Tamarind Institute, a division of the College of Fine Arts at the University of New Mexico, is a nonprofit center for fine art lithography that trains master printers and houses a professional collaborative studio for artists. Founded in 1960 in Los Angeles, Tamarind is recognized internationally for its contributions to the growth of contemporary printmaking around the world and continues to provide professional training and creative opportunities for artists. 

A brief synopsis of our history follows. For more details, see "An Informed Energy: Lithography and Tamarind," written by Clinton Adams, and published in Grapheion, 1st Issue 1997. (Prague, Czech Republic). Clinton Adams was a founding director of Tamarind Lithography Workshop, Inc., and Tamarind Institute's director from 1970 - 1985.

Tamarind Lithography Workshop, Inc. (TLW) was founded in Los Angeles in 1960 as a means to "rescue" the dying art of lithography. Fully funded by the Ford Foundation until it became affiliated with the University of New Mexico in 1970, founding director June Wayne, together with Associate Director Clinton Adams and Technical Director Garo Antreasian, established multiple long-range goals:

  • to create a pool of master artisan-printers in the United States by training apprentices;
  • to develop a group of American artists of diverse styles into masters of this medium;
  • to habituate each artist and artisan to intimate collaboration so that each becomes responsive and stimulating to the other in the work situation encouraging both to experiment widely and extend the expressive potential of the medium;
  • to stimulate new markets for the lithograph;
  • to plan a format to guide the artisan in earning his living outside of subsidy or total dependence on the artist's pocket;
  • to restore the prestige of lithography by actually creating a collection of extraordinary prints.

When considerable progress toward the achievement of these goals had been made after ten years in Los Angeles, it was clear that the innovative programs developed at TLW were filling a void. With Wayne's resignation as director and the end of the third Ford Foundation grant, TLW needed a new home. TLW moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where it became Tamarind Institute, a division of the College of Fine Arts of the University of New Mexico, under the directorship of Clinton Adams who served in that capacity until 1985. Marjorie Devon, Tamarind Director Emerita, served as director from 1985-2015.

Tamarind Institute continues its programs of education, research, and creative projects with partial funding from the university. Tamarind also depends heavily upon revenue from contract printing and the sale of lithographs it publishes to support the costs associated with its educational and artistic programs. Grants from a number of federal and philanthropic organizations have funded the Institute's many special projects, including a variety of international programs that have been developed over the past several decades.

The Tamarind Archives, housed in the Center for Southwest Research at Zimmerman Library at UNM, are another source of information about Tamarind Lithography Workshop, Inc. and Tamarind Institute. There are two series: Administrative Files, papers and correspondence relative to the establishment of TLW in Los Angeles, continuing throughout the decade that the workshop was located in Los Angeles (1960–70); and Research and Publications from TLW and TI, including research notes, manuscript material, and publications. The print archives, including impressions of every edition printed at Tamarind Lithography Workshop, Inc., and Tamarind Institute, are housed in the University of New Mexico Art Museum.      

For more information about the history of Tamarind, read An Informed Energy: Lithography and Tamarind.

 Tamarind celebrates 50 years!