Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney on view November 13, 2010 through May 30, 2011

Artist Jerry Pinkney in his studio, 2008. Photo by Thomas Kristich. All rights reserved.


Press images available upon request

Following the honor of receiving the 2010 Caldecott Medal for his acclaimed children’s picture book The Lion & the Mouse, artist Jerry Pinkney will receive further recognition this fall with the first major overview of his extraordinary and influential career, which spans 50 years; Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney will be on view at Norman Rockwell Museum from November 13, 2010, through May 30, 2011.

“This new exhibition examines how one very talented artist managed to overcome obstacles and create powerful stories that have literally become the country’s collective memory,” says Norman Rockwell Museum Deputy Director Stephanie Plunkett, who co-curated the exhibition. “Jerry Pinkney is the master of the American picture book,” says Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies curator Dr. Joyce K. Schiller. “He has managed to bring historical events to life through the magic of his beautiful and sometimes fanciful imagery.”

Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney presents an overview of the artist’s long and varied career as a designer and illustrator. The exhibition touches on such deeply felt personal and cultural themes as the African-American experience; the wonders of classic literature; and the wisdom in well-loved folk tales. A belief in the ability of images to speak about and to humanity is at the artist’s core, and the works featured in the exhibition celebrate both small yet extraordinary moments, as well as significant historical events, reflecting the transformative power of visual storytelling in our lives. The exhibition is made possible, in part, with generous support from Penguin Group, Inc. and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, a division of The Hachette Group.

More than 140 of Mr. Pinkney’s luminous watercolors illustrations will be on full display, and include work from such classic picture books as A Patchwork Quilt (1985), Home Place (1990), John Henry (1994), Minty: A Story of a Young Harriet Tubman (1996), Black Cowboy, Wild Horses (1998), The Little Match Girl (1999), Uncle Remus: The Complete Tales (1999), The Old African (2005), The Lion & the Mouse (2009), and Sweethearts of Rhythm (2009).

Illustrated commissions for such clients as music artists, National Geographic, and The African Burial Ground Interpretive Center will also be on view, as well as a collection of the artist’s supplies, personal photos, book awards, and video and interactive displays, which further highlight the artist’s career and inspirations.

“I feel I’ve been helping to establish a new cultural understanding,” says Pinkney. “As I learn about a new subject, I in turn open the door for other to also learn.”

About Jerry Pinkney

A native of Philadelphia, Jerry Pinkney studied at the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts) where, in 1992 he received the Alumni Award.  He has been illustrating children’s books since 1964, and has produced illustrations for over one hundred titles. He has been the recipient of a Caldecott Medal for the recent book The Lion & The Mouse, as well as five Caldecott Honor Medals, five Coretta Scott King Awards, four Coretta Scott King Honor Awards, and many other accolades. His books have been translated into 16 languages, and published in 14 different countries. He received an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University in 2003, and an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from Pennsylvania College of Art and Design in 2010. Pinkney was a United States nominee for the 1997 Hans Christian Andersen Illustration Medal, and has been awarded four gold medals, four silver medals, the Hamilton King Award, five New York Times Ten Best Illustrated Books awards, and in 2006 the Original Art’s Lifetime Achievement Award from The Society of Illustrators, New York, New York.

In addition to his work in children’s books, the artist has illustrated for a wide variety of clients, including the United States Postal Service, National Park Service, and National Geographic. Mr. Pinkney was appointed to serve on the United States Postal Services Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee (1982-1992), and in 2001 was invited by First Lady Laura Bush to illustrate and design the White House Christmas Program.  He has held professorships teaching art at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York; the University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware; and the University of Buffalo, Buffalo, New York. In 2003, Pinkney was appointed to the National Council of the Arts (2003-2009). His art can be found in the permanent collections at the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, the Delaware Art Museum and the Brandywine River Art Museum. A current trustee for the Katonah Museum of Art, the artist also served on the board of trustees of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Pinkney has had over 30 one-man retrospectives at venues ranging from the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, to the California African American Museum, Los Angeles, California. He has also exhibited in over one hundred group shows in the USA, Japan, Russia, Italy, Taiwan and Jamaica. The artist lives with his wife, author Gloria Jean, in Westchester County, New York. Learn more by visiting his website: www.jerrypinkneystudio.com

Exhibition Related Programs and Events

Saturday, November 13, 6 to 8 p.m.

Experience the art of Jerry Pinkney, a master illustrator whose powerful, heart-warming stories reflect personal and cultural themes, and explore the American experience in words and pictures. The artist’s luminous paintings and studies for books, historical commissions, and advertising will be on view. Jerry Pinkney has been awarded numerous professional accolades, including the prestigious Caldecott Medal for The Lion & the Mouse in 2010.

The festivities will include complimentary hors d’oeuvres and beverages, and a cash wine bar. The event is free for Museum members and children 18 and under. Other guests are welcome for $20. RSVP by November 8 by calling 877.861.2299.

Meet the Artist: An Exhibition Preview for Educators and Librarians
Friday, November 12, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Explore curriculum connections during a gallery walk and talk with Jerry Pinkney, who will share personal commentary on his art. Refreshments will be served. Pre-registration is requested; $6, free for Museum members.

Picture This! A Family Festival with Jerry Pinkney
Sunday, November 14, 1 to 4 p.m.

Meet Caldecott-winning artist Jerry Pinkney during this lively family event filled with art making, gallery tours, dramatic readings courtesy of actress Anne Undeland, and a special presentation and book signing by the artist. Free for members and children 18 and under; adults free with regular Museum admission.

Hear the Call: Storytelling for Families
Saturday, November 27, 4 p.m.

With music, humor, and mystery, renowned storyteller Eshu Bumpus will share multicultural stories.

Tea & Talk: Happy Birthday, Jerry Pinkney!
Wednesday, December 22, 2:30 p.m.

Celebrate Jerry Pinkney’s birthday with an inside look at the artist’s creative and technical process. Curator Stephanie Plunkett will offer insights into the illustrator’s extraordinary 50 year career; treats will follow. Free with Museum admission.

Page Turners! Exploring the Art of the Picture Book
Sunday through Friday, December 26 to 31,  1 to 5 p.m.

Drop-in family workshops will explore the art of Jerry Pinkney by creating unique picture books that celebrate favorite folk and fairy tales, personal stories, and real and fictional heroes. Free with Museum admission. Children 18 and under free.

Witnessing History: A Performance Series
Saturdays, January 29, February 26, and March 26, 5:30 p.m.

Three powerful performances that bring contributions of African American freedom fighters to life, including Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and Elizabeth Freeman (also known as Mum Bett). $10, $6 for Museum members and children 18 and under.

American Folk Heroes
Monday through Friday, February 21 through 25, 1 to 3 p.m.
Discover the art of Jerry Pinkney and Norman Rockwell through interactive gallery tours and a wide range of creative projects that celebrate the heroic qualities in us all. Children ages six and up are invited to take one or take them all! $6, $4 for Museum members.

Meet the Pinkneys: A Family Tradition in Art
Sunday, May 1, 1 p.m.

What inspires creativity? Award-winning illustrator Jerry Pinkney and wife Gloria Jean Pinkney, a celebrated author, discuss the roots and nurturing of the artistic impulse with their accomplished family, which includes children’s book illustrator Brian Pinkney and author/editor Andrea Davis Pinkney. Free with Museum admission.

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