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Wondering the Alphabet is a visual and literary investigation of our alphabet

A new exhibition in the Sue & Leon Genet Gallery serves as a companion to “Wondering the Alphabet,” a book for readers, writers and designers by Roderick Martinez, associate professor of communications design in the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ School of Design.

The “Wondering the Alphabet” book (The Bitter Oleander Press, 2017) features a continuous chronology of the English alphabet, tracing graphically its changes over time. Included are written reflections from 26 accomplished poets about a single letter assigned to them by chance for the book’s purpose. Beautiful visual translations, or character reenactments of poems set face to face, create a most unique and heretofore unseen correspondence between two art forms.

Organized by Genet Gallery manager and museum studies graduate student Lynn Smith G’19, the “Wondering the Alphabet” exhibition, on view through Dec. 7, features both visual and literary elements from the book. A closing reception and gallery talk will be held on Thursday, Dec. 6, from 5-7 p.m. All events are free and open to the public. The gallery is located on the first floor of the Nancy Cantor Warehouse, 350 W. Fayette St., Syracuse.

Martinez will teach a class based on the book in the Spring 2019 semester. DES 300 Selected Topics: Wondering the Alphabet is open to all Syracuse University students and will be held on Wednesdays from 2:15-4:45 p.m. in the Warehouse Auditorium.

Martinez has a master of fine arts (M.F.A.) degree in graphic design from the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he studied under R. Roger Remington. He worked as a corporate graphic designer and creative director/designer for agencies in New York before starting his own visual communications firm in 1998. His designs have won regional, national and international awards. He serves as the current program coordinator for the communications design program and has served as faculty advisor of the Syracuse University AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) student chapter. Martinez and his classes have been awarded several Chancellor’s Awards for Public Engagement and Scholarship.

Based in the School of Design the Sue & Leon Genet Gallery is a student-managed space that hosts exhibitions from the school’s students, faculty and alumni. Programing seeks to engage the University and downtown Syracuse community with exhibitions inspired by and related to the field of design.

Public gallery hours are Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays, noon-5 p.m. or by appointment.

For more information about the exhibition, contact the gallery at or visit For an accommodations request, contact Professor Andrew Saluti at 315.443.2455 or one week in advance.