The Arts Festival poster has been designed by PSU Professor Lanny Sommese for over 30 years. It is the foundation for the design of all related materials.
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 second 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.
The 2019 poster features a picture within a picture as the Festival’s jester, clad in a red and yellow suit reminiscent of traditional harlequin garb, stands behind an easel holding a large colored pencil. Collage elements representing art and music surround the easel, which stands in front of an open window overlooking the Central Pennsylvania landscape.
The 2019 poster is sponsored by a partnership between Highmark and Penn State Health.
See also 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.