The art of Emilio

The Postal Service celebrated the art of Emilio Sanchez last week by dedicating new stamps that showcase four of his colorful architectural lithographs and paintings.

The Miami ceremony was held on June 10 — the centennial of Sanchez’s birth, which Roman Martinez IV, vice chairman of the USPS Board of Governors, called “a perfect occasion to honor the man whose masterful works can be found in the permanent collections of museums and universities around the world.”

Sanchez (1921-1999), the first Cuban American artist to have his work honored on a U.S. postage stamp, explored the effects of light and shadow in his art to emphasize the abstract geometry of his subjects.

His artwork encompasses his Cuban heritage as well as his long life in New York City.

The pane of 20 Forever stamps, available at Post Offices and, feature “Los Toldos” (1973), “Ty’s Place” (1976), “En el Souk” (1972) and “Untitled (Ventanita entreabierta)” (1981).

Erik Stapper, a lawyer who represented Sanchez and who serves as a trustee of the Emilio Sanchez Foundation, recalled his client giving him a simple estate-planning instruction: “Make me famous.”

“Can there be a better birthday gift for our Cuban American immigrant friend than millions of new images by Emilio offered for sale at our local Post Offices?” Stapper said. “Each of those millions of images has a printed line that will serve as my words of welcome: Emilio Sanchez Forever USA.”

In addition to Martinez and Stapper, other speakers at the ceremony included author Elizabeth Goizueta; poet Richard Blanco; Jill Deupi, chief curator for the Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami; and her husband, Victor, a senior lecturer at the university’s architecture school.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment, particularly given how long he had been largely overlooked by the art community,” said Victor, who is Cuban American. “It’s a wonderful honor on many fronts because it gives so many voices to people of different races and ethnic backgrounds.”

Bite-proof your life

The theme for this year’s National Dog Bite Awareness Week is “Be Aware: Any Dog Can Bite,” and with 85 million pet dogs in the United States, that is no small threat.

The Postal Service wants to remind customers and employees to follow best practices when dealing with dogs.

Customers with dogs should:

• Keep dogs inside the house, behind a fence, away from the door or in another room, or on a leash whenever a letter carrier comes to the home.

• Teach their children not to take mail directly from a letter carrier because the dog may view the carrier as a threat.

• Take good care of them because dogs that are not properly socialized, receive little attention or are left tethered for long periods of time are more likely to turn into biters.

Informed Delivery, a free feature that offers digital previews of incoming mail, and Package Pickup are also promoted as useful tools in bite prevention because advance notification of a delivery gives customers an opportunity to secure dogs before a carrier arrives.

Letter carriers should:

• Avoid startling a dog;

• Never assume a dog won’t bite;

• Not attempt to pet or feed a dog;

• Always be aware of the dog’s location; and

• Call the dog’s name, if known, and speak to it in a friendly manner.

The Postal Service provides letter carriers with safety training, warning-card reminders for customers and dog repellent. Carriers’ hand-held scanners also provide a dog-alert feature.

The Safety Resources Blue page has additional tips and information.

Dads and grads season

USPS is offering several promotions at select Post Offices in time for Father’s Day and graduation season.

From June 5-18, customers and employees will receive $2 off the activation fee of Visa gift cards valued at $50 and $100.

Variable load gift cards are excluded. No coupon is needed.

Through June 20, customers and employees will save $1 when they purchase two Hallmark cards.

A coupon, available wherever Hallmark greeting cards are sold, is required. This promotional offer cannot be combined with other greeting card offers.

Additionally, USPS is offering special “True Blue” ReadyPost shipping supplies.

Customers can purchase decorative box designs — including extra-large bubble mailers — that can be used for gift wrapping as well as mailing. The decorative boxes fit inside Priority Mail boxes, offering one more layer of added protection.

The Postal Service is encouraging retail associates to let customers know about these items, which are available while supplies last.

Let’s talk about men

Postal Service employees can participate in an upcoming webinar to learn about how prevention and early detection is an important part of routine health maintenance.

“Men’s Health” will be held Friday, June 18, at noon EDT. The session is part of National Men’s Health Week.

Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Virginia Hospital Center will conduct the webinar and provide an overview of how to reduce the risk of heart disease and the following cancers: lung, colorectal, prostate and testicular.

Employees interested in participating should register before the session on the webinar website.

Following the webinar, every registrant will receive an email with a link to an archived recording, along with the slides presented.

Participation is voluntary. Nonexempt employees may only participate off the clock or during authorized breaks.

For more information, email the USPS Health and Wellness team.