Milwaukee Irish Fest poster

A Concordia art student’s illustration was the chosen poster image for the 38th annual Milwaukee Irish Fest, the world’s largest celebration of Celtic music and culture.

Milwaukee Irish Fest, Concordia art student
Taylor Rystrom’s illustration was selected for the 2018 Milwaukee Irish Fest poster.

Taylor Rystrom, who is double majoring in illustration and graphic design, was selected this year from among her class of Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) peers to take her concept to the Summerfest grounds for the Aug. 16-19 event.

For years, Irish Fest organizers have annually approached MIAD “Illustration 2” students to produce a design worthy of Milwaukee’s major cultural event, which draws more than 100 entertainment acts and 130,000 attendees each year. Rystrom was enrolled in the MIAD class thanks to Concordia’s partnership with the nationally renowned school. Through the partnership, Concordia offers multiple collaborative degree programs that allow students to complete most of their classes on CUW’s campus and travel to MIAD for the remaining credits. The partnership gives students the best of both worlds: exposure to nationally recognized art instructors combined with the lower tuition rates and campus life experience of CUW.

It’s a significant honor to have one’s concept selected for the festival. Milwaukee Irish Fest’s annual posters are revered as collector’s items and the tradition of featuring an illustration dates back to 1981.

See Milwaukee Irish Fest poster through the years.

Rystrom spent a portion of her Saturday afternoon in the merchandise tent on the Summerfest grounds signing her winning posters for the festival enthusiasts who purchased them. She’ll again be stationed in the tent today from 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Rystrom, of Green Bay, said the festival organizers ordered 1,500 posters for this year’s festival and she autographed about 400 of them ahead of the event.

“It’s just really an honor to know that my work is liked,” says Rystrom.

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at or 262-243-2149.

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