Special Events

In addition to providing students with an in-depth, hands-on classroom experience, Parkland's Graphic Design and Interactive Design Programs also offer learning opportunities outside of the classroom. From out-of-town field trips to movie premieres, Parkland students can participate in a variety of rich cultural experiences. Below are some past special events Parkland students were able to participate in.

Meet your heroes

From annual art gallery exhibitions to studio tours, Parkland students have ample learning opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom. On past field trips, students have been able to meet internationally-renowned influential designers like April Greiman, Art Chantry, Matthew Carter, Massimo Vignelli, Carlos Segura, and Kiku Obata as well as highly respected local heroes. Come join the fun!


  • Annual Graphic Design/Interactive Design Student Exhibitions
    Annual student show receptions Every spring, Parkland graphic design and interactive design students are invited to enter work in a special exhibition in our art gallery. The entries are juried by our faculty, then local marketing communications industry professionals are invited to judge the show and award cash prizes for exceptional work. To view past exhibitions, go to our exhibition gallery page.
  • The ART of Illustration
    Patrons in Giertz Gallery

    In 2018, Giertz Gallery at Parkland College hosted a special group show of 10 contemporary U.S. and illustrators known for their innovative work, personal style, and varying methods of creating their originals from paintbrush and gouache through digital manipulation. The exhibition also included an additional lecture and hands-on workshop taught by illustrator Ed Binkley. Guest curator and graphic design instructor Liza Wynette selected these artists for their strong conceptual imagery, outstanding craftsmanship, and unique visual language. These artists became ambassadors representing the current state of contemporary illustration in the U.S. and beyond (view the Exhibition Catalog).

  • Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production Premiere
    Post-screening panel discussion with influential designer April Greiman and filmmaker Briar Levit On November 14, 2017, Graphic Design at Parkland College presented the local premiere of a new historical documentary about the rapid changes in design from the mid-century modern era of Mad Men to the introduction of the Macintosh computer. Using rare archival footage and interviews, this groundbreaking film uncovers the hidden history of the graphic design industry's "cold type" era. The film features interviews with Steven Heller, April Greiman, Art Chantry, Ellen Lupton, Tobias Frere-Jones, Ken Garland, and more. Filmmaker Briar Levit and distinguished internationally renowned designer April Greiman joined us via Skype for a lively discussion immediately following the film (see pictures and video from the premiere).
  • MEET THE PROS Lecture Series
    Local designer Kurt Bielema with students Between 2011 and 2014, Parkland produced a continuing lecture series where students can meet local graphic designers, interactive designers, graphic artists, illustrators, photographers, animators, application developers, programmers and other professionals in the marketing communications industry. Presentations were scheduled during lunch time and everyone was encouraged to bring their lunch (see schedules from these events). This series was co-sponsored by 40 North/88 West and CUDO.
  • Sign Painters: The Movie Premiere
    Post-screening panel discussion with local and regional sign painters In September 2013, Parkland College and CUDO presented the Illinois premiere of a new documentary about the almost-lost art of traditional sign painting. In 2010, filmmakers Faythe Levine and Sam Macon began documenting these dedicated practitioners, their time-honored methods, and their appreciation for quality and craftsmanship. Local sign painters from Champaign-Urbana, Pontiac and Mt. Pulaski participated on a panel discussion immediately after the screening (see pictures and video from the premiere).
  • Linotype: The Film Premiere
    Post-screening meet and greet with director Doug Wilson In April 2012, Parkland College and CUDO presented the Illinois premiere of a new documentary about the amazing Linotype machine. Director Doug Wilson introduced the film and then joined a panel discussion immediately following the screening.
  • Hamilton Wood Type Museum Wayzgoose Field Trip
    Student showing off letterpress print with hand-set wood type In November 2011, nine students and several community members attended the annual Wayzgoose Type Conference in Two Rivers WI. Students attended a variety of hands-on seminars with letterpress and typography aficionados including Brad Vetter, author/curator Jim Sherraden from Hatch Show Print and award-winning type designer Matthew Carter.
  • Typeface Movie Premiere
    Post-screening panel discussion with director Justin Nagan (second from left) In Spring 2010, Parkland College and CUDO collaborated on presenting the Champaign-Urbana premiere of a new documentary about the revival of wood type and letterpress printing. Over 100 people attended the screening in the Parkland Theatre with filmmaker Justin Nagan attending the event. There was a post-screening discussion that included the filmmaker, Eric Benson (Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, University of Illinois), Maya Bruck (Co-founder and Executive Director, CUDO), John Havlik (Graphic Design Instructor, Parkland College), John Jennings (Associate Professor of Graphic Design, University of Illinois), Julie Johnson (Associate Professor of Graphic Design, Illinois State University).
  • SEEK Design Conference Field Trip
    Influential designer Massimo Vignelli visting with students In November 2009, eight students and community members attended the annual SEEK Design Conference at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb IL. Students attended a variety of breakout sessions and seminars in the morning, but the highlight of the conference was afternoon keynote presentations by influential designers Massimo Vignelli and Jakob Trollbäck.
  • Art Chantry at Parkland Art Gallery
    Influential design Art Chantry giving a talk at the Giertz Gallery In November 2008, influential designer Art Chantry was invited to showcase his work in a solo exhibition at the Parkland Art Gallery. Art Chantry was flown in from Seattle WA to attend the opening reception. While in town, he gave two additional presentations and thoroughly enjoyed his stay in Champaign-Urbana and read about Art's farewell dinner in Champaign).
  • Tribune Showprint Field Trip
    Paper making demo at Twin Rocker Handmade Paper in Brookston IN In the fall of 2008, students traveled back in time to visit the oldest continuously operating letterpress print shop in the USA. Open since 1878, Tribune is actually one year older than the world-famous Hatch Show Print in Nashville. Tribune's owner invited our students into their wood type composition area and we were able to get a hands-on lesson in this traditional craft. On the way to Tribune, we also stopped by Twin Rocker Handmade Paper in Brookston IN to see a demonstration of traditional paper making.
  • Helvetica Movie Premiere
    Handset metal type from the film HELVETICA In October 2007, Parkland College hosted the Champaign-Urbana premiere of Gary Hustwit's new documentary Helvetica. Over 150 people attended the premiere which was followed by a panel discussion with local designers and design professors.
  • Illustration Exhibition
    Custom puppet sculpture created by Chris Sickels In 2005, Parkland Art Gallery hosted "Personal Visions/Commercial Illustrations," an exhibition that surveyed some of the top contemporary illustrators working in the USA. Chris Sickels from Red Nose Studios attended the opening reception and gave a well-attended gallery talk. Other participating illustrators included Brian Cronin, Hugh Kretschmer, Luba Lukova and Jean Tuttle (view the Exhibition Catalog).
  • April Greiman Visits Champaign
    Panel discussion with David Bock, April Greiman and Dietmar Winkler In February 2004, Parkland College collaborated with the Champaign-Urbana Ad Club to bring influential designer and new media pioneer April Greiman to town for a luncheon, panel discussion and book signing. All three events were well attended and students had an opportunity to meet and talk with one of the most honored designers in the world.
  • Studio Tours
    Student showing off custom silkscreened print at Weiskamp Screen Printing Graphic design and interactive design students at Parkland College have numerous opportunities to visit design studios, advertising agencies and in-house art departments to interact with industry professionals and to ask them questions about the design profession. Locally, we make annual visits to Surface 51, McKenzie Wagner, Thunderstruck, Horizon Hobby, Human Kinetics, Weiskamp Screen Printing, and other places where designers work. We have also taken students to Chicago and St Louis to experience the cultural diversity available in a larger city. In addition to attending AIGA meetings, art museums exhibitions and art gallery openings, students also visited internationally renowned ad agencies and design firms like DDB, Segura Inc, VSA Partners, Kuhlmann Leavitt, and Kiku Obata (see info and pictures from past Chicago and St Louis field trips).

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