Designing a better future

Local designer out to make her mark
Thu, 04/04/2019 - 8:45pm

Rosemary Connelli has taken her love of graphic design and research and combined them into four striking posters she has designed for the New Bedford Whaling Museum in Massachusetts.

Connelli, 23, is a 2018 graduate of Green Mountain College, earning a degree in Fine Arts. She said that while at school she was “concentrating in graphic design and illustrations studies for the awareness of marine species and conservancy.” (She was a student at the Block Island School up until the seventh grade.) Connelli said she has always had an interest in graphic design, which was why she took it upon herself to reach out to the Whaling Museum after graduation to see if there were any internships available, even though none were posted.

This was late last year, and she heard back within a week and was chosen to be a Design and Marketing intern. Connelli was given an assignment to design posters for the about-to-open “Whales Today” exhibit. She worked remotely with the Museum’s marketing director, and was excited that her early drafts of the poster designs were pretty much on the mark.

In an email to The Times, Connelli wrote: “The main focus of my internship was to design four infographics for their new exhibit ‘Whales Today’... [which] reveals the status of the four whales in today’s oceans and humankind’s interactions with these mammals. The whales are: sperm whale, humpback whale, blue whale and North Atlantic right whale. Visitors will learn about whale biology, behavior, and habitat, relating to the whale skeletons hanging above the exhibit. Each infographic conveys collected whale anatomy, population/conservation status, facts and threats. The posters serve a purpose to inspire visitors to visually understand the vulnerabilities of each whale, and the conservation efforts to create positive change.” The exhibit opened in February.

She also said the kind of graphic arts she’s interested in combine art with civic duty. 

“I’m a strong advocate in using art to be a voice for those who cannot; the North Atlantic right whale population has continued to plummet over the years due to ship strikes and entanglements. On the Pacific coast, southern resident killer whales are one of the most contaminated marine mammals in the world from PCBs,” she wrote.

The internship at the Museum is over, and Connelli is once again living on Block Island. She’s working part-time at the Block Island Historical Society on their social media accounts, and as a volunteer at The Nature Conservancy.

She is in the early stages of launching her own business, Connelli Designs, out here on the island. “My father started his own business and I was always inspired by that,” she said. Her father, Bill Connelli, owns Connelli Land Improvement Service on the island.

Rosemary Connelli also said that the island itself inspires her.

“This island is filled with inspiring and creative individuals who put nature first, and continually spread their awareness to advocate for our marine environments. The nature and marine programs here are strong building blocks in guiding a young child’s education and future career. The first time I fell in love with immersing science and art was in Shannon Cotter’s biology class, where we were given an assignment to choose an island animal and convey their information through a fact card,” she wrote in her email. “Growing up on the island has allowed me to grow respect and curiosity for natural environments, and to seek out ways to spread conservation awareness through the opportunities in art.”

To check out Connelli’s work, visit To contact her: