Paul Shaw (FAAR’02) presents “Lettering Tour of NYC: Midtown” for SOF on Sunday 26 October 08

Make sure to bring binoculars.

On Sunday 26 October 2008 from 11 AM to 2 PM Paul Shaw (FAAR ’02) will lead “A Lettering Tour of New York City: Midtown” for members of the Society of Fellows of the AAR and their guests.

This introductory tour to lettering in New York City will focus on the riches of Midtown—with a slight deviation to parts of the Upper East Side.

From the facade of St. Bart’s, Park Ave between 50th and 51st

Participation is limited to 15, and SOF members can RSVP here (best by Wednesday 22 October). The meeting place will be in Manhattan at a location in the East 60s (details upon registration).

Shaw will show the group a full range of lettering styles, techniques and materials from carved capitals inspired by those of ancient Rome to Art Deco neon signs. The tour will encompass colleges, churches, department stores, office buildings, bars, subway stations and more.

Plus Shaw in his commentary will discuss different lettering styles and their historical origins, the many methods of making letters, the factors involved in designing letters for outdoor use, the diverse roles that lettering can play in the urban environment, and the symbolism and meaning behind certain letter styles.

Paul Shaw is a graphic designer specializing in calligraphy, lettering and typography and a design historian with a similar focus.

Upon winning the Franklin D. Israel Rome Prize Fellowship in Design Arts, he spent his time at the American Academy (2001/2002) researching the lettering connection between the calligraphy of the Paduan scribe Bartolomeo Sanvito and the Roman sculptor Andrea Bregno in the late Quattrocento.

Shaw is the author of “Looking for Letters in New York: A Tale of Surprise and Dismay” in Letters from New York 2 (2006) and in 2007 was profiled by Christopher Gray in The New York Times.

Paul has led walking tours of lettering in New York for the Society of Typographic Afficionados, the Type Directors Club, the Society of Scribes, the American Printing History Association and the 2007 GEL conference. He has also conducted similar tours in Boston and Buffalo and from 1997 to 2001 he co-led the Legacy of Letters tours in Florence and Rome.

The Society of Fellows is pleased to host what should be a red letter date in your cultural calendar.

PS [29 October 2008] the event fully lived up to the high expectations, and opened up new vistas on the NYC letterscape for the 15 participants…

Left to right: Bunny Harvey (FAAR’76), Paul Shaw (FAAR’02), Jeffrey Schiff (FAAR’77), Blair Tate, Elizabeth Bartman (FAAR’83, RAAR’09)

Detail from General Electric Building at 570 Lexington Avenue


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