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CSU galleries showcase dual exhibitions

June 5, 2014

By Nicole Drake

Melanie Brown and Olivia Linsky

The Galleries at Cleveland State University at 1307 Euclid Ave. are showcasing two new exhibitions this summer — Graphic Advocacy: International Posters for the Digital Age and 2014 Cleveland Clinic Explorers.

Graphic Advocacy — hosted in the venue’s North Center Galleries — showcases a selection of 122 posters of social change. The exhibit gives the public the opportunity to experience posters that document struggles for peace, social justice, environmental defense and liberation from oppression.

Elizabeth Resnick is curating the event that opened on May 15 and will run through June 21.

“I was determined to conceive a new angle of exploring sociopolitical poster design,” she said.

“Graphic Advocacy serves as a first decade glimpse of the new millennium, reflecting the continuing optimistic hope for world peace, concern for the ecological health of the earth, justness and fairness no matter your race, gender, nationality or sexual preference and an outpouring of concern for humanity on a number of different levels.”

Professor Resnick is the chair of graphic design at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston and a passionate design curator. She earned her BFA and MFA degrees in graphic design from the Rhode Island School of Design.

She served on the board of the AIGA Boston chapter from 1989–2005, organizing numerous events. So far, she has organized four comprehensive design exhibitions with faculty partners: “Russell Mills: Within/Without” (1991) with Teresa Flavin; “Dutch Graphic Design: 1918–1945” (1994) with Alston W. Purvis; “Makoto Saito: Art of the Poster” (1999) with Jan Kubasiewicz; and “The Graphic Imperative: International Posters for Peace, Social Justice and the Environment 1965–2005” (2005) with Chaz Maviyane-Davies and Frank Baseman.

Resnick, in an interview with Steven Heller, co-chair of the Designer as Author MFA, said, “The intent was to collect a select retrospective of 40 years of international sociopolitical posters showcasing themes that included dissent, liberation, racism, sexism, human rights, civil rights, environmental and health concerns, AIDS, war, literacy and tolerance, with the hope that the works collectively would provide a window to an age of great change.”

The current exhibit is a slightly new angle of her past exhibitions. In her artist statement, Resnick mentions posters are a “persistent vehicle for public dissemination of ideas, information and opinion.”

“Posters are dissent made visible — they communicate, advocate, instruct, celebrate, and warn, while jarring us to action with their bold messages and striking iconography. Posters also serve as a telling indication of a graphic designer’s commitment to society when non-commissioned posters are created as vehicles to raise money to support political and humanitarian causes,” Resnick said in the interview from Heller.

The 2014 Cleveland Clinic Explorers Exhibition features selected works by Northeast Ohio students in grades K-8. The work reflects the students’ perception of health and wellness after studying presentations dealing with topics such as bullying, diabetes, asthma, exercise and nutrition. The work was designed to share their feelings with the world.

Bryan Pflaum, Director of Creative Learning in the Office of Civic Education Initiatives, wrote in his statement about the Cleveland Clinic Explorers program, “Cleveland Clinic Explorers is much more than a mere art or writing competition.”

He continued, “tied to state and national academic standards, this innovative initiative helps students achieve optimal health while promoting critical thinking, innovation, communication and teamwork. Plus, it gives participating teachers the opportunity to earn graduate-level college credits without even leaving their classrooms.”
The Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland State, teachers and students collaborated on this program.

Both exhibitions opened May 15 and run through June 21.