Smells Like Teen Spirit: Posters from the Akron Art Museum Teen Council

The Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation Gallery

For anyone who lived through the youth-driven grunge rock movement of the 1990s, Smells Like Teen Spirit may stir memories of the band Nirvana, crunchy guitars and flannel shirts. The Akron Art Museum’s Teen Council decided this notorious song-title was also an apt summary for their first major project, an exhibition of hand-screened concert posters on view in the Akron Art Museum’s Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation Gallery July 19 through October 12, 2008. The museum’s Teen Council program connects area teens who are interested in the visual arts to opportunities in new art media, contemporary art issues and first-hand experience with 21st century art careers. In addition to representing the voice of area youth within the museum as they plan teen-centered programming, council members act as ambassadors for the museum by spreading the word about museum events to their peers. Teens making up the museum’s current Teen Council are Amy Breedon (Hudson High School), Zachery Hopson (East High School), Leann Schneider (Tallmadge High School), Dred Geib (Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts), Drew Woyat (St Vincent-St. Mary), Marilyn Baker (Blue Ridge International Academy), Megan Smeznik (Copley High School), Margie Byrne (Nordonia High School), Flora Csejtey (Miller South) and Tori Kulwicki (Archbishop Hoban High School). Smells Like Teen Spirit: Posters from the Akron Art Museum’s Teen Council features the work of professional screen printer Jon Hicks, chosen and curated by Akron Art Museum teen council members, alongside Downtown@Dusk concert posters created by the teens. Hand-screened concert posters are re-emerging as a hot trend both locally and on a national level. The growing popularity of this genre and the “DIY aesthetic” reflect an affinity with the creative processes of the bands and musicians they celebrate and a move away from slick commercial printing and advertising. Hicks, who creates concert posters for Northeast Ohio music venues and teaches graphic design at Virginia Marti College of Fashion and Design in Lakewood, Ohio, guided teens through the process of screen printing and creating their own posters. “I've always been a huge music fan which really inspired me to start doing hand printed posters for events,” said Hicks. “Trying to visualize an artist's music is a greatly challenging and rewarding thing to do. My artistic influences range from Art Nouveau to Propaganda posters and the Pop Art styles of the 1960's.” The posters created as a result of this project reflect the council members’ personal styles as well as the style and influence of each Downtown@Dusk band. During each Thursday evening concert the student artists will be on hand to answer questions and take your bids as they auction off their posters with all proceeds benefiting future council projects. The exhibition is made possible by the generous gift from Key Foundation.