Young at Art: A Selection of Caldecott Book Illustrations is a Program of ExhibitsUSA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance with Arkansas Arts Council and The National Endowment for the Arts.
Opening to the public on May 15, 2018, Wildwood Park for the Arts’ Art in the Park exhibition program welcomes Young at Art: A Selection of Caldecott Book Illustrations to The Galleries at Wildwood. The exhibit features original art from such books as Chris Van Allsburg’s Polar Express and Jumanji, Leonard Weisgard’s Mother Hen, Elizabeth O. Jones’ Prayer for a Child, Maurice Sendak’s Memoirs of a Mouse, Arnold Lobel’s Frog & Toad All Year, and Paul Goble’s The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses. The exhibit, Young at Art, is part of ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance. Wildwood is the exhibit’s first stop on a twelve-state tour.
Through picture books, readers embark on visual journeys that engage all of the senses and encourage curious, imaginative, and thoughtful interactions with the world around them. Since 1938, the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, has recognized the significant impact of art on early reading experiences, awarding the Caldecott Medal for excellence in this area. Named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott, the prestigious and highly coveted medal is awarded annually to the illustrator of the most distinguished American picture book for children. The exhibition Young at Art: A Selection of Caldecott Book Illustrations includes original illustrations from Caldecott Medal recipients and from “runner-up” Honor books, as well as other illustrations by award-winning artists.
This exhibition of works from Wichita Falls Museum of Art’s permanent collection celebrates the vision and talent of twenty-eight award-winning artists, including the first Caldecott Award recipient Dorothy P. Lathrop (1938), two-time winner Chris Van Allsburg (1982, 1986), and Maurice Sendak (1964), whose work Where the Wild Things Are, like Van Allsburg’s Jumanji and The Polar Express, was adapted for the big screen. These illustrations are widely recognized not only as artistic classics in children’s literature but also as the source of countless beloved memories for the young and young at heart.
More than mere relics of the carefree days of youth, picture books occupy a unique place in our cultural landscape. For generations, images have worked alongside text, not in any subordinate manner, but as crucial components in the construction and exploration of story worlds. The transformative power of picture books is undeniable for the many ways young readers are invited to and enthusiastically participate in reading.
The Caldecott Collection of Children’s Book Illustrations is part of the permanent collection of the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Texas. The museum has collected children’s book illustrations for more than fifty years.
Curated by Danny Bills, curator of collections and exhibitions at Wichita Falls Museum of Art, and organized by Wichita Falls Museum of Art at Midwestern State University, Young at Art is part of ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance.