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Letterform Archive announces new solo exhibition celebrating the activist prints of Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. 

Media Contact

Katie Peeler, [email protected], +1.415.223.2823

Exhibition Dates
On View

June 29, 2024 – January 2025

June 27, 2024, 9:30am–12pm 

July 20, 2024, 5:30–7:30pm 

SAN FRANCISCO, California, June 19, 2024  —  Letterform Archive’s fifth gallery exhibition will be Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr.: Citizen Printer, a major solo show featuring over 150 type-driven artifacts. The exhibition will be on view June 29, 2024 through January 2025. 

Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr., who describes himself as a “humble negro printer,” is known for his designs featuring messages of social justice and Black power, emblazoned in rhythmically layered and boldly inked prints made for the masses. Borrowing words from civil rights heroes such as Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hamer, Frederick Douglass, and Sojourner Truth, Kennedy issues fearless statements on race, capitalism, history, and politics – along with plenty of witty truisms – in his exuberant prints. 

Kennedy uses letterpress printing as an anchor to the past but also as a form of activism, presenting viewers with questions about the United States’ claims to liberty and justice for all and the impact of white supremacy and racism. Using bold language, graphic typography and colorful layers, Kennedy’s prints embody an intensity that is immediately eye-catching and forces one to stop and think. The themes reflected in Kennedy’s work encompass the evolving trajectory of Black liberation in the United States—from growing up in the 1960s during the Civil Rights Era, the rise of Black Nationalism in the 1970s, to the Post-Civil Rights era of our present. Kennedy has seen how these movements have shaped Black identity in the United States and has drawn from this as inspiration. 

Curated by designer and author Kelly Walters, the exhibition spans the length of Amos Kennedy’s career thus far and includes a wide variety of printed artifacts including broadsides, maps, church fans, handbills, and oversized posters. Along with his signature prints, the show features a few lesser-known artist’s books that showcase Kennedy’s early start with letterpress printing and bookbinding. Together, these works demonstrate the rich cultural traditions of Black printing and the importance of Black authorship. 

“By advocating for marginalized communities and exposing both the blatant and concealed ways that racism takes form in society, Amos Kennedy, Jr. demonstrates how letterpress printing can be used as a tool for abolition,” says exhibition curator Kelley Walters. “The show highlights prints made for local community events and organizations, selected quotes from civil rights activists, African proverbs and his own bold statements calling out colonialism, racism and white supremacy. Amos uses anything from single words to short text phrases, and in his printing he gives them power.”

A hardcover companion publication, Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr.: Citizen Printer, will feature more than 800 reproductions representing the breadth of Kennedy’s letterpress prints (including rarely seen artist’s books), plus original portraiture of the maker at work, a powerful manifesto, and a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Austin Kleon, all presented in a dynamic and type-forward design from AIGA medalist Gail Anderson and Joe Newton. 

Visitor Information


$10 for adults; $5 for students and seniors (65+); Archive members and children under 12 free. Free to the public on Thursdays. Advance tickets available at

Regular Exhibition Hours

Thu, 1–8pm (free admission); Fri–Sun, 11am–6pm; closed Mon–Wed.

About Kelly Walters 

Kelly Walters is an artist, designer and founder of the multidisciplinary design studio Bright Polka Dot. Her ongoing design research interrogates the complexities of identity formation, systems of value, and shared vernacular in and around Black visual culture. Kelly has previously taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, University of Bridgeport, University of Connecticut and Central Saint Martins. In 2021, Kelly was a Graham Foundation award recipient for her curated exhibition With a Cast of Colored Stars. She is the author of Black, Brown + Latinx Design Educators: Conversations on Design and Race (2021) and the Creative Director and Co-Editor of The Black Experience in Design: Identity, Expression & Reflection (2022). Kelly is currently the Director of the BFA Communication Design program and Assistant Professor of Communication Design at Parsons School of Design at The New School. 

About Letterform Archive

Based in San Francisco, Letterform Archive is a nonprofit center for inspiration, education, and community. It preserves important artifacts in the history of letterforms and graphic design, and it strives to actively share them with the public. Since it opened to visitors in 2015, the collection has quintupled in size through the generosity of donors, and now includes over 100,000 items related to the letter arts. The Archive serves a global community through social media, publications, and the Online Archive, and offers a full-year postgraduate certificate program in type design as well as public workshops in calligraphy, lettering, and typography. Additionally, the Archive curates local and international exhibitions, organizes lectures, and hosts salons to showcase collections. Learn more at

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