Newcomb Art Gallery receives Smithsonian Community Grant, hosts traveling Smithsonian letterpress exhibition

Tulane University"s Newcomb Art Gallery has received $5,000 from the Smithsonian Community Grant program for a series of speakers, panel discussions, film screenings, gallery presentations and a print workshop related to “American Letterpress: The Art of Hatch Show Print,” an exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Services (SITES).

The exhibition will be on view at the Newcomb Art Gallery August 12 through October 11. The exhibition reception is Wednesday, Sept. 9, 6-8 p.m., and will feature live music by Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue (

The exhibition celebrates a time-honored American graphic art tradition through the work of Nashville"s Hatch Show Print, one of the nation"s oldest continuously operating printing shops. Founded in 1879, the Hatch print shop produced bold advertising posters using wooden type and woodblocks depicting people, animals and objects. The posters advertised events such as circuses, vaudeville shows, state fairs and stock car races.

From the 1920s, Hatch Show Print created posters to publicize country music stars at the Grand Ole Opry, and later for early rock and roll and jazz stars like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Herbie Hancock. The shop also printed numerous posters for filling stations, laundries, grocery stores and movie theaters, creating a colorful record of Southern life and culture.

The Newcomb Art Gallery will offer educational programs Wednesday evenings and Saturdays throughout the exhibition period. All programs will take place on campus in the gallery, in adjacent art studios, or one of the two auditoriums in the art building. All programs will be free and open to the public.

The programs will begin with a talk by guest speaker Jim Sherradan, designer and manager of Hatch Show Print, including a gallery tour and reception on Wednesday, Sept. 2. A panel discussion on Wednesday, Sept. 30 will address the music, culture and vernacular of New Orleans and the South as they relate to the themes in the exhibition. Also planned are: a gallery presentation featuring musicians who are veterans of the minstrel show circuit, an all-ages workshop with hands-on activities related to letterpress printing, a film series focusing the culture and music of the South, and an educator"s workshop to assist teachers in addressing the problems of under-performance in basic language arts skills in New Orleans public schools.

For more information on Newcomb Art Gallery"s educational program lineup, visit or call 504-865-5361.

“American Letterpress: The Art of Hatch Show Print,” was created by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in collaboration with the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum, and is supported by America"s Jazz Heritage, a partnership of the Wallace Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution.

The Smithsonian Community Grant program, funded by MetLife Foundation and administered by SITES, is used to strengthen the connections between museums nationwide and their communities. The grants allow exhibitors to enhance current program offerings or to create a new program suited to the topic of the SITES exhibition that they will be hosting. Grants up to $5,000 are awarded based on criteria that each exhibitor must meet. For more information on Smithsonian Community Grants, visit or email

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 55 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science, and history which shown wherever people live, work and play. For exhibition description and tour schedules, visit