Guest Artist Program

six postage stamps each showing a different Latino food

2023 Guest artist John Parra

Stamp artists have the extremely challenging task of depicting the shared history, culture, and beliefs of an entire nation on a one-inch square piece of paper. They work to find the perfect balance between the countless perspectives and experiences of the American people with their individual artistic visions. This summer, join the National Postal Museum and artist John Parra, as they examine a collection of themes illustrated in his original stamp designs and illustrations. Whether you are interested in John’s design process, his artistic inspirations, or his interest in examining Hispanic heritage on postage stamps, there is undoubtedly a program that will interest a variety of art lovers!

The Guest Artist Program is generously supported by the TurningPoint Foundation.

Upcoming Programs

Image of six postage stamps, each showing a different Latino food

¡Delicioso!: Designing Latino Food Stamps
Wednesday, June 28, 2023; 7:00 pm ET

This virtual program is designed for learners of all ages.

Although the artist’s ideas guide all stamp designs, each must work closely with an art designer to ensure they accurately and effectively portray the intended concept. Join Guest Artist John Parra and his art director, Antonio Alcalá, as they discuss their collaborative process for the ¡Delicioso! stamp issue from 2017. Together, they will share insights on the process from initial concept to the final approval of Parra’s original artwork.

Image of six postage stamps, each showing a different Latino food

Celebrating Frida Kahlo and Hispanic Heritage
Wednesday, July 26, 2023; 7:00 pm ET

This virtual program is designed for learners of all ages.

The Postal Service has a long tradition of representing Hispanic/Latino people and culture on postage stamps. Similarly, Guest Artist John Parra has incorporated aspects of his Mexican American identity throughout much of his work. In this program, Parra will guide participants through some of the many of the stamps issued celebrating Hispanic heritage, ending with the 2001 Artists: Frida Kahlo series. He will conclude the event with a live drawing demo showcasing the style of Kahlo herself.

Image of a letter carrier standing in front of a row of houses

Commemorating Community Heroes Through Folk Art: An Art Workshop
Saturday, August 5, 2023; 11:00 am – 4:00 pm ET

This onsite program is designed for middle and high school students.

Many folk artists have used their communities as inspiration, often depicting the people and activities of daily life around them in new and beautiful ways. Using his work portraying ordinary people that have accomplished extraordinary things as a launch pad, Guest Artist John Parra will guide students in a hands-on art workshop to design their own postage stamps that commemorate everyday heroes from their own communities.

Image of an adult and child standing next to a large bush, the child holds a sketchpad

Artist Inspiration and Creative Problem Solving
Wednesday, August 16, 2023: 7:00 pm ET

This virtual program is designed for learners of all ages.

No matter the field, an ability to think creatively and effectively problem solve are crucial. Growing up, Guest Artist John Parra worked beside his father as a landscape contractor, where together they practiced these skills while also finding artistic inspiration in the natural world around them. In this program, participants will learn ways that Parra has seen creative thinking applied to the Postal Service and will enjoy a live paint demonstration of his creativity at play.

Image of a mule walking on a dirt path

Mule Mail and Biblioburros: Reaching Communities in Unexpected Ways
Wednesday, August 30, 2023; 7:00 pm ET

This virtual program is designed for families with children ages 5 – 10 years.

Whether it’s rain, or sleet, or simply difficult terrain, both the Postal Service and book mobiles have used a variety of unique and interesting ways to deliver their goods—including animals! Together with Guest Artist John Parra, participating families will learn more about some of these furry friends and will participate in an artist-led drawing activity related to their hometowns.