“Polaroid ATC” created by Melissa Kolstad.

by Laura Damon-Moore

Artist trading cards (also known as ATCs) are miniature (2.5″ x 3.5″) pieces of artwork that are about the same size as a baseball card.  They can be created with everything from markers, pens, or pencils to watercolors, oils, collage, fabric or metals. After they are signed, dated, and titled on the back, they can be traded, exchanged, or sold as originals or editions.

Many websites and online communities exist for the purpose of trading, exchanging, and discussing Artist Trading Cards:

Ideas for using ATCs in the library:

  • Host an ATC workshop. If there is interest in developing a trading community, offer the library as a space in which to showcase and trade cards perhaps on a quarterly or semiannual basis.
  • “Blejski Otok ATC” created by Melissa Kolstad.

    Artists, do you create ATCs? Talk with your local programming librarian about the possibility of facilitating a workshop.

  • There are loads of possibilities for tying these cards directly to library collections. Have books with beautiful covers or bindings? Have workshop participants create them in miniature on cards. Or tie it in to a favorite series and have participants create miniature alternative covers or illustrations from the text.
  • Host a workshop in which participants create a journal or box to store and display their ATCs.

Have you used Artist Trading Cards in your library? Artists, do you have other ideas for how these miniature works of art can be made or shared in a library setting? Post your ideas here in the comments or send us a note: libraryasincubatorproject@gmail.com.

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