July 13 - August 11, 2015
The Alphabet is a project for the city of Fitchburg, MA, revolving around the daily newspaper, a collaborative alphabet, an embedded visiting artist, a special group of reporters, and 26 typographers from around the world.
The Fitchburg Art Museum has commissioned artist Anna Schuleit Haber to create a new work for the city of Fitchburg, MA, for which she proposed (and received the permission) to take over the front page of the city’s daily newspaper, the Sentinel & Enterprise, for 26 days.
This work of art is a limited-edition, daily experiment that explores visual language systems, the transport of text, and the shaping and meaning of news, both local and non-local. The project spans twenty-six days and highlights art, poetry, and news-stories that appear, not inside the paper but on its front page. The art is the newspaper, and the newspaper is the art.
The artist and her collaborators use the natural parameters of the twenty-six letters of the alphabet to create this series of front pages, from A through Z. Each front page features a large typographic design of a letter, specially created by a guest typographer, around which daily news and found urban stories are arranged. The typography and the stories are created in continuous collaboration with citizens, writers, poets, high school and college students from our region. For the duration of The Alphabet, Anna Schuleit Haber and her team of interns are the reporters and designers for what is hoped will be the paper’s most unusual run of front pages in its 177-year old history.
Twenty-six typographers were invited to contribute one original letter each to this project, as a gift to the city. Each typographer was encouraged to make the letter as idiosyncratic and unusual, as legible or abstract, as colorful or monochromatic as is inherent to his or her style and wider creative approach. Each letter influences and suffuses each day’s design and reporting.
The aim is to assemble the most diverse and far-reaching collaborative alphabet that has ever been created for a daily newspaper. Letters as big and bold as the entire newspaper page, reminiscent of illuminated letters, will inspire a second and third glance from readers. After twenty-six days, any loyal reader of the paper will have a complete limited-edition set of front pages.
The Alphabet is supported by an ‘Our Town’ Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and was commissioned by FAM in collaboration with the City of Fitchburg, Fitchburg State University, and the Sentinel & Enterprise.
For project updates, please visit the FAM website (www.fitchburgartmuseum.org) and follow The Alphabet on all of FAM’s social media pages.
Join the conversation with #fitchburgalphabet.
Anna Schuleit Haber (https://twitter.com/schuleithaber) is a visual artist whose work lies at the intersection of painting, drawing, installation art, architecture, history, and community. Anna studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), creative writing at Dartmouth, and was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard. She was named a MacArthur "Genius" Fellow for work that has “conceptual clarity, compassion, and beauty.” Her recent projects revolve around seriality and memory, and include a body of 104 paintings based on Thomas Bernhard’s short fiction, as well as large-scale drawing commissions for architecture. Anna is currently based in New Orleans. Artist website: http://anna-schuleit.com