Some creative new posters displayed around campus represent a first-of-its-kind collaboration involving the University’s new Vandercook letterpress.
The posters, designed by students in the Department of Art & Design, advertise UIndy Communiversity events taking place during the fall semester. This year’s Communiversity theme centers around Mary Shelley’s classic novel Frankenstein and features a free online course supplemented by a lecture and performance series with the Shaheen College of Arts & Sciences faculty.
The posters reflect the interdisciplinary focus of Communiversity, which builds on the cult following of Frankenstein to attract a diverse audience of students and community members with interests ranging from literature to the sciences, said organizer Jen Camden, professor of English. The broader goal is to bring community members and traditional students together in one classroom.
“Community members have the opportunity to reconnect with young people and the feeling of being in a college classroom, and UIndy students get the chance to see these models of lifelong learning,” Camden said.
The students created the letterpress/linoleum block prints to promote Communiversity events, including the Theatre Department’s production of Frankenstein (Austin Tichenor’s stage adaptation) and an original play by K.T. Peterson, The Mary Shelley Project. The posters also promote other Communiversity lectures and events.
The project marked the first time that Hullabaloo Press and the UIndy Printmaking Program has partnered with other departments to create promotional materials using letterpress/printmaking techniques, including the University’s Vandercook press.
“The department as a whole does have a great history working with other departments and external groups creating works and materials through our studio, pre-art therapy, and visual communication design programs. Hullabaloo Press & the Printmaking Program is proud to join that tradition in its own way,” said Katherine Fries, assistant professor of art & design.
As part of the collaboration, students met with faculty from history, music, theatre and English to discuss the events, themes and content.
Printmaking students were asked to design materials for six distinct events related to the production. For the students, it was a real-life opportunity to work with a client on a tight deadline.
Kyle Agnew ’19 (studio art, with concentration in photography/printmaking) said he also learned how to manage a client and collaborate with other professionals – lessons that will stick with him throughout his career.
“Working with Prof. Chad Martin was a great experience. I was able to obtain information from a professional in the field. This helped me narrow down the imagery I wanted to use and learn more on the history of my subject,” said Agnew, who used the Vandercook press for the first time to create his poster.
Kalia Daily ’18 (studio art major, art history minor, with concentrations in painting and printmaking) said she learned how to make artwork that functioned for others’ needs as well as her own.
“This experience was great in showing me how to work with others in a way that produces artwork that I and the client are proud of,” she said.
“I had a chance to meet with several of the students as part of the design process and I was so impressed by their professionalism and their creativity – and then to see the posters themselves, which are each so unique and so stunning. It’s been such a special way to thank the faculty and guests who are part of the Communiversity series,” Camden added.
About the Vandercook letterpress
More than $2,000 was raised toward the cost of the Vandercook letterpress for UIndy Day in April 2017. The department received the press during the summer. This was the first project with the new press involving students. Access to the press will expand as skill level and training opportunities increase.
Communiversity, now in its second year, is made possible in part through a Shaheen grant. The University of Indianapolis also is partnering with Indiana Humanities for this year’s Communiversity focusing on Frankenstein as part of the One State/One Story: Frankenstein program, made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and in partnership with the Indiana State Library and Indiana Center for the Book.
Camden said the choice of Frankenstein as this year’s text coincides with the upcoming bicentennial anniversary of the novel’s publication. The text for next year’s Communiversity will be Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone (1868), considered to be the first detective novel.
The posters include:
- New Music By John Berners: Emily Bradley
- Abigail Mann Lecture, Auna Winters
- Theatre Frankenstein & Mary Shelley Project (two-fer), Lauren Raker
- Unstoppable Frankenstein, Kalia Daily
- Science & Ethics, Cody Coovert
- Mary Shelley in the Age of Revolution, Kyle Agnew