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Eastern Celebrates 125th Anniversary With Local Billboards

Published on January 06, 2015

Eastern Celebrates 125th Anniversary With Local Billboards

A group of seniors in Art Professor June Bisantz’s Eastern Design Group class has created designs for five local billboards commemorating Eastern Connecticut State University’s 125th anniversary.

Each billboard depicts a visual timeline of 25 years, told in yearbook photos taken from Eastern’s archives. The photos are presented against a backdrop of Eastern’s architecture of the corresponding time period. The participating students included Kai Hansen (1889-1914), Matthew Pappalardo (1914-39), Ray Phonthaphanh (1939-64), Rikki Jarvis (1964-89) and Alyssa Toth (1989-2014). The billboards are displayed along major roads in the Willimantic area including Main Street, Bridge Street, Route 195 and Route 6 West.

“This was a wonderful opportunity for the Eastern Design Group – a rare chance to design and produce something for public space,” said Bisantz. “Creating a successful billboard requires sophisticated design skills as well as digital expertise — the scale involved alone presents a challenge. Another great aspect of this project is its historical component, which necessitated research and thoughtful, considered image choices that tell the story of Eastern’s history and express the students’ pride in their undergraduate institution. It is always a joy to work with such talented young people — I’m very proud of them — and I hope the Windham community will join us in this celebration of Eastern’s 125-year history.”

Written by Anne Pappalardo