College Presents ‘Off the Wall, On the Wall,’ A Retrospective of the Posters of Lanny Sommese

by Diane VanDyke

The posters of world-renowned graphic designer Lanny Sommese speak a silent but powerful message that reaches both the emotional and intellectual levels of the viewer. 

Montgomery County Community College invites the community to see and experience the artwork of this award-winning artist. The exhibition, “Off the Wall, On the Wall,” A Retrospective of the Posters of Lanny Sommese, will be on display Oct. 20 through Nov. 18 at the College’s Fine Arts Center Gallery, Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.

An artist reception will be held on the opening day of the show, Thursday, Oct. 20, from 5-7 p.m. with a gallery talk at 6 p.m.  Additionally, Sommese will lecture on the topic, “The Art and Design World,” at 1 p.m. at the Fine Arts Center. The exhibition, lecture and artist reception are free and are open to the public.

Over the years, Sommese’s posters have garnered numerous awards, including Gold Medals in the International Biennial of the Poster of Mexico, the Triennial of Stage Poster Sofia, the Colorado Poster Biennial and the Poster Biennial of Bolivia. His work appears in hundreds of periodicals and books and in several museum collections around the world. Additionally, Sommese has exhibited his work in several one-person shows and in many national and international exhibitions.

In 2010, the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) of Philadelphia presented Sommese with the Fellow Award—the most prestigious honor an AIGA chapter can give to a designer for a lifetime of significant contributions and achievements in the design community.

Since 1970, Sommese has taught classes at Penn State University and currently holds the position of Distinguished Professor and Head of Graphic Design. He has been described as the “guiding force behind the Penn State graphic design undergraduate department.”

Although Sommese has resided in Pennsylvania for most of his life, he was born in East Moline, Ill., and graduated from the University of Florida where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting and a Bachelor of Design degree. He earned his Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design at the University in Illinois.

Beyond teaching, Sommese and his wife, Kristen Breslin Sommese, operate their own business, Sommese Design, specializing in corporate, print, packaging and poster design. They live in Port Matilda, Pa., with their two children. His wife also teaches at Penn State.

For more information about the exhibition, contact Gallery Director Holly Cairns at 215-619-7349 or

Help support the arts and art education programs at Montgomery County Community College by becoming a Friend of The Galleries. Donations are tax deductible. For more information, contact the College Foundation at 215-641-6535.

Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The gallery is closed weekends.

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