List

What’s the perfect accessory for your summer vacation? A mail art travel kit, of course! As part of the National Postal Museum’s “Wine and Design :: Mail Art!” event on July 22nd, Jennie will share tips and tricks for making mail art on the go and show a handful of tried-and-true tools that she always keeps at hand as part of her on-the-go mail art kit. Attendees will then learn a simple booklet structure which can be used when creating their own mail art and easily sent through the mail.

Want to participate in the demo? Here’s what you’ll need!

• A single sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper

• A pair of scissors

• A tool for making flat creases on paper such as a bone folder, butter knife, or plastic card (such as a library card or driver’s license)

• A pen, pencil, or marker


Chuck Welch (a.k.a. CrackerJack Kid) is widely known within the international mail art movement as a prominent mail artist, curator, writer and recipient of a Fulbright Grant and NEA Hilda Maehling Fellowship. From 1980 – 1995, Welch collaborated and corresponded frequently with Ray Johnson, “father of mail art” and founder of the New York Correspondence School. In 1995, Welch created the World Wide Web’s first virtual reality art museum, The Electronic Museum of Mail Art (EMMA). He is the author of two classic mail art networking books; Networking Currents: Mail Art Subjects and Issues, 1985, Sandbar Willow Press, and Eternal Network: A Mail Art Anthology, 1995, University of Calgary Press. His books, essays, articles, and letters can be found at The Getty, Malibu, CA, The Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Visual and Concrete Poetry, and Alternative Traditions in the Contemporary Arts Archive, both located at the University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, IA. Welch’s ARCHIVAL MAIL ART INDEX, research papers, mail art library, and Artistamp Collection have recently been acquired by The Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Art. Presently, he is writing a book about mail art and its postage stamp history.

As a “near-native” of San Francisco, Jennie Hinchcliff has been teaching classes in bookbinding, mail art, and artist stamps since 2001. Her work can be seen in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Special Collection, the Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design, the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley, and New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. In addition to an active studio practice, she has curated exhibitions and written about artists’ books and correspondence art.

Currently Jennie produces Senders Receive, a podcast highlighting postal moderns, Networkers, and current thought in the mail art scene. She is the Exhibitions and Events Manager at the San Francisco Center for the Book and has a PO box in the 94117 zip code.

Image Credit

Title: FrankenTutArtist: Chuck Welch, a.k.a. CrackerJack Kid; Date: Sept. 25, 2020; Media: Collage on postal mailer; Size: 12″ x 9″

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