Two exhibitionsfeaturing graphic design, poster history and the history of advertising and printingwill open with a free public reception at 6 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 11) in the Mesaros Galleries at the West Virginia University Creative Arts Center on the Evansdale Campus.

The shows will continue through Dec. 7 and include the WVU Division of Arts GramLee Collection of Early Commercial Wood Engravings, as well as Nashvilles famous Hatch Show Print.

The GramLee Collection of Early Commercial Wood Engravings is one of the largest single collections of 19th century American wood engravings known in the United States today. Cliff Harvey, retired professor of graphic design in the Division of Art and founder of the graphic design program at WVU , has catalogued and printed from the GramLee blocks for more than 30 years. The Mesaros Galleries will present some of the finest prints and original blocks from this important collection.

Hatch Show Print is one of Americas oldest working letterpress design shops. Founded in 1879, it was a full-service, community printer that also documented nearly every form of entertainment in the 20th century, printing postersoften from carved woodblocksfor showboats, medicine and tent shows, auto and boat races, carnivals, circuses and minstrel shows. Promoters for vaudeville, silent film,talkies,country music, rock and roll, rhythm and blues and professional wrestling all relied on Hatch Show Print to help get the word out.

Today, performers, promoters, graphic designers and art lovers alike seek posters with Hatch Show Prints wood-grained letterpress impressions. A division of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum since 1992, it annually designs and prints more than 650 posters and hosts more than 25,000 visitors.

Managed and programmed by curator Robert Bridges and the Division of Art, the Mesaros Galleries organize a diverse and exciting schedule of exhibitions throughout the year. The galleries are committed to showing experimental work that is innovative both in terms of media and content. They also host contemporary artists who work in all media through the Visiting Artist Program.

All Mesaros Galleries eventsincluding art lectures, exhibitions and receptionsare free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday from noon to 9:30 p.m. The galleries are closed Sundays and University holidays. Special individual or group viewing times may be arranged upon request.

For more information, call 304-293-4841 ext. 3210 or 304-293-2312.