October 22, 2012

Eric Carle Museum Celebrates Ten Years

[October 2012, Amherst] The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA, kicks off its 10th anniversary celebration November 10 and 11 with the Museum’s first major permanent collection exhibition, Iconic Images: 10 Years of Collecting for The Carle. The opening weekend will also feature a special installation of festive stars created by local picture book artists, book signings, and a bookshop boutique for holiday shopping.

“This is a major milestone for our young Museum, which has quickly become the premier center for picture books, both nationally and internationally,” says Executive Director Alexandra Kennedy. “We are eager to highlight our important permanent collection and our extensive educational reach, and to thank the many supporters who have made our successes possible.”
November 10: “Starry Night” Member Event
Museum members are invited to “Starry Night” on November 10th at 6 pm to view the 100-plus illustrations in Iconic Images: Ten Years of Collecting for The Carle. The exhibition includes art from the masters of the past, including: Ludwig Bemelmans, Leo Lionni, Arnold Lobel, Maurice Sendak, William Steig, and Margot Zemach, as well as the great artists of our day, including Ashley Bryan, Eric Carle, Jules Feiffer, Petra Mathers, Jerry Pinkney, Rosemary Wells, and Mo Willems. Many iconic characters will be represented, including Babar, Shrek, Frog and Toad, and Madeline.

Museum co-founders Eric and Barbara Carle will make remarks, and a number of the artists featured in the exhibition will be special guests and present in the galleries to talk about their art, including Kathryn Brown, Nancy Ekholm Burkert, Eric Carle, Etienne Delessert, Tony DiTerlizzi, Jane Dyer, Barbara McClintock, Wendell Minor, Jerry Pinkney, and Paul O. Zelinsky.

In the spirit of the holidays, the Museum’s Great Hall will shine inside and out, with white lights in the orchard and an installation of more than a dozen stars created by local picture book artists of the Valley. Artists have chosen a range of materials for their stars, including paper, papier-mâché, foam core, wire, found objects, and photographs. Participating artists include Kathryn Brown, Eric Carle, David Hyde Costello, Diane deGroat, Jane Dyer, Scott M. Fischer, Linda Graves, John Steven Gurney, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Jeff Mack, Bob Marstall, Lauren Mills, Shelley Rotner, Greg Ruth, and Astrid Sheckels.

Guests can get a head-start on their holiday shopping at The Carle Bookshop, which will offer an exclusive collection of hard-to-find Eric Carle products from all around the world, including bento boxes from Japan, baby clothes from the United Kingdom, and elegant toys and puzzles from Germany.

Bronze Caterpillar Sculpture Commemorates Anniversary
To commemorate the Museum’s tenth anniversary, renowned sculptor Nancy Schön has created a bronze maquette of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” which will be on display in The Great Hall. Best known for her “Make Way for Ducklings” sculpture at the Boston Public Garden, Schön is offering the custom maquettes for sale for $10,000 apiece throughout the Museum’s anniversary year, contributing all profits to The Carle. Schön is offering a tour of her Newton, MA studio to those who purchase a maquette.

November 11: Book Signing Bash and Doodles for Dollars
The anniversary celebration continues on Sunday, November 11th when The Carle invites the public to a special Book Signing Bash with artists featured in Iconic Images. Participating artists include Kathryn Brown, Nancy Ekholm Burkert, Bruce Degen, Etienne Delessert, Jane Dyer, Mordicai Gerstein, Barbara McClintock, Charles Santore, and Paul O. Zelinsky. So our guests can also own a piece of history, The Carle is holding a special “Doodles for Dollars” fundraiser with three artists: picture book artists Eric Carle and Tony DiTerlizzi and comic book artist Peter Laird, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Each artist will sign and doodle either a book or a paper suitable for framing. The doodles ($10 apiece) are limited to one per artist per guest. Each artist will create 100 doodles.

In addition to the book signings and doodles, the South Hadley Children’s Chorus will perform at 1:00 pm; Chief Curator Nick Clark will give guided tours of Iconic Images; and several artists will conduct storytimes in the Reading Library.

Throughout the weekend, guests will have the opportunity to see the exhibitions Beyond Books: The Independent Art of Eric Carle and Our British Cousins: The Magical Art of Maisy and Friends featuring the colorful work of popular British artist Lucy Cousins. In the spirit of growth and transformation, the Museum will offer photo opportunities with a large-scale version of the famous Eric Carle butterfly as well as butterfly temporary tattoos to replace its signature Caterpillar tattoos.

The November 10 member event is free for members. Tickets are limited.  Reservations are required.   All November 11 public events are free with Museum admission. For a complete schedule, see carlemuseum.org.  For a Q & A with Eric Carle, see below.

Support for the Beyond Books exhibition has been generously provided by Peter and Helen Bing; support for the Maisy and Friends exhibition has been generously provided by Candlewick Press.

A Question and Answer with Author/Illustrator Eric Carle

1) What inspired you and Barbara to create the Museum 10 years ago?

EC: In the early 1980s, my wife Barbara and I traveled to Japan and visited several picture book museums there. Inspired, we decided to create a museum in the United States that would also honor picture books, for their importance as works of art and for their educational value. And so, in 2002, 10 years ago, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, opened its doors in Amherst, MA. 

My wife Barbara and I share a vision of “giving back.” And from this feeling and from our love for picture books and wanting others to experience the wonder and joy that we felt when we looked at books, came the impetus to build the Museum. It came from a shared amazement as we looked at a framed original illustration versus the printed book, and watching others look carefully and begin to inquire about the process, technique and the feelings a single illustration evoked. It came from the joy we felt when we visited other artists in their studios and when we looked and talked with them about their work.  It came from an absolute conviction that picture book art is precious and deserves a home of its own and an honored place among the arts.

2) What do you feel has been The Carle’s most important contribution to the field of art and literature?    
EC: Well, it is the first Museum of picture book art on this scale in this country and I think the presence the Museum now has is raising up the work of illustrators from all around the world and saying, this is art, this is important and meaningful, for people of all ages. And for some young visitors, it is their first visit to a Museum. And so it is an introduction to that experience of visiting a Museum, learning to appreciate art and books, too.

3) What has surprised you most about the Museum?  What did you and Barbara not foresee 10 years ago?

EC: Even today when I go to the Museum I’m amazed at the size of the building.  And the richness of it, and the beauty of it.  The main hall, with its big windows, the light coming in. I mean, it’s light like in my childhood classroom in Syracuse. Big windows, light shining in, color, paintbrushes in the studio. But one thing we had not anticipated was how the Museum would become a kind of home for the art. This has just happened on its own — a number of picture book artists and their families have offered their work to us for the permanent collection. For instance, we have a wonderful collection of Leo Lionni’s books. Now the Museum’s collection includes works of William Steig, Maurice Sendak, Ludwig Bemelman and my own original art. 

4) What is your dream for the Museum in the next ten years? 

EC: To continue to thrive and grow; to be a place where the art of the picture book will be enjoyed and studied by visitors for many years to come. We hope the Museum will continue to be a place of learning, for visitors and educators, art teachers and students; a cultural and educational center and academic resource.

The mission of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, a non-profit organization in Amherst, MA, is to inspire a love of art and reading through picture books. The only full-scale museum of its kind in the United States, The Carle collects, preserves, presents, and celebrates picture books and picture book illustrations from around the world. In addition to underscoring the cultural, historical, and artistic significance of picture books and their art form, The Carle offers educational programs that provide a foundation for arts integration and literacy.

Eric and Barbara Carle founded the Museum in November 2002. Eric Carle is the renowned author and illustrator of more than 70 books, including the 1969 classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Since opening, the 40,000 square foot facility has served more than half a million visitors, including 30,000 schoolchildren. Its extensive resources include a collection of more than 10,000 picture book illustrations, three art galleries, an art studio, a theater, picture book and scholarly libraries, and educational programs for families, scholars, educators, and schoolchildren. Educational offerings include professional training for educators around the country. Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 pm, Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday noon to 5 pm. Open Mondays in July and August and during MA school vacation weeks. Admission is $9 for adults, $6 for children under 18, and $22.50 for a family of four. For further information and directions, call 413-658-1100 or visit the Museum’s website at www.carlemuseum.org.