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Magazine

Kid Stuff

Exploring the art of children’s literature

Kid Stuff

Art Kandy Collection

“On the Balcony” from Whiskers & Rhymes, Arnold Lobel, 1985. Watercolor on paper.

This spring, the Alexandria Museum of Art highlights art within literature in the exhibit Childhood Classics: 100 Years of Original Illustration from the Art Kandy Collection. Displaying more than one hundred original works pulled from more than seventy-five books, this exhibition explores the history of children’s book illustration from the turn-of-the-century pen-and-ink Mother Goose art of Sarah Noble Ives to the most popular works of today, including the digital creations of Mo Willems. Visitors will see the classic art of Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak’s iconic Wild Things, and Garth Williams’s heroic Stuart Little. Many more classic illustrators are featured, including Rosemary Wells, Richard Scarry, Chris Van Allsburg, and Hilary Knight. Viewers will visit fondly remembered childhood characters including Eloise, Madeline, Dick and Jane, and the Cat in the Hat 

Children’s books have always held a dual purpose: both to educate and entertain young readers and to serve as historical touchstones, reflecting and visualizing the history and values of the era in which they were written. This exhibition explores the illustrations as well as the illustrators that brought them to life, as well as in-depth information on important topics associated with children’s literature, such as banned books and issues surrounding diversity and representation 

Childhood Classics: 100 Years of Original Illustration from the Art Kandy Collection was curated by Lois Sarkisian and Lee Cohen from the extensive collection Every Picture Tells A Story, their innovative and influential Los Angeles gallery of original art from children’s books. Sarkisian and Cohen have written and lectured on illustration art at UCLA, Harvard University, and schools and museums throughout North America. In 2014, they founded the online gallery Art Kandy and continue to showcase classic and contemporary illustrators to new generations. 

Throughout the exhibition, the Alexandria Museum of Art will be partnering with the Rapides Parish Library, Louisiana State UniversityAlexandria, and other community partners to offer a variety of events emphasizing the importance and interrelation of literacy and art. These events will include monthly story time, a panel discussion on banned books, and a concert featuring music from some favorite children’s books-turned-movies, among others. Childhood Classics: 100 Years of Children’s Book Illustration from the Art Kandy Collection will be on display at the Alexandria Museum of Art from March 6 through June 20, 2020.