Primary Information: A Spring Bank Nonprofit Feature

A Brooklyn-based organization and one of our nonprofit clients, Primary Information, works to “advance the often-intertwined relationship between artists’ books and arts’ activism,” by publishing artists’ books and writings at affordable rates to the public and creating a platform for historically marginalized artistic communities. Building on the tradition of the artist book medium dating back to the 1960s, Primary Information is committed to democratizing the distribution of artists’ books.

“Executive Editor and Artistic Director James Hoff started the press with Miriam Katzeff back in 2006 with the idea of bringing long out-of-print, inaccessible publications back into circulation at affordable prices by creating facsimile editions, working to reproduce the original publications as closely as possible to their original form— including matching the original paper stocks as closely as possible,” says Matthew Walker, Executive Director of Primary Information.

They also work with contemporary artists to commission new publications, facilitating intergenerational dialogue with historical publications that remain of critical relevance to contemporary conversations and welcoming the next era of readers.

“Part of our mission is to foster diverse conversation between these historical publications and newer generations of artists working at the vanguard of contemporary practice,” explains Matthew.

The artist list at Primary Information is extensive and includes Pippa Garner, author of the 1982 Better Living Catalog, who has had a recent Renaissance in her career and whose book is already in its third printing since being published in facsimile form in June 2023. The organization’s most recent title, On and Off-Screen Imaginaries by contemporary artist Tiffany Sia, is a collection of six essays written in the wake of the 2019-2020 Hong Kong Protests. Check out their complete catalog here.

The Primary Information team continually reflects on how they can create a more inclusive experience for readers, starting with affordable prices. For example, the price range for a publication is $10 to $40. And $40 gets you a lot for your money: a 600-page, full-color book. Their subscription program, priced at just $125 for the year, is a deal, shipping every book they produce to subscribers for a calendar year.

“We price our books at cost with the aim of breaking even on the production costs of the books, so we have to supplement our sales revenue with grants and donations. We have a generous community who supports our mission to make artists’ books affordable and accessible,” says Matthew.

Primary Information has been a nonprofit customer since 2018, and we are proud to be part of their community.  As a community bank in Bronx, NY, they knew we prioritized the needs of the city’s hardworking small business owners and nonprofits.

“Spring Bank is very supportive of small businesses, and they give lines of credit to organizations that might not otherwise be able to get one, including nonprofit organizations like us,” says Matthew. “Our line of credit was invaluable to helping us navigate cash flow, especially when our budget was smaller.”

It was also our pleasure to support Primary Information through the pandemic with PPP lending and to offer them one-to-one support when they need it. Despite the distance between their offices and our branches in the Bronx, they have never found an issue with accessing the services they need.

“It is so rare to have a personal relationship with your banker these days,” says Matthew. “We use the app and online mobile banking platform daily and have never had an issue doing business in different boroughs than the branch.”

We hope you will take the time to learn more about Primary Information. You can also read more about how we can help your nonprofit manage cash flow through a line of credit or nonprofit checking account. Our nonprofit checking account benefits include no maintenance fees, remote deposit capture, mobile deposit, and personalized service. And if you’re a small business owner, we have what you need via our business checking account or another one of our small business accounts.