About The Colleagues of Calligraphy



In the spring of 1976 a small group of friends, all with an avid interest in calligraphy, felt that there might be others in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul who were interested in learning more about lettering and the related arts. Under the direction of the fine hand of Joan White, the foundation was laid for the formation of the Colleagues of Calligraphy. An open meeting was planned for April 3, 1976, at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Expected attendance was 20 to 30 people. Almost 200 came! Of those attending, over 100 immediately became members, causing Jo to exclaim, “We have awakened a sleeping giant!”

- Pam Johnson, President of the Colleagues, 1982-1984

We are a living example of what can happen when the right people are in the right place at the right time fueled by a shared passion.

An organization like the Colleagues of Calligraphy can take off and flourish, with hundreds of members bringing their common mission to life.



Our mission is to PROMOTE the critical practice of calligraphy as a craft and as an art form, and to ENCOURAGE individual excellence, and to FOSTER a wider appreciation and a deeper understanding of calligraphy, its history and applications through the free interchange of ideas and techniques.


In Our 5th Decade of Getting the job done

Our members and Boards of Directors have invested thousands of hours of energy and creativity creating or participating in world class learning opportunities:

  • The best calligraphers in the world, representing so many different styles and lineages, eagerly teach for us.

  • We hosted the first (and three subsequent) international calligraphy conferences – the International Assembly of Lettering Artists.

  • We are bound to the history and development of The Saint John’s Bible: Charter member Jo White is recognized as the “mother of The Saint John’s Bible” and Honorary Curator of the Saint John’s University Calligraphy Collection. Charter member and world-renowned calligrapher Diane von Arx was among the artists creating illuminations for The Bible. Diane also designed and produced the donor volume, The Book of Honor, the eighth and companion volume to The Saint John’s Bible. Colleagues member Sue Filbin provided the typesetting for that BoH volume. Colleagues members, both as a guild and as individuals, provided financial support to the project and, as sponsors for the first international lettering conference in 1981, provided the initial opportunity for Donald Jackson to connect with Saint John’s University. We subsequently hosted this conference in 1984, 1990, 2002, and 2009!

  • We were the supporting organization and fiscal agent for the six-year run of The Midwest Art and Lettering Retreat.

  • We have offered countless programs, workshops, study groups/meetups, exhibitions, private study opportunities, and more.

The result has been widespread recognition of our organization as a local, national and international force for promoting and elevating calligraphy as a craft and art form.


Who are our members?

Our current membership includes calligraphers of all skill levels, and with broad interests, from the most traditional letter forms and tools to whatever pushes the envelope.


We Hope You’ll Join Us

At more than 150 members, we welcome everyone, from calligraphy newcomers to the most experienced professionals.

Wherever you are on the spectrum of loving “the art of beautiful handwriting,” expand your calligraphy horizons with us! Welcome!