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November 10, 2010

Go Font Yourself

On November 9, 2010 the Tyler Gallery at NOVA Alexandria hosted the opening for the Communication Design Topic Show. Every year, each of the three art programs (Fine Arts, Communication Design and Photography) organizes an exhibit on a special topic, usually inviting guest artists. This fall semester, the communication design program decided to involve its students in the special topic exhibit.

Everything started with a workshop that was offered in April. Students, faculty and advisory board members gathered to make improvised letterforms from found objects and the most unexpected materials. Some of these creations were so exciting that they ended up inspiring a show, as communication design instructor Angela Terry explains in a brief interview that we had with her.

Who came up with the idea of having a show of student work about fonts?
The idea for Go Font Yourself was a collaborative effort from the communication design faculty and members of its Advisory Board. Initially the idea was to have a workshop on typography, but then there was talk of displaying the end results of the workshop somehow. Since each art discipline is responsible for a topic show in the fall, a suggestion was made to feature the work from the workshop in the Communication Design’s Topic Show.
There was some concern that the workshop would not generate enough work to fill a show, so students who attended the workshop were invited to continue to work on their letterforms over the summer and submit work in the fall. The faculty also thought to generate more work by assigning a contemporary type project for the fall typography classes as well.

Who organized the event?
Communication design faculty and members of the department’s Advisory Board organized the event. The Advisory Board, Lisa Hill and Angela Terry curated the show. The student members of NOVA Studio designed the collateral for the show, assisted in setting up the gallery and served as student ambassadors during the opening.

How did the show expand so that not only the work from that night's workshop was exhibited and type that wasn't made out of found objects was also accepted?
The student artwork for the show was juried in. Members of the Communication Design Advisory Board participated as jurors and selected pieces that were created from the Go Font Yourself Workshop (held in April 2010), the Typography I and II classes of Fall 2010, and a previous Visual Communications class that was taught by Lisa Hill. Advisory Board members Karin Huggens and Zenon Slawinski, as well as other professionals within the design field, such as Rebecca Kamen, Pat Taylor, Kelly Barrett, Nicole Hamam, and Rhett Wade provided artwork for the show.

Why did you add the sofa, chair and coffee table that guests could write on? Were you aiming at involving the public and doing something more interactive? Does that mean that we might see performance art, too, at some design shows in the future?
One of the goals for GFY was to showcase contemporary typography, and to show letterforms can be created from non-traditional means.
The installation of the furniture was to involve the students and guests in creating letterforms and to have an interactive element in the show. Does this mean that there will be more interactive elements? Maybe. It just depends on the show.

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