WASHINGTON — What do Love, skywriting, Year of the Rooster, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture all have in common? They are among the subjects of the U.S. Postal Service’s 2017 Stamp program announced today.
For more than 130 years, the Postal Service stamp program has celebrated the people, events and cultural milestones that are unique to United States history. The 2017 stamp subjects are in keeping with this rich tradition.
“The Postal Service is thrilled to provide this sneak preview of a few subjects of our 2017 program as we continue offering exciting new topics on stamps that will have wide appeal to stamp enthusiasts in America and abroad,” said U.S. Postal Service Stamp Services Executive Director Mary-Anne Penner. “Stamps are miniature works of art that tell America’s story; this is only the beginning as we will announce more subjects going forward.”
Here’s a glimpse of the 2017 stamp program:
Love Skywriting (Love series)
This stamp is a continuation of the Postal Service tradition of creating stamps that celebrate love. The Love Skywriting stamp will add a sweet, romantic touch to your letters and cards, not only on Valentine’s Day, but year-round. The stamp depicts the word “Love” written in white cursive script against a blue sky studded with wispy clouds. Underlining the word is a decorative swirl of smoke. A small, stylized plane, dwarfed by the giant letters, completes the end of the swirl, with smoke trailing from its tail. Louise Fili designed the stamp, which was illustrated by Jessica Hische. Derry Noyes was the art director.
Year of the Rooster (Celebrating Lunar New Year series)
The Year of the Rooster stamp is the 10th of 12 stamps in the Celebrating Lunar New Year series. The Year of the Rooster begins Jan. 28, 2017, and ends Feb. 15, 2018. The stamp depicts a rooster emblazoned on a red envelope (hongbao). Parents present red envelopes containing money to children and loved ones during Lunar New Year celebrations. The color red symbolizes luck in Chinese culture, while rooster imagery is often used to ward off evil spirits. Artist Kam Mak created this original painting. Art director and stamp designer Ethel Kessler incorporated elements from the previous series of Lunar New Year stamps — Clarence Lee’s intricate cut-paper design of a rooster and the Chinese character for “rooster,” drawn in grass-style calligraphy by Lau Bun — to create continuity in the series.
Celebrating African American History and Culture
This stamp celebrates the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Occupying a 5-acre site on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The museum is the 19th Smithsonian museum and the only national museum devoted exclusively to African-American life, art, history and culture. The stamp is based on a photograph of the museum by Alan Karchmer showing a view of the northwest corner of the building. Text in the upper left corner reads “National Museum of African American History and Culture.” Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the stamp.
The Postal Service celebrates posters of the Work Projects Administration (WPA), striking and utilitarian artworks created by the Poster Division of the WPA Federal Art Project. Each stamp features a vibrant example of the posters conceived and printed in workshops across the nation under the WPA, a broad-reaching program that provided millions of jobs during the Great Depression. Formed in 1935 as the Works Progress Administration and renamed the Work Projects Administration in 1939, the WPA lasted until 1943. Poster images are from Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, WPA Poster Collection. Antonio Alcalá served as the art director and designed the stamps with Maribel O. Gray.
This issuance celebrates the wonder of sharks with a pane of 20 stamps featuring realistic images of five species that inhabit American waters: mako shark, represented here by a shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus); thresher shark, here a pelagic thresher (Alopias pelagicus); great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias); whale shark (Rhincodon typus); and hammerhead shark, this one a scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini). Art director Derry Noyes designed the stamp pane with original artwork by Sam Weber.
With the new U.S. Flag stamp, the Postal Service continues its tradition of celebrating patriotism with one of the most recognizable symbols of the nation. The stamp features a detail from a photograph of the billowing Stars and Stripes. Terrence W. McCaffrey was the art director and Greg Breeding designed the stamp with an existing photograph of the flag taken by Tom Grill.
Father Theodore Hesburgh
The Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh (1917–2015) was an important mid-20th century educational, religious and civic leader. The stamp features an oil-on-panel painting of Father Hesburgh standing on the University of Notre Dame campus, where he served as president for 35 years. Appointed to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in 1957, Father Hesburgh helped compile reports on racial discrimination and the denial of voting rights that resulted in the Omnibus Civil Rights Act of 1964. A champion of causes ranging from education to immigration reform to the plight of underdeveloped nations, Father Hesburgh worked with many important organizations that reflected his beliefs. Art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamp with original art by Tim O’Brien.
Flowers from the Garden
Flowers from the Garden features new stamps with four different paintings of flowers that come from typical American gardens, each bunch artfully arranged. One stamp features red camellias and yellow forsythia in a yellow pitcher, while on another there are white peonies and pink tree peonies in a clear vase. An arrangement of white hydrangeas, white and pink roses, green hypericum berries, and purple lisianthus in a white vase graces another stamp, while blue hydrangeas in a blue pot appear on another. Art director Derry Noyes designed the stamps with existing art by Elizabeth Brandon.
John F. Kennedy
This stamp commemorates the 100th anniversary of the birth of John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963), 35th president of the United States. Kennedy was the nation’s first Catholic president and, at age 43, the youngest person ever elected to the nation’s highest office. The stamp art features a photograph of Kennedy taken by Ted Spiegel in 1960. Kennedy remains for many a captivating and charismatic personality — one who appealed to the nation’s higher ideals and inspired young Americans to engage in public service. Art director Derry Noyes designed the stamp.
With the release of the new Delicioso Forever stamps, the Postal Service celebrates the influence of Central and South American, Mexican and Caribbean foods on American cuisine. This booklet of 20 stamps features six dishes from an array of Latin American culinary traditions that have found new life and variations in the United States. Each stamp showcases a bright and playful illustration of one of the following dishes: tamales, flan, sancocho, empanadas, chile relleno and ceviche. The names of the six dishes appear in a festive font above each image. Artist John Parra designed the stamps under the direction of Antonio Alcalá.
Uncle Sam’s Hat
With the release of Uncle Sam’s Hat in 2017, the Postal Service celebrates one of the country’s most popular patriotic characters. Known especially for his large top hat decorated in varying patterns of stars and stripes, Uncle Sam has represented the bravery and fortitude of the American spirit for more than 150 years. The stamp features eight graphic top hats in Uncle Sam’s signature style. Red and white vertical stripes extend above a blue band with a white star and a gray brim. Beneath each hat is an oval shape representing a face, each in a different shade, meant to suggest the ethnic and racial diversity of the United States. Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the stamp. The words “ADDITIONAL OUNCE” on this stamp indicate its usage value. Like a Forever stamp, this stamp will always be valid for the rate printed on it.
Four new postcard stamps celebrate the wonder of seashells. Each stamp depicts an iconic shell found in North American waters: the alphabet cone, the Pacific calico scallop, the zebra nerite, and the Queen conch, commonly known as the pink conch. The highly stylized stamp art expresses a lighthearted artistic view of shells. Horizontal swaths of white and blue in the background suggest waves washing the shells onto a beach. Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamps. Sergio Baradat created the stamp art.
California Dogface Butterfly
The California dogface graces the seventh non-machineable butterfly stamp for use on irregularly sized envelopes, such as square greeting cards, invitations or announcements. The stamp is a highly stylized, simplified image of a California dogface (Zerene eurydice) — named for the forewing markings of the male butterfly, which bear a pattern that resembles a poodle head in profile. Greeting card envelopes printed with a silhouette of a butterfly indicate the need for additional postage or the use of a butterfly stamp. Tom Engeman created the stamp and art director Derry Noyes designed it.
The Postal Service celebrates a favorite backyard bird on this Barn Swallow stamped envelope. It features a large illustration of a barn swallow perching and a smaller illustration above it, showing the bird in flight. The barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) originally nested in caves. As man-made structures began to dot the North American landscape, barn swallows adapted by building their mud nests under the eaves of barns, houses and bridges. Barn swallows are acrobatic flyers, and a single bird can catch and consume thousands of insects in one day. Art director William J. Gicker designed the stamp with original art by Matthew Frey.
Customers may purchase 2016 Forever stamps at usps.com/stamps, at the Postal Store usps.com/shop, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724) and at Post Office locations nationwide. A variety of stamps and collectibles also is available at ebay.com/stamps.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
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