Festival Poster

Arts festivals across the country often advertise themselves with collectible posters. Some festivals hire an advertising agency to design their poster. Others commission the prior year’s Best of Show winner to do an illustration for their poster. The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts does things a bit differently.

Our posters are unusual in that they’re the work of one man. For more than 40 years Lanny Sommese, distinguished professor emeritus of visual arts in Penn State’s Stuckeman School of Visual Arts, has designed the Festival’s poster. Although Sommese retired from Penn State in the spring of 2014, he has no plans to retire from designing the Festival’s annual poster.

For the third year, Lanny designed the poster with a partner: his daughter Saige.  Saige is a 2018 graduate of Penn State’s graphic design program and is the co-founder and creative director for Golden Creative, in Denver.  Graphic design is the family business–Saige’s mother, Kristin Sommese, also taught design at Penn State. 

To learn more, check out Festival Posters Tell Stories Too. A full set of Sommese’s Arts Festival posters is on display in the HUB-Robeson Center on Penn State’s University Park campus.

Most of the images found in the typical festival poster—the Festival jester, references to art, music, and theatre, are missing from the 2020 poster, reflecting the shift of the 2020 Festival to an online event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the image is a simple sunrise–recalling the optimism of a new day– rising over a stylized Happy Valley landscape.  Rather than referring to “Downtown State College and the Penn State campus” the poster’s text says “Happening Wherever You Are.”

The 2020 poster is sponsored by Penn State Health. It is available – while supplies last – at the following locations.

  • Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, 403 S. Allen, Ste. 205A
  • Downtown State College Improvement District, 127 S. Fraser St. 
  • The Makery, 209 W. Calder Way, State Collge
  • State College Framing Company and Gallery, 160 Rolling Ridge Drive
  • Juniata River Valley Visitors Bureau, Historic Court House, Lewistown

Unfortunately we have sold out and the poster is no longer available in our online store – but you can buy a shirt with the poster image on it, along with lots of other great stuff!

Vintage Arts Festival posters from previous years are available for purchase while supplies last.

Posters are printed on heavy stock and are 24” wide by 36” high
Posters are $15.00 each, plus $5.00 for shipping and handling

More about Lanny Sommese

Lanny Sommese took undergraduate degrees from the University of Florida and received his MFA Degree at the University of Illinois. He started teaching at Penn State shortly thereafter.

Sommese’s work is the subject of two books, Lanny Sommese: World Master and Lanny Sommese: X-Ray Vision. His work has been reproduced in hundreds of periodicals and books, such as Graphis, The New York Times, Communication Arts, A History of Graphic Design, and A History of Contemporary Graphic Design.

Sommese’s posters are included in numerous collections including the Museum for Deutsche Geschichte, Berlin; Muzeum Plakatu w Wilanowie, Warsaw; Musee D’Histoire Contemporaine, Paris; The Central Institute of Fine Art, Beijing; Moravaska Galerie, Brno; Kanazawa University, Japan; The Museum of Applied Art, Helsinki; and in the Library of Congress National Poster Collection, which has more than 100 of Sommese’s posters in its collection.

In addition to many other professional honors, he is a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale, an elite international group of graphic designers based in Zurich.

Saige Sommese

Saige Sommese is a 2018 graduate of Penn State’s graphic design program. She is the co-founder and creative director for Golden Creative, in Denver.

She has had her work published in the Graphis New Talent Annual and in 2016 designed the logo for the THON, the Penn State Dance Marathon and largest student run fundraising event in the world.  Saige does freelance work helping small businesses with their branding, advertising, identity and packaging design – usually from coffee shops  across the U.S. – as she follows her passion for travel. 

Visit the Festival Store!

Visit our online store to buy Festival t-shirts, posters, friendship bracelets and our special jigsaw puzzle.

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