June Gallery Exhibit – ‘Revolutionary Art’: an exhibit of posters from the collection of Stephen Lewis

This June, our gallery features another unique display of posters from the collection of Stephen Lewis. In this exhibit, ‘Revolutionary Art’, we see the power of art to effect social change. Art in this form has been used historically to communicate a message and inspire individuals to take action. The power of the visual message draws their audience in with the beauty as well as the message.

Historically, posters were used by leaders or movements to educate and win support of people who were perhaps illiterate. Some of these posters represent powerful expressions by various poster artists. Others represent the viewpoint of states and political groups motivated by ideology.  In a number of countries, posters are used regularly and extensively to convey ideas as well as to generate support for candidates for election. Posters are also an inexpensive way for a group to communicate a simple message. Frequently, posters are created for use for a very brief period and then are discarded and lost forever. It is unfortunate that many posters have suffered that fate. Posters can create a historical reference for a people, a movement or a society. Posters can be a very beautiful form of advocacy.  As commercial advertising calls for more consumption, a political poster calls for more action.

This project is supported in part by Roofers Local 33, Painters District Council 35 and by Laborers Local 1249.

Stephen Lewis is a retired trade union leader. He has a collection of over 8600 posters and counting, which he has displayed over the past 17 years in many libraries around the state.