Sunday, October 30, 2011


The Original Art Show, the annual exhibition of original art from children's books, held its opening on Thursday evening, October 28th, at the Society of Illustrators in New York City---and I was there.  The Society was founded in 1909, well before there was a separate category known as "Children's Book Illustration."
The Society is housed in a lovely old building on East 63rd Street---you can read more about it and its history at the Society's website,  
My book BEDTIME BUNNIES was part of the show, a very great honor for me.  My friend and I arrived at the Society in the rain around 6 p.m. along with other enthusiasts---checked our coats---got our tickets and our name tags---and waded into the crowded room.  I have to confess that the first thing I did was find my own piece of art, and have a photo taken of it with me, its beaming creator. 
After that, I was able to concentrate on looking at the entire exhibition.  It was amazing to be able to see, hanging in two rooms, 150 examples of the best of children's book illustration today.  I wished I had planned one more day in the city, so that I could have come back the next day to view the show more thoroughly.  It was equally amazing to mingle with all the illustrators, art directors, editors, and publishers who were responsible for the art.  The energy in the room was palpable, almost over the top.  One of the speakers proclaimed, "Some  predict that picture books are on their way out.  But looking around this room, I'd say:  We aren't going anywhere!"  The room roared back in confirmation.
      The Original Art awards medals annually.  This year the gold medal was given to Rosalyn Schanzer  The two silver medals were given to Kadir Nelson   and Lane Smith  A lifetime award was also given, to Tomi Ungerer  The posthumous lifetime award was given to Robert McCloskey  Since I have always admired both Ungerer and McCloskey from the very beginning of my artistic career, I was especially pleased to be present as those awards were announced.  
The gallery was now closing---but the evening was not over.  My friend and I climbed the stairs to the Society's dining room, where we were served a shockingly decadent and delicious meal.  Executive Chef Quelbyn Sanchez is a real artist with food, and the Society---and all the rest of us---are lucky to have him there. 
      And so ended a wonderful evening, an evening that was exciting...inspiring...and filling.