Letterpress posters, such as this one for a Johnny Cash performance, are part of the Hatch Show Print exhibit.

IWU Galleries to Host Letterpress Poster Exhibit

June 6, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - The Illinois Wesleyan University School of Art's Merwin and Wakeley galleries will present Hatch Show Print: The Letterpress Look of American Entertainment, a graphic design poster exhibit by Tennessee native Jim Sherraden, beginning Sunday, June 11.

The exhibition, which will continue through Sept. 7, is free and open to the public. The Merwin and Wakeley galleries are located in the Joyce Eichhorn Ames School of Art, 6 Ames Plaza West, in Bloomington.

An opening reception for Hatch Show Print will take place Sunday, June 11, at 2 p.m.  Stumpwhoopt, a Bloomington/Normal country, blues, bluegrass and rock band, will provide live music.  There will also be a closing presentation and reception on Tuesday, Sept. 7, at 4 p.m.

Manager of Hatch Show Print since 1984, Sherraden is also co-author of Hatch Show Print: the History of a Great American Poster Shop, published in 2001 by Chronicle Books.

Hatch Show Print began printing posters in 1879, when brothers Charles R. and Herbert H. Hatch opened their small business in Nashville, Tenn.  Their first poster, which advertised a lecture by Henry Ward Beecher, contained the indispensable elements that would come to characterize a Hatch poster: nineteenth century typography, letterpress printmaking technology and a memorable, eye-catching layout.

Once a full-service community printer, Hatch's posters touted everything from church services, cafe hours and houses for sale, to "whole hog" sausage, "easy starting" gasoline and "most beautiful" electric ranges.

Hatch documented nearly every form of 20th-century entertainment, printing posters-often from carved wood blocks-for showboats, medicine and tent shows, auto races, carnivals, circuses and minstrel shows.   Promoters for Vaudeville, rhythm & blues, professional wrestling, and country music relied on Hatch to help get the word out.

Today, performers, promoters, graphic designers and art lovers alike seek posters with Hatch Show Print's wood-grained letterpress impressions. Described in Forbes magazine as a tonic for the information age, Hatch today is an amalgam of letterpress shop tourist attraction, museum and historical archive.

A division of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum since 1922, Hatch Show Print annually designs and prints over 650 jobs, and is host to over 25,000 visitors.

The summer schedule for the galleries is June 11 through Aug. 27. Summer hours are Friday through Monday from noon to 3 p.m. Regular gallery hours resume Aug. 28 and are Monday through Friday from Noon to 4 p.m., Tuesday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. and weekends from 1 to 4 p.m. The galleries will be closed July 3.

For additional information, contact Jennifer Lapham, director of the Merwin and Wakeley galleries, at (309) 556-3391.

Contact: Marcus Mitchell, (309) 556-3181