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“Graphic Advocacy: International Posters for the Digital Age” opens at the Elzay Gallery

March—As a medium for social change, posters record our struggles for peace, social justice, environmental defense, and liberation from oppression. From the confrontational and political, to the promotional, persuasive and educational, the poster in all its forms has persisted as a vehicle for the public dissemination of ideas, information and opinion.

“Graphic Advocacy: International Posters for the Digital Age 2001-2012” opens Monday at the Elzay Gallery of Art on the campus of Ohio Northern University. The exhibit is a compilation of 122 selected posters that serve to both consider the designer’s role and this medium’s ability to present social and political statements that are visually able to cross language barriers. 

The exhibit runs through April 12. An opening reception is scheduled for Friday, March 27 from 5–7p.m. This show was made possible by the Committee for Cultural & Special Events at ONU.

The showcasing of numerous posters by a divergent international group of designers allows for a more thorough examination of the relevance and visual power of the poster as a tool for advocacy and activism in our technological 21st century world. Created on computers instead of last century’s pencils, ink and graffiti, the works create a collective newsreel of the past decade’s most impactful global events.

“The poster in all its forms has persisted as a vehicle for the public dissemination of ideas, information and opinion,” said Elizabeth Resnick, curator of Graphic Advocacy and professor and chair of graphic design at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design. It is her objective that the audiences experience this medium’s capability (through the designer) to “advocate, incite, instruct, celebrate, and warn.”

This is the third in a series of socio-political poster exhibitions developed and organized by Resnick. The central theme of all three of her exhibitions has been that graphic design is a powerful tool. The first in her series was “The Graphic Imperative: International Posters for Peace, Social Justice, and The Environment 1965-2005,” co-curated by Chaz Maviyane-Davies and Frank Baseman. The second, “Graphic Intervention: 25 Years of International AIDS Awareness Posters 1985-2010,” was co-curated with Javier Cortés. All exhibitions have successfully traveled throughout the United States and abroad.

Resnick has developed and organized numerous other design exhibitions since 1991. She has published catalogs of her graphic exhibitions, as well as the catalogs “Design for Communication: Conceptual Graphic Design Basics” (2003) and “Graphic Design: A Problem-Solving Approach to Visual Communication” (1984). 

The Elzay Gallery of Art is located on Gilbert Street on the campus of Ohio Northern University. The gallery is connected to the Wilson Art Center, the classroom-studio building that houses the department of art and design.

Admission to the Elzay Gallery is free and open to the public, daily from 1p.m. to 4:30p.m. while school is in session. For additional information, to schedule a tour, or to be placed on the arts exhibition mailing list, please contact the Department of Art & Design at 419-772-2160 or

Originally designated as the School of Fine Arts and later the College of Fine Arts, the art & design program was first established as an independent academic unit at Ohio Northern in 1878, largely as an outgrowth of course work in engineering and architectural drawing. Today, Ohio Northern offers both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees with majors in advertising design, art education, graphic design and studio arts with concentrations in two-dimensional, three-dimensional and pre-art therapy. The department of A&D holds memberships in national organizations such as the National Art Education Association, College Art Association, Foundations in Art: Theory and Education, AIGA: The Professional Association for Design, and the National Council on Education of Ceramic Arts. The department is recognized in the “Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers” as one of the best creative programs nationwide. For additional information about the department of art & design or the University’s 2014–15 Arts Exhibition Season, contact the department at 419.772.2160.

image: “Stop Climate Change,” Hilppa Hyrkas, Finland; Client: Friends of Earth Finland