Ancient manuscripts, feather quills, illuminated letters—these are things commonly associated with calligraphy. While present-day scribes embrace these traditional ideas, modern-day calligraphy also encompasses an ever-widening range of letterforms, skills, techniques and artistry. The art and craft of contemporary calligraphy extends far beyond the traditional applications most commonly recognized on certificates and wedding invitations. The Chicago Calligraphy Collective fosters education and exposure to calligraphy in all its various forms and related arts. In a world where electronic communication and media are prevalent, we believe that providing awareness and appreciation of the “art of beautiful lettering” will allow this time-honored and diverse art form to not only endure, but to thrive in the 21st century. The Chicago Calligraphy Collective (CCC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated under the laws of the State of Illinois. Founded in 1976 to represent the interests of the calligraphic community of the Chicago area, the CCC has fostered the development of many hundreds of calligraphers, including many who have achieved national renown.
The CCC is organized for the charitable and educational purposes of promoting the study, practice and appreciation of calligraphy in all its historical and present-day applications. By offering educational opportunities we can achieve the initiative of enhancing public awareness and interest in the calligraphic lettering arts.
Calligraphy, like architecture, has a rich history in Chicago. By examining works from lettering luminaries such as Ray DaBoll, James Hayes, and R. Hunter Middleton, one can easily trace a clear and graceful calligraphic timeline. The Reverend Edward Catich, a leading authority on the Roman letter, continually paid homage to his early days of study and practice in Chicago. Many of his theories derive from this period. With a firm foundation of lettering excellence and extensive calligraphic collections housed in its museums and libraries, it’s no wonder that Chicago maintains its unique status as a calligraphic center.
Chicago continues to cultivate and nurture an active community of calligraphic artists. By sponsoring exhibitions, lectures, workshops, and various educational activities, the CCC provides a forum for the exchange of ideas, techniques and instruction related to letterforms and their application in numerous artistic mediums. The Collective also serves as a professional network for its members. Today, the Chicago Calligraphy Collective thrives with more than 225 members committed to the support and preservation of the lettering arts.