Festival Banner (the Arts Festival blog)

I spent some time this week delivering the 2019 Festival poster to our distribution outlets in the Centre Region and will take them to the Juniata River Valley Visitors’ Bureau in Lewistown later this week.

While there’s no shortage of lifting and toting—trust me 1,750 posters are HEAVY—delivering posters is a fun way to spend a couple of hours. The men and women who work at the outlets are happy to know that the Festival is right around the corner. They’re also eager to see the poster and to pass them out to the students, townsfolk, locals and visitors who will soon be hanging them up in their homes and offices.

The poster has become a popular collectible among the community and beyond, in addition to serving its primary mission as advertising for the Festival. We regularly field calls from people who want the Festival poster from the year they graduated, the year of their wedding, the year of the birth of a child, and the like. Available posters from past Festivals can be purchased via the Festival Store.

This year’s poster is a black and white collage centered around a jester in a bright yellow and red costume. I was going to call it a harlequin outfit, but Wiki tells me that harlequins wear diamond patterned gear and our jester is in triangles…but you get the idea. There’s a picture within picture element along with musical instruments and art-making stuff—paintbrushes, pencils, and more.

I look at it and think, “That’s so cool. How do Lanny and Saige think of all that?”

Lanny and Saige, of course, are Lanny and Saige Sommese. Lanny has been designing our posters since 1974 and this is the second year that his daughter Saige has had her say in the poster.

Both the Sommeses are Penn Staters.  Lanny is the retired head of Penn State’s Graphic Design program.  Saige is a 2018 alum, now working as the co-founder and creative director for Golden Creative, based in Denver. As the old chestnut goes, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

Lanny and Saige can create a poster that looks like that because they’re talented graphic designers. A Sommese poster is identifiable by its eccentric, interesting, and unmistakable creatively rendered visual language. Visitors to our office, where we have lots of posters on display, are awed by the range of his work.

The poster is free and can be picked up at several local businesses, including:

Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts
403 S. Allen Street, Suite 205A, State College

Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors Bureau
800 E. Park Avenue, State College

Downtown State College Improvement District
127 S. Fraser Street, State College

State College Framing Company and Gallery
160 Rolling Ridge Drive, State College

HUB-Robeson Center Desk
Penn State Campus

Hintz Family Alumni Center
Penn State Campus

Penn State Federal Credit Union
1937 North Atherton Street, State College

Juniata River Valley Visitors Bureau
One West Market Street, Lewistown

Highmark and Penn State Health sponsor this year’s poster. As the poster’s sponsors, we’ll be giving them a bunch of posters. I hope they hang some in the public spaces in their network—they’d be a vast improvement on typical doctor’s office art.

The Centre County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau and Centre County Commissioners also make the poster possible with grant support.

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