Frank Brannon, SpeakEasy Press
As a professional book artist and educator in Dillsboro, North Carolina, Frank Brannon has developed the SpeakEasy Press, an art studio supporting the printing of the Cherokee language as a way to help revitalize it. The SpeakEasy Press will provide a summer apprenticeship program where current art students and recent college graduates will build their small business development skills while also supporting local Cherokee language revitalization by printing in the Cherokee writing system. In the early nineteenth century a newspaper called the Cherokee Phoenix was published in the Cherokee Nation before the Trail of Tears. The newspaper used the eighty-five character Cherokee syllabary that Sequoyah developed in 1821. John’s vision is to “honor Cherokee printing history, and support language revitalization, by printing in the manner the Phoenix had been printed.” and points out, “The ability of any culture to print in its own language is a simple matter of social justice.”
A small number of hand -printed books and posters will be printed and then commercially duplicated for distribution to support language revitalization via Western Carolina University’s Cherokee Studies Program.
The funds from The Pollination Project will be used to purchase metal printing type in the Cherokee syllabry. For more information on the SpeakEasy Press, check out their website.
GRANT AWARD DATE: MARCH 11, 2014