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Release: Sept. 7, 1999

Cartoonists to sketch out future of their trade at UI symposium

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Some of the nation's best-known cartoonists will gather at the University of Iowa Oct. 14-16 for a symposium on editorial cartooning. The symposium, "Drawing the Line: Political Cartooning under Pressure," will be held in conjunction with the UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication's 75th anniversary celebration.

UI graduate and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Conrad will kick off the weekend's events with a free public lecture, "Drawing the Line," at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14, in the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union (IMU). Conrad, a 1950 UI graduate, began his political cartooning career at The Daily Iowan. He went on to work for The Denver Post and Los Angeles Times, and won Pulitzer Prizes for Editorial Cartooning in 1964, 1971 and 1984.

"Editorial cartooning has always been an important part of American journalism, yet this unique form of journalism may be headed for the endangered species list," said John Soloski, director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Fewer than 150 editorial cartoonists work full-time at U.S. newspapers and that number shrinks each year, Soloski said. "The symposium will examine the pressures political cartooning faces today," he said.

Cartoonists and editors will address topics of concern ranging from the death of local cartooning and the rise of syndication to constraints on cartooning and the future of the art form. In addition, presidential candidates have been invited to participate in a discussion about being the target of political cartoons. Symposium organizers said the candidates would not be able to commit firmly until closer to the date of the event.

The editorial cartooning symposium, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the IMU Oct. 15 and at the Pappajohn Business Administration Building Oct. 16. Featured speakers at the symposium include: Jules Feiffer, formerly with the Village Voice and now syndicated; Joel Pett of the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader; Dan Perkins, a.k.a. Tom Tomorrow, of Salon and syndicated in alternative press; Steve Benson of the Arizona Republic; Brian Duffy of the Des Moines Register; Joe Sharpnack, a syndicated cartoonist based in Iowa City; Wiley Miller, who pens "Non-Sequitur"; Milt Priggee of the Spokane (Wash.) Spokesman-Review; John Sherffius of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; and Signe Wilkinson of the Philadelphia Daily News. Participating comic strip cartoonists include Bill Amend (Foxtrot), Jan Eliot (Stone Soup), and Aaron McGruder (The Boondocks).

Symposium attendees will have the opportunity to interact directly with the cartoonists during cartooning workshops on Saturday, Oct. 16. Participants who register in advance will be grouped with other aspiring artists of the same age for hands-on drawing workshops in which nationally known cartoonists will share some of the tricks of the trade. Drawing materials will be provided at no charge, but those who wish to participate must register by Oct. 1 to take advantage of this opportunity.

In addition to the symposium, several cartooning exhibits will be on display on the UI campus, including a UI Museum of Art exhibit of Conrad's work, an exhibit in the IMU display cases of Pulitzer Prize winning cartoons and an exhibit at the UI Main Library of work by
Ding Darling, a Des Moines Register cartoonist in the first half of the 20th Century.

In celebration of its 75th anniversary, the UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication will hold an all-class reunion gala on Friday, Oct. 15, in the IMU Main Lounge featuring a dinner and a dance with the music of the University's Johnson County Landmark jazz band.

More information about the symposium is available on the Web,

For information on registering for the free editorial cartooning symposium, contact the UI Center for Conferences and Institutes at (319) 335-4141.