The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Mass., the only full-scale museum of its kind in the U.S., kicked off a year-long celebration of its 10th anniversary earlier this month with a weekend of events around the opening of the first major exhibition of work from its permanent collection, Iconic Images: Ten Years of Collecting, on display through February 24, 2013.
In addition to a talk by museum co-founders Eric and Barbara Carle, the museum held a Book Signing Bash with artists featured in the show, including Nancy Ekholm Burkert, Barbara McClintock, Barry Moser, Jerry Pinkney, and Paul O. Zelinsky. Eric Carle, Tony DiTerlizzi, and comic book artist Peter Laird – co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – participated in a Doodles for Dollars fundraiser by signing and doodling in a book or on a piece of paper suitable for framing at $10 per doodle. And a bronze maquette, or scale model, of the Very Hungry Caterpillar by sculptor Nancy Schön, best known for her Make Way for Ducklings sculpture at the Boston Public Garden in Boston, Mass., was prominently displayed. Schön is selling custom maquettes for $10,000 apiece throughout the anniversary year, with all profits going to the museum.
“Our heads are spinning that 10 years have passed so quickly,” museum executive director Alexandra Kennedy told PW. “We feel like we’ve had a really exciting first 10 years, and it’s an exciting time for children’s books.” Going forward, she would like to see the museum grow its presence both here and abroad. Last summer the museum mounted a large exhibition in South Korea. In March, the Carle will sponsor a study tour of the Early Childhood Centers of Pistoia, Italy, with museum educators, and in June it will hold a children’s book festival in Amherst to celebrate both the museum and its community of artists. Later that month the museum will mount a retrospective of Mo Willems’s work, Seriously Silly: A Decade of Art and Whimsy by Mo Willems.
In a q&a during the kickoff celebration, Eric Carle said that his goal for the museum’s next 10 years is “to continue to thrive and grow; to be a place where the art of the picture book will be enjoyed and studied by visitors.” He added, “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.”