The Syracuse Poster Project to unveil

The Syracuse Poster Project will unveil the poster series, 6 p.m. Thursday, April 16, in the atrium at City Hall Commons, 201 E. Washington St., Syracuse.

The Poster Project brings together poets and Syracuse University artists to create an annual series of poetry posters for the poster panels of downtown Syracuse.

The project enlivens the downtown, strengthens the city's sense of place, and reaches the larger community by selling small prints of the large posters.

Each year since its founding, in 2001, the project has produced 16 unique posters. Each poster features an illustrated poem about the downtown, city, or nearby countryside.

The 2009 series includes 12 posters created in the traditional way, and four created with a twist. In the traditional arrangement, the poems come first. Professor Roger DeMuth's advanced illustration class then creates posters, based on poems of the students' choice. In this year's twist, the project started with existing illustrations by professional illustrators, and invited the poetry community to write poems complementing the images. The professionals are Q. Cassetti, a graphic designer from Trumansburg, and Donald Kilpatrick, a professor at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit--both graduates of the Independent Study Degree Program in Illustration at Syracuse University.

Dozens of participants, ranging from middle-school students to senior citizens, submitted poems to this special aspect of the project. A judge selected semi-final poems, and the artists, Cassetti and Kilpatrick, selected the final poems to complement their work.

The students and professionals work in a variety of styles, including na ve, whimsical, graphic and painterly. The resulting posters pay tribute to parks and landmarks (Clinton Square, the Hills Building, Onondaga Lake Park), as well as street life, caf (c) culture, spirituality, nature, childhood and old age.

The unveiling culminates nearly a year of collaborative work. Over the summer, participating poets write the three-line form of poetry known as haiku. By the September deadline, more than 30 poets contributed 133 new poems to the traditional aspect of the project. The new aspect drew dozens more.

The unveiling will gather the poets and artists, friends of public art, and representatives from the project's corporate sponsor: Dalpos Architects. The Downtown Committee of Syracuse will post the posters shortly after the unveiling. The posters remain on display for a year.

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