NextNOW Fest: Indelible Ephemera: Posters and Fliers from Special Collections in Performing Arts

NextNOW Fest: Indelible Ephemera–Posters and Fliers from Special Collections in Performing Arts

September 7 & 8, 2023

Event Attributes

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An audience’s initial interaction with a concert, a new play or a choreographer’s new dance piece does not always occur when performers first take the stage. Promotional posters and fliers—affixed to bare walls, stapled to telephone poles or handed out on the street—are often the first point of contact between an artistic work and audience members. In an 8 ½”x11” leaflet or a 27”x40” poster, graphic designers distill the core of a new work in letterform and illustration.

"Indelible Ephemera" celebrates these promotional materials, which were intended for short-term use but live on as artifacts of a performance, rich with enduring informational value. The exhibit highlights notable posters and fliers from the worlds of dance, theatre, popular music and punk rock. All materials are drawn from Special Collections in Performing Arts here at the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library.

Rarely-seen works are displayed from notable, D.C.-rooted artists like Lou Stovall, Lloyd McNeill and Paul Reed. These works are examples of how, for many artists, designing performing arts posters was an important part of their careers, despite the work’s functional purpose. Indelible Ephemera reconsiders poster design not as separate from the creative event it promoted, but as an integral point of contact between audience and performer.

About NextNOW Fest

Started in 2014, The Clarice’s annual NextNOW Fest is an inspiring arts experience that celebrates imagination, creativity and community. By amplifying the voices of intriguing, inventive artists from around campus and our community, NextNOW Fest creates a forward-looking microcosm where art transforms our future and connects us all.

NextNOW Fest is a signature event in University of Maryland's Arts for All initiative, which leverages the combined power of the arts, technology and social justice to address the grand challenges of our time.



NextNOW Fest is supported in part by the Maryland State Arts Council and The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation. Additional support is provided by Terps After Dark and the University of Maryland's Arts for All initiative. NextNOW Fest's Silent Disc-Glo event is supported by UMD's Student Entertainment Events; and the Vital Signs Mini-Grants Showcase is supported by the Venable Foundation and Pepsi.