Globe Poster, a printing company that spent the last 10 years of its 72-year run at 3705 Bank St. in Highlandtown, will be featured in a special exhibit and festival at the Creative Alliance April 27 through June 15.
Globe Poster Printing Corp. printed posters for a wide range of clients, but their most iconic posters were for popular music from the 1950s-1990s.
Globe printed posters for the country’s top R&B acts, including James Brown, Sam Cooke, Little Richard, and Aretha Franklin.
The collaborative exhibition, between the Maryland Institute College of Art, which purchased the Globe collection in 2011, and Creative Alliance, is curated by Chloe Gallagher, an MFA candidate in curatorial practice at MICA.
The opening day of the exhibit will feature the premiere of “Say it Loud!” filmmaker John Lewis’s documentary about the poster company, and a panel discussion on Globe Poster and R&B’s Golden Era.
Lewis, a staff writer for Baltimore magazine, started the film about five years ago. He’d known the Cicero family for 20 years, and had written about them for City Paper and Rolling Stone.
“When I was in college I would see their posters around D.C. and pull them off the walls and put them in my room,” says Lewis. “When I’d go to shows in other cities I’d see them there too. I noticed the name of the printer: Globe Poster in Baltimore. I thought that was really cool. I was and still am fascinated by the posters. They’re a who’s who of American music.”
The festival will focus on Globe’s national R&B work, but the Baltimore poster company, which was located on Hanover St. from 1929-1961; Market Place from 1961-79, and Byrd St. in South Baltimore from 1979-1999, printed iconic letterpress posters for Baltimore events, performers, sporting events, circuses, and local politicians.
“We did a ton of political work in Baltimore,” says Bob Cicero, a former owner of Globe.
“Politicians were a dime a dozen in those days. We did posters for everybody: people who made it and people who were not that successful. Spiro Agnew, so many others whose names escape me now. Mimi DiPietro, now there was a East Baltimore politician,” recalls Cicero, who currently teaches classes in letterpress at MICA.
Cicero says that since MICA purchased Globe’s collection in 2010, the Globe has garnered a lot of attention, and new clients.
“You know how they say that people are more popular after they are dead…Well, we’re getting more recognition for our work now than we ever did. Since we’ve been at MICA, we’ve done work for Lincoln Center, and we had a commission from Sanrio (owners of Hello Kitty franchise),” says Cicero. “It’s been like a rebirth. A second act for us.”
Bob Cicero will be on the panel of experts discussing Globe and the Golden Era on Saturday, April 27. To see the full calendar of events for “Globe: Not to Be Missed,” visit www.creativealliance.org.
by Danielle Sweeney