The 2018 Morgan Book Project Awards: Illustrated Books by Exceptional Young People

d31c94afe21a5e639252b78f_1100x734.jpgNew York, NY — Known for exhibiting book designs by artists ranging from the Master of Catherine of Cleves to Andy Warhol, the Morgan Library & Museum will now showcase extraordinary works by New York City public school students. The month-long exhibition Inspiring and Illuminating the Classroom, on view in the lobby of the Morgan's Gilbert Court, is the culmination of the Morgan Book Project, a unique collaboration between the Morgan and NYC Department of Education. Now in its ninth year, this free and innovative program guides third to twelfth grade students as they write, illustrate, and bind their own illuminated manuscripts throughout the school year. 

On May 11, 2018, the museum will host the Morgan Book Project Awards Ceremony, honoring the 64 students whose exemplary works have been selected by jury of book professionals, artists, and school librarians. During the award ceremony in Gilder Lehrman Hall, students have the opportunity to display and celebrate their work in the presence of their teachers, principals, and families. 

By sparking interest in the book arts, NYC public school teachers and Morgan educators hope to inspire the next generation of artists, illustrators, and writers from diverse backgrounds. From October through March, students learn to apply traditional book art techniques and language arts skills to their own creative work. Throughout the process of book making, students draw upon the Morgan’s rich collection of illuminated manuscripts and learn about world history for inspiration. They also have the opportunity to make their own paint with traditional pigment sources such as malachite, saffron, insects, to adorn their work with a 22 karat gold leaf, and to use professional grade watercolor and Italian marble paper.

This year’s ceremony marks many important milestones for the program. In 2017, the Morgan became one of the first institutions to gain the status of official Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) sponsor. In the past year, it expanded its high school curriculum to reach ninth, tenth, twelfth grade students as well, increasing participation in the 17-18 school year. After modifying its resources and schedule to assist teachers of students with special needs, the Morgan Book Project has also seen the highest participation by students with diverse needs and abilities in the project’s history. More recently, the Morgan tailored the learning experiences to the vast numbers of New York City pupils of non-Western backgrounds and installed multilingual educators in Title 1 participating schools.

“The Morgan Book Project is in many ways a pillar of our arts education initiatives,” said Colin B. Bailey, Director of the Morgan Library & Museum. “Students have the opportunity to not only see great works of art and literature up close, but also experience the creative process firsthand and develop their own gifts. It is wonderful to see such inspired engagement and enthusiasm for the book arts among school children, and we are proud to celebrate their accomplishments at the museum.” 

The Morgan Book Project is made possible by a generous grant from Marina Kellen French and the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation.

Image: Installation of student works at the Awards Ceremony. Photography by Emily Korn.

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