Celebrate! CSU Milestones: Phil Risbeck, 50 years

Phil Risbeck began teaching at Colorado State in 1965, and his unwavering dedication to the field of graphic arts has caused his thought-provoking posters and visionary teaching to be renowned in the world of fine arts. This year, Risbeck celebrates 50 years of teaching, creation, innovation, and success with CSU.


Risbeck is the co-founder and co-director of the Colorado International Invitational Poster Exhibition (CIIPE), which the Department of Art’s highly regarded graphic design unit started in 1979. It was through the creation of CIIPE that Risbeck and his coworkers brought together outstanding examples of international poster design to an American audience. CIIPE was the only international poster exhibition of its kind in North America upon its creation, and is still the only one of its kind in the United States.

“CIIPE showcases examples of global visual communication to an American audience, promoting international understanding and dialogue through design,” Risbeck shared.

The biennial exhibition provides CSU students and the community a diverse presentation of current social, cultural, and commercial perspectives.

Share your Re-Envision for CSU

Faculty and staff have an opportunity to share what CSU in 2020 should like to them at the upcoming Celebrate! Colorado State Milestones event. Stop by the booth on April 28 to share your ideas on the four priorities – geography, culture, environment and practice – laid out by President Tony Frank in his 2015 Fall Address, or any others you may have to help move CSU forward toward greater celebrations in the future.

Poster diplomat

As a University Distinguished Professor, the highest academic recognition awarded by CSU, Risbeck has undoubtedly made his mark on Colorado State. He has won many awards in competition, and has had solo exhibitions in Moscow, Paris, Warsaw, Beijing, Havana and Rio de Janeiro. Many of his posters are displayed in permanent collections of poster museums in Europe, Asia, and North and South America.

An active artist and leader in the field of graphics, Risbeck has also held residencies and taught in Switzerland, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. He has lectured about his work, been a juror at many international poster competitions worldwide, and has conducted master classes and workshops surrounding poster exhibitions abroad.

In many ways, Risbeck has served as a poster diplomat, using his love of graphic art to make friends and create alliances. One encounter he specifically remembers is when he was asked to exhibit in the Soviet Union. Later, he was entrusted with Russian posters, and was asked to bring them back to the U.S. for display — no small feat — which depicts the incredible alliances he has created across the world.

“It really is an exceptional role,” Risbeck said. “Being able to work for this university has provided me the opportunity to keep a pulse on what young adults are thinking about today and convey it through art.”

After 50 years of teaching, his favorite part of being on campus is its informality, and being able to teach the young adults who walk into his classroom about art that moves the world and crosses borders.

In his spare time, Risbeck enjoys traveling the world with his wife, exhibiting his work internationally, and serving as a juror for poster exhibitions. We commend him on his 50 years of service with CSU, and look forward to continued development and creation from this visionary.

Celebrate! Milestones

Colorado State University employees achieving a decade of service or more this year will be honored at the annual Celebrate! CSU Milestones event Thursday, April 28, at 4 p.m. in the LSC Grand Ballroom.