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NU grad revives classic Chicago tourism posters

While browsing the archives during a trip to the Museum of Modern Art in late 2009, John Paul Wolforth encountered a poster proclaiming "chicago has a great lake," and it caught his eye.

It turned out to be just the beginning of what has become a labor of love for the 32-year-old Chicago native, who graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in art theory in practice and has an extensive history in design.

Wolforth searched for the original 1966 print of the poster, but there weren't any in circulation.

"After a few months, I decided to approach the original designer and suggest that we re-print a select edition of them," he said.

After extensive research, Wolforth discovered that 16 designs were a part of the series called the Chicago Cultural Communication Project that highlights the culture wonders of the city.

He's now in the process of releasing other prints from the iconic series, as well as other carefully selected masterpieces from the history of design. In addition, there are plans to curate a list of Chicago temporary designers.

The posters will be on exhibit at the Chicago Design Museum as apart of their 2013 program.

"It's sort of become a full-time job over the last year just trying to track down the rights, original prints and re-creating them so that they are absolutely perfect and there are no variances," he said. "It's such a wonderful city that I think it would be great to highlight the talent in the city as well as the cultural attraction of the city in general."

Wolforth said the biggest challenge was finding a printer to accommodate the size and scope of the project, but the experience has been extremely rewarding, especially seeing the art come to life from start to finish.

"I initially thought that the response would be limited to the design community, but we've had a lot of good responses from people that were actually familiar with the work," he said. "I was surprised at how many people were familiar with the series. Just people that love Chicago and we're interested in modern design as well."

'chicago has a great lake' and 'chicago the town that van der rohe built' are $200 each and can be purchased at

Wolforth said he expects to have delivery of the next posters in the series, 'chicago has two great zoos' and 'lincoln park,' by early September.

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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