"We Can" campaign

“We Can” campaign posters adorn the windows of Firefly Coffeehouse and Artisan Cheese.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit St. Norbert College in March, senior Maddie LeBrun adapted and turned one of her school art projects into a community effort.

With access to a printing press hard to come by, LeBrun’s printmaking class switched from letter press to public text-based projects. She developed a hand-painted series of “We Can” posters for the Firefly Coffeehouse.

LeBrun, a 2016 Oregon High School graduate, created a trio of posters including “We Can stop the spread,” “We Can start healing” and “We Can do it together.”

She didn’t expect her college art project to take off as a community campaign.

“When I made it, I figured there would be just one so I put my heart into it,” LeBrun said. “I wanted it to be big and special. I felt a responsibility to make sure it was well grafted so it was made with love.”

“We at Firefly Coffeehouse are absolutely committed to supporting both the arts and education, and view our very public role downtown as a place to build community,” Jeanne Carpenter, owner of the Firefly Coffeehouse and Artisan Cheese said in a news release. “We are delighted to showcase Maddie's original work and thank her for brightening Oregon's spirits while the world is paused.”

Brooke Barney, marketing and sales specialist for design and printing company Thysse, said she saw the impact the posters made in the Firefly’s windows and wanted to support LeBrun’s effort.

Thysse staff got permission from LeBrun and the Firefly to reproduce the posters to spread the word throughout the Oregon community, Barney said.

The Oregon Chamber of Commerce endorsed the “We Can” campaign.

Poster prints are provided free to the public by Thysse and available for pick-up at all three Oregon Kwik Trip locations and Bill’s Food Center.

Email Emilie Heidemann at emilie.heidemann@wcinet.com or follow her on Twitter at @HeidemannEmilie.