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Kent State Design Students, Grade Schoolers Team Up on Project (09/09/2009)

StanzaThe Glyphix Design Studio of the School of Visual Communication and Design and the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University collaborated in the spring to create Traveling Stanzas. The project combined the creative talents of Kent State students with area student writers to promote awareness of poetry and graphic design within the community.

Kent State students designed eight posters, each with a different student poem, which were displayed in Akron METRO and Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority (PARTA) buses throughout the summer.

"This project came together in just a few weeks and has been a great experience for those involved," says Valora Renicker, the creative director of Glyphix and assistant professor in the School of Visual Communication Design. "Senior college students who participated in a studio experience /internship course each received a poem to interpret using their individual style of illustration. The design process was a spontaneous response to the poetry, allowing a great deal of creative freedom for the designers."

David Hassler, program and outreach director of the Wick Poetry Center, gathered and edited poems from area grade school students. The poems were generated through workshops conducted by the Wick Poetry outreach program. The program is conducted by Kent State students enrolled in the Teaching Poetry in Schools class.

Grandma"I took quite a bit of time selecting different poems that I thought would resonate with each other," Hassler says. "I recommended to some of the students that the longer poems be shortened and so some of them are excerpted versions."

Both Renicker and Hassler are pleased with how the project came together and they hope to collaborate again in the future. In addition to the bus placards, they plan to print future projects in other formats, including window posters and greeting cards.

"We hope to continue this endeavor in the future as a public service campaign which enhances the daily lives of bus riders and those supporting local businesses," Renicker says. "There has been a long history of poetry in public transportation. The Poetry in Motion project was started in 1992 in New York City."

City Bank Antiques of Kent, owned by Karen and Don Barrett; and Family and Community Services, Inc., which sponsors the Arts Alive Program for youth in the Portage County area, donated funds for the project. Ad space on the Akron METRO buses and the PARTA buses in Portage County was generously provided by the Akron Metropolitan Regional Transit Authority. Digital Color Imaging of Akron printed the posters.

Student poets include: Jia Wei,  third grade, Holden Elementary, Kent; Amil and Amir Stikes Jenkins, ages eight and nine, Skeels Community Center, Ravenna; Campbell Budzar, fourth grade, Holden Elementary, Kent; Susan Louis' third grade class of 2007, Holden Elementary, Kent; Gavin Van Winkle-Bright, fourth grade, Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts, Akron; Liz Gross, seventh grade, Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts, Akron; Ashton Wood, seventh grade, Miller South School for Visual and Performing Arts, Akron; Marcia Skidmore, teacher, Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts, Akron.

Kent State student designers include seniors Jessica Antol, Jason Bacher, Eric Celedonia, Aimee Crane, Elma Gildenhuys, Kim Hall, Shawn Ritzenthaler and Khou Vu.


Media Contact: David Hassler, 330-672-1769,


This page was last modified on September 8, 2009