John Volk and the Mark Palmer Prize

Volk at work creating the Palmer Prize lithograph.

Volk printing the Palmer Prize lithographs.

A few weeks ago, several diplomats were given the Mark Palmer Prize  by the Council for a Community of Democracies. The awards, named for a former U.S. ambassador to Hungary, recognized their efforts in advancing democracy. Artist Ard Berge was commissioned to draw the awards, while MSUM printmaking professor John Volk was asked to create the physical lithographs.

Volk, also the master printer in our Hannaher’s, Inc., Print Studio, jumped at the chance to work with Berge and create this award. The two are friends who attended the New York Academy of Art (NYAA)together.

Ard Berge creating the drawing for the Palmer Prize.

“This was a very exciting and somewhat humbling project to work on because I was just having fun with my friend,” Volk said. ” I had no idea that this was to become such a prestigious award.”

The finished Palmer Prize.

“I was always pestering him to collaborate with me on a print because I knew that his work would translate into lithography so well. When he received this commission, it just seemed like the perfect opportunity to have a little fun in the studio together,” Volk said.

Volk flew to New York to collaborate with Berge on the lithographic plate, then returned with the plates to create the prints. He pulled a few in the printmaking studio at MSUM and a few in the Hannaher’s Print Studio. The completed prints were then given by the Council for a Community of Democracies to the winners of the Mark Palmer Prize. They were awarded to diplomats from Peru, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Canada, the Netherlands, and the United States.

“It is thrilling to see work that was printed at MSUM and the Plains Art Museum being displayed on the international diplomatic stage,” Volk said. “It is also deeply rewarding to see such influential dignitaries and champions of democracy receiving something that you helped to make.”

(You can learn more about award recipients here. This item also appeared on the NYAA blog.)