Skip to main content

Sudbury exhibit looks for book-inspired 'mail art'

SUDBURY – Mail art, a decades-old art form, is making a small comeback spurred by the pandemic, with one of the latest postal projects popping up in Sudbury.

With the help of the Postal Service, Bethany Shaw of the Sudbury Art Association and Amy Wilson Sheldon of the literary project A Lifely Read are collecting works of art for a project called bookMARKED. Submissions are inspired by a book that had a significant impact on the creator. Maximum size is 5 x 9 inches (127 x 229mm), with postage preferably attached directly to the art though envelopes are allowed.

It's a mode of expression that bloomed in the late 1950s, pioneered by artist Ray Johnson, who mailed small-scale pieces to friends and strangers with instructions to change the image and send it back to him. Sheldon called it a "renegade art form" with no barrier to participate.

"It's a casual kind of art," said Sheldon. "Anyone can do it — you stick it in your mailbox and off it goes."

The call for art first went out around February, as Shaw and Sheldon were searching for ways to bring their two interests together — art and books — and collaborate. When the COVID-19 crisis shuttered art galleries and studios, it forced artists to come up with new and creative ways to create and share their work, bringing new meaning to the project. 

The plan is to eventually exhibit the work at the Goodnow Library, with a date still to be determined. There is currently no deadline for the project.

Work from across the world, including Japan, Germany, and Spain, has flooded in. One example created by a Framingham artist depicts children's character Harold, armed with his purple crayon, scrawling a line through Goodnow Library and the Grist Mill. In another, an artist sending from Greece had pasted scraps of their travel guide: a 1969 copy of a Fodor's guide to Turkey.

The damage and postal markings the art endures as it navigates mailboxes and post offices quickly becomes part of it, said Sheldon. For one San Antonio artist, her creation fell apart in the mail, arriving as just a blank yellow postcard. On the "Bookmarked01776" Instagram account, the artist promised that more mail art was on its way to Sudbury.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Sudbury Cultural Council, a local agency, which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. 

Anyone can participate. There's no fees, no jury, and no return. Art should be submitted to Sudbury Art Association, P.O. Box 192, Sudbury, MA 01776, USA.

"This is the perfect project for the time we find ourselves in -- you just need some stamps and the ability to get to a mailbox or post office," said Sheldon.

Zane Razzaq writes about education. Reach her at 508-626-3919 or Follow her on Twitter @zanerazz. 


  1. Thanks for sharing this article here about the hotels in sudbury . Your article is very informative and I will share it with my other friends as the information is really very useful. Keep sharing your excellent in sudbury canada

  2. There are different prices for different types of villas. Therefore you need to make sure that if you are on a budget, you have the right villa for your needs. Fethiye kiralık villa

  3. Besides cargo vessels, barges and river cruise boats the local water traffic is also busy. Speed boats and pleasure boats are available. real estate budapest


Post a comment

Popular posts from this blog

History of Art Timeline

The historical past of art is usually told as a chronology of masterpieces created during each civilization. It can thus be framed as a narrative of high culture, epitomized by the Wonders of the World. On any other hand, vernacular art expressions can even be integrated into art historic narratives, called folk arts or craft. The more intently that an art historian engages with these latter sorts of low culture, the much more likely it is that they will determine their work as analyzing visual culture or cloth culture, or as contributing to fields associated with art historical past, akin to anthropology or archaeology. In the latter cases, art gadgets may be called archeological artifacts. Surviving art from this era comprises small carvings in stone or bone and cave painting. The first traces of human-made gadgets appeared in southern Africa, the Western Mediterranean, Central and Eastern Europe Adriatic Sea, Siberia Baikal Lake, India, and Australia. These first traces are generall

‘A boiling point’: UC Berkeley art community calls for institutional change

Amid ongoing national unrest, college communities continue to call for change by challenging institutional practices, racism and social justice issues. Over the past few months, the UC Berkeley art community has questioned the responses and actions of campus administration. In a letter sent to the faculty and administrators of UC Berkeley's Department of Art Practice in June, alumni and students demanded acknowledgment of the Black Lives Matter movement and a commitment to remove white supremacy from art institutions, among other demands. "There is a heavy hypocrisy in the silence and inaction of institutions that pride themselves on values of inclusivity and diversity, claim to prioritize marginalized voices, and borrow from radical decolonial practices of BIPOC," the letter states. During the same month, senior faculty from the department responded with a letter stating their support for the Black Lives Matter movement and their commitment to reparative work wit

Bob Gibson was not just best pitcher of modern era, but during time of strife, mastered the art of fear

For a lot of successful athletes, winning in competition is about winning their own internal battles between anger and fear. One can be generated by the other. One can also be erased by the other. Those who effectively use anger, even if they must fabricate it, can overcome their fear and simultaneously instill it within the opponent. This statement covers a lot of competitors and a lot of time, so I don't issue it carelessly. But in all my years, I've never seen an athlete channel fear in the opposition more effectively than Bob Gibson. He was the young Mike Tyson of baseball, way before Iron Mike. And unlike him, Gibson didn't flame out in his prime. He was not only the best in the business during a 5-year span in the mid-'60s (1964-68), he won his second Cy Young in 1970 at age 31 and threw a no-hitter the next year against the best hitting lineup – and it turned out, best team – in baseball that season, the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates. I saw an old fan on