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COVID-19 Poster Project | Wisconsin Historical Society

COVID-19 Poster Project

COVID-19 Poster Project | BIG History Is Happening

Second Phase of COVID-19 Poster Project

The Wisconsin Historical Society is announcing the launch of the next phase of its COVID-19 Poster Project!

The Wisconsin Historical Society will award $600 per commission to ten Wisconsin artists selected to participate in the second phase of the project. A separate category will exist specifically for high school students. The posters will be unveiled this summer and one design will be highlighted on the Society’s website and social media channels every week. All commissioned artwork will become part of the Wisconsin Historical Society’s poster collection to be preserved for future generations.

Explore the first phase of posters showcased below

BIG History Is Happening

Public information posters have long been a part of history. The Wisconsin Historical Society is sponsoring artists and their representation and expression of the COVID-19 pandemic through a new, relevant public information poster. The posters created by Wisconsin artists during the COVID-19 pandemic will become part of the collections at the Society where they can be used by future generations.

See more about how BIG History Is Happening

Create Your Own Poster at Home

Learn more about how public information posters have been used throughout history and get resources to create your own poster!

Learn How

What is the COVID-19 Poster Project?

Public information posters have long been a part of history. From encouraging volunteerism and morale on the home front during World War I to encouraging patriotism during World War II, these posters were usually bright and bold and encouraged the public to take action.

In the same tradition, the Wisconsin Historical Society has commissioned ten Wisconsin artists to re-imagine historic public information posters for the COVID-19 pandemic. The posters will promote public health and safety or serve as a call to action to encourage social change, well-being, and community spirit.

The Society has a vast poster collection with nearly 5,000 pieces dating from the 18th century to the present. They document political movements, activism, recreation and leisure, and advertising. The most significant parts of the collection are the circus posters stored at the Parkinson Library in Baraboo, the WWI and WWII poster collections stored at the archives in Madison, and the film and theater poster collection cared for by the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research.

Support Local Artists!

A large portion of the sale of these posters goes directly to the artist

Buy Here

First Phase of Posters

Becca Bryant's Together Wisconsin Poster, depicting a black woman standing proudly wearing a mask in the cutout of Wisconsin.

Final Poster | Together Wisconsin

Becca Bryant

Becca Bryant is the Creative Director and Founder of local design studio, Urban Root Creative. She specializes in custom designs for branding, campaigns, and marketing. Her family was a founding family of Madison and she is the sixth generation to make Madison home. Becca was inspired by all the current issues we are facing and combined them for the "Together Wisconsin" poster using her niece as the inspiration for the figure standing proud in front of Wisconsin.

Urban Root Creative

Renee Graef's Clean Hands Poster, depicting four ethnically diverse children all washing their hands.

July 1 | Clean Hands

Renée Graef

Renée Graef has illustrated over 80 children's books, including the "Kirsten" books (American Girl), books in the "My First Little House" program (Laura Ingalls Wilder) and "B is for Badger; A Wisconsin Alphabet." She splits her time between Milwaukee and Los Angeles.

For the Covid-19 Poster Project, Renée was inspired by an experiment that tested the effect of "Wash your Hands" signs in public restrooms. The results showed that people do indeed wash their hands longer with the displayed signs. She is making the four posters (from the one shown poster) available for free downloads in an effort to decrease the spread of the Coronavirus. The 8.5" x 11" printables can be displayed in restrooms in schools, daycares, work and home.

Renée is thrilled to work on her second children's book for the Wisconsin Historical Society Press with author, Barbara Joosse. Her first WHSP book was "Sport: Ship Dog of the Great Lakes" by Pam Cameron. She is also working on the children's book series, "Lulu and Rocky Adventures" (with Barbara Joosse), which debuted with "Lulu and Rocky in Milwaukee".

The free downloads of Renée Graef's Covid-19 Poster Project can be found on her website.

Roberto Torres Mata's We Get Through This Together Poster, depicting a figure reminiscent of the Virgin of Guadalupe wearing a mask

June 24 | We Get Through This Together

Roberto Torres Mata

I’m a current emerging artist in printmaking based in Madison, Wisconsin I emphasize the issues of migration with Mexico and Central America. My work speaks to the growing misrepresentation that the United States views migrants. As a first-generation Mexican American, I express my knowledge through printmaking acting on the social issues that deal with racial, political, and environmental problems. I graduated from Western Illinois University in the Spring of 2018 with a degree in Graphic Design and a Minors in Marketing. My work has been exhibited at New York City, Madison, Dallas, Knoxville, Quad Cities, Puerto Rico, and Chicago. I was a recipient to Education Graduate Research Scholars fellowship, American Advertising Federation Award, Advance opportunity Fellowship, and Paul M. Binzel Grant. In my practice I have always pursued a purpose to represent my views through art that can provide a positive impact that can bring communities together.

We Get Through This Together by Emily Maryniak Poster, featuring three people engaging in various activities: gardening, working online, protesting for black lives. A large hand with a rainbow gathers groceries.

June 17 | We Get Through This Together

Emily Maryniak

I am currently a Graphic Designer at Distillery Design and Marketing Studio. I majored in Fine Arts, then taught preschool for many years at Preschool of the Arts in Madison. I recently made a career change to graphic design. I have also been a longtime member of Polka! Press, a local printmaking studio.

Emily on her work, "Everything begins with a drawing. Drawing is a way to clarify the world around me and helps me notice beauty in everyday things. I enjoy exploring exaggeration, light, shapes and colors and it brings me joy to share my perspective with others. I am currently at a crossroads of developing my style and experimenting with incorporating both digital and hand-made work."

Her Instagram

To Each Their Strengths by Jolyn Sandford Poster, featuring an Asian woman handing food to a dark haired person, lots of blues, reminiscent of WWII Nursing Posters.

June 10 | Each To Their Strengths

Jolyn Sandford

Jolyn Sandford is a Madison-based artist and software developer who seeks to celebrate the things she loves through illustration. With roots in the fine arts and computer science, she enjoys examining the intersection of art and tech.

About her their work, "I especially wanted to celebrate community efforts in these uncertain times. Despite our physical separation and the upheaval of our usual networks, many have organized programs for members of our communities to help each other - from checking in on their neighbors to keeping their local healthcare workers fed."

Her Instagram

Assisting the Elderly Poster by Greg Biskakone Johnson, A poster reminiscent of WWII army styling it evokes a relateable feel revealing a can of food, that talks about taking care of our neighbors and our community in times of hardship.

June 3 | Assisting The Elderly

Greg 'Biskakone' Johnson

Greg 'Biskakone' Johnson is a member of the Lynx Clan and an enrolled member of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. His home on the Lac du Flambeau reservation established by the Treaty of 1854 is also known as Waaswaaganing, “the place of the torch.” Greg lives his life according to the four seasons, as did his ancestors. He harvests deer, fish, maple sugar, berries, wild rice, and wild plants. He enjoys trapping and snaring as well as hunting with a gun. Greg is passionate about keeping the traditional ways alive, and he takes every opportunity to teach these ways to others. Whether he is taking a group of students spearing for the first time or showing community members how to make buckskin moccasins, he shares his knowledge in the hope of keeping a vibrant traditional way of life relevant today. Greg’s favorite students are his children, Wasanodae, Koen and Blaise and one on the way in November. Greg taught his daughter how to skin a deer when she was four and his son to make moccasins at age five. Together, the kids tracked their first deer before they turned six.

My father was a WWII veteran so I grew up flipping through his WW2 books. When I was approached to design this poster I had tons of ideas thanks to my fathers collections! I really enjoyed creating this poster for the Covid-19 pandemic awareness movement. Like in the past we are once again reminded to stick together to defeat and overcome an enemy. We are all in this together! Take care of one another.

His Instagram

Conserving Resources Poster by Colin Matthes, Stark decisive black and white lines with pops of color to highlight important resources, like tomatoes, create the dramatic affect of this poster.

May 27 | Conserving Resources

Colin Matthes

Colin Matthes (Milwaukee, WI) is an artist. He combines improvised utilitarian construction techniques with instructional drawing, spectacle, and civically minded projects that range from group knowledge archiving sessions to “eco” demolition derbies. He always shows the means of production. The process, the fingerprints, the screwups.

Cat Parra's We Stand United Poster, depicting a group of people wearing masks facing a threat. It is a diverse group adults, children, essential workers, etc

May 20 | We Stand United

Cat Parra

Cat Parra is a Madison based comic artist and illustrator. Her work primarily explores themes of adventure and self discovery through the lens of historical fiction. In 2015 she co-founded Margins Publishing, a small press publisher focused on producing work by and about people of marginalized identities. About her piece, "I wanted this piece to reflect solidarity and community spirit. We each have a responsibility to do what we can to protect ourselves and neighbors. I’m sure while in isolation, many of us have never felt less like a community, but we’ve never had more need to act like one."

Yeonhee Cheong's Social Kindness Poster, depicting two people wearing masks facing each other with the words Social Kindness Protects Others & Yourself

May 13 | Social Kindness

Yeonhee Cheong

Yeonhee Cheong is a visual artist who studies the social language of the women’s bodies and outfits. She is a lecturer at Design Studies department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The war against COVID-19 virus has disrupted the conventional way of how we “unite” to fight. We should keep apart and protect selves from others, in order to protect others as well. Though against our natural instinct, this is the knowledgeable and effective way to win this war that everyone should follow.

Jerry Jordan's Learn At Home Poster featuring a young black girl at a table full of books and computer looking engaged in her studies

May 6 | Learn At Home

Jerry Jordan

Jerry Jordan is part of a growing movement of painters that are reinterpreting classical painting into what they call contemporary realism. He counts such painters as John S. Sargent, Anders Zorn, William M. Chase and Joaquin Sorolla as major influences in his artistic growth. However it was the artist of the Harlem Renaissance that fueled his desire to pursue painting.

Jerry Jordan's Website

Ashley Town's Keep Your Distance Poster, depicting bright blue and pink blocks that are inentionally spaced and the words Keep Your Distance

April 29 | Keep Your Distance

Ashley Town

At Bay View Printing Co. we believe in slowing down and taking our time with each and every project. As a letterpress design & print shop, all our work is custom designed and printed by hand one at a time on an antique printing press – a process that takes time, attention to detail and meticulous care. When you work with us you're supporting a 103 year old, female owned business built on the idea that people thrive when they collaborate. Simply put, the story of everything we do and everything we make, is you and your vision. Let us take great care of your story and share it with the world as only you would.

Bay View Printing Co

Jim McKiernan Wisconsin Heroes Poster, depicting a medical worker holding a vial and a hazardous materials bag, behind whom are other essential workers. All of them are wearing masks.

April 22 | Heroes

James McKiernan

James is a native of Madison Wisconsin. Learned to screen print in high school from Mr. Roy Liddicoat, studied art at UW Madison and Art Center College in Pasadena. Became President and Creative Director of Studio M in Long Beach, CA and Instructor at Madison College. Continues his studies and is Vice President of the Polka! Press Cooperative in Madison.

Jim's Facebook

Keegen Onefoot Wenkman's Shelter in Place Poster, depicting a large lightouse and home in vibrant two town, loosely referencing Christina's World.

First Poster | Heroes

Keegan Onefoot-Wenkman

The work I produce is of thoughtful, selfless, greedy, raving, amazing, botched, happy, needy, revolutionary people, objects, ideas, animals, and insects. These are what I love and don’t want to forget. A stew of moments seen, heard, loved and missed; on the list of ingredients it would read “for growing more mature and wiser, be brazen and naïve." Self-taught artist, currently living in Madison, Wisconsin via Portland, Oregon. The owner/operator of KeeganMeegan Press & Bindery and onefootinfront illustration studio.