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Graphic Design Students Celebrate Pennsylvania Ballet

March 21, 2014

Ballet shoes hang suspended in classic dance positions on display at the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Parkway Central branch. As part of the anniversary celebration of 50 years of rich history at the Pennsylvania Ballet, Graphic Design students recently designed and installed an exhibit of artifacts, text, photographs and costumes in 22 display cases in the Library’s first floor West Gallery. The exhibit was completed as a project led by Graphic Design Professor and Program Director Jody Graff, as part of the freshman University 101 course.

The project, Pennsylvania Ballet at 50, gave students the opportunity to experiment with composition and resulted in a beautifully designed visual narrative of the Ballet Company’s enduring history. “There were a couple of students who were dancers themselves, so it was exciting for them to be able to touch and work with the artifacts,” Prof. Graff says. This is the Graphic Design program’s second collaboration with the Ballet. Last year, juniors and seniors conceptualized, fabricated and installed Behind the Scenes of The Nutcracker, an exhibit at the Philadelphia History Museum that chronicled the 45-year history of the Company’s beloved Nutcracker production. 

At a Donor Reception on March 13, students had the chance to meet with special guest Barbara Weisberger, who founded the Pennsylvania Ballet in the 1960s. On view March 5 through March 30 at the Central Branch (1901 Vine St., Philadelphia), Pennsylvania Ballet at 50 is free and open-to-the-public.