University of Illinois at Chicago Office of Public Affairs (MC 288)
601 S. Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607-7113, (312) 996-3456,

January 19, 2000 Contact: Bryant D. Payne (312) 355-2523

UIC and DuSable Museum Host New Symposium

In the history of Chicago design, African-American designers have not gained wide recognition despite the fact that they have been active as advertising artists, industrial designers, cartoonists, illustrators, graphic designers, craft persons and product designers since the 1920s.

To celebrate the rich, yet largely unrecognized, heritage of African-American design in Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago and the DuSable Museum of African-American History are

Event poster by Charles Dawson, 1933

[Note to Editors: Many high quality images from the symposium are available. A few low-resolution samples are presented here.]

presenting "African-American Designers: The Chicago Experience Then and Now." This landmark event, the first symposium to focus on black commercial artists, will take place Saturday, Feb. 5, at the museum, 740 E. 56th Place, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"The symposium will focus on the special circumstances that have contributed to Chicago's pivotal role in the development of African-American design," said symposium director Victor Margolin, UIC professor of design history and fellow at UIC's Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy. "It will have something for everyone, but should be particularly relevant to young African-American students who might be interested in design as a profession. They will be able to see that there is already a rich heritage of African-American design practice in the city that they can build on."

The symposium will begin with a keynote address by Floyd Coleman, professor of art at Howard University, who will look at African-American design from a national perspective. Scholars will then

View-Master, commercial design by Chuck Harrison

share their research on subjects ranging from establishing a social context for African-American design practice to lessons about historically significant designers.

The afternoon program will open with a group of young black designers who will talk about their work and what it is like coming up in the profession today. In the closing session, "A Conversation with the Pioneers," a panel of designers, who figure prominently in Chicago's African American design heritage, will share their career struggles and triumphs.

Among those presenting at the symposium are pioneer African-American designers such as Leroy Winbush in exhibition design, Vince Cullers in advertising and Charles Harrison in product design.

More information on the symposium is available online at:

With 25,000 students, the University of Illinois at Chicago is the largest and most diverse university in the Chicago area. UIC is home to the largest medical school in the United States and is one of only 88 national Research I universities. Located just west of Chicago's Loop, UIC is a vital part of the educational, technological and cultural fabric of the area.

The DuSable Museum of African American History, founded in 1961, is the nation's oldest non-profit institution devoted to the collection, preservation, interpretation and dissemination of African and African-American history and culture. The museum emphasizes the experiences and contributions of Americans of African descent to world history and to American history, life and culture.


Event poster by Robert Savon Pious, 1940
Promotion for Vince Cullers Advertising; Emmett McBain, art director, 1969
Sears Portable Hairdryer, commercial design by Chuck Harrison
Political cartoon of boxer Joe Louis by Eugene Winslow

Copyright © 1999 by B&P Consulting, Inc. and University of Illinois at Chicago. All rights reserved.
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