MUSCATINE – Sometimes even seemingly simple art can touch both children and adults with its creativity as well as humor.
Next week, the Muscatine Art Center will open its new exhibition, “Elephant & Piggie in WE ARE ART!” which will be available to view from November 3, 2022 to February 5, 2023.
“We’re thrilled to have the exhibit. It’s always exciting to have a kid-centric exhibit to show that we love bringing things for kids, and it’ll be fun to see their little faces light up when ‘they’ll recognize some of the drawings,’ program coordinator Katy Loos said.
“We work very hard to try to balance subject matter and audiences who we think will find the various exhibits appealing,” added director Melanie Alexander, “and so we were looking for an exhibit that would appeal to a family audience. Haven’t had an exhibition of children’s book authors and illustrators in a while either.
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Although the Art Center had several choices available for this most recent exhibit, in reviewing the various options available, Alexander explained that the staff decided to go with Mo Willems. “We thought Elephant and Piggie looked great fun, and (Willems) is now one of the children’s book illustrators that a lot of people know and recognize his work.”
Focusing on Willems’ work, this exhibition will feature artwork from all 25 Elephant & Piggie books as well as some early sketches from the collection and size charts by Willems, giving guests a “behind the scenes” look.
“With books, readers see them as finished products. So seeing the characters hand drawn by the illustrator is really interesting. They can kind of see the stages of making the book, and I think people will appreciate the humor in some of the illustrations as well,” Alexander said.
Those who have read Willems’ stories know that they are funny and heartfelt, focusing on themes of friendship despite the differences one can sometimes find in people’s personalities, while teaching young readers things such as manners and empathy.
To help launch and celebrate this exhibition, the Muscatine Art Center will be hosting a Family Day from 1:30-3:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 5. In addition to seeing all of the pieces that are included in the “Elephant and Pig” exhibit, guests will also have the opportunity to enjoy refreshments, story time, and even arts and crafts activities.
“We periodically have family days and we try to connect them to the family exhibits we had, so it only makes sense that we would have another family day to go along with Elephant & Piggie,” Loos said.
Family Day is part of this year’s Muscat Art Week, which runs from November 4-12. Other events that can be enjoyed during Art Week include the Muscatine Music & Independent Film Festival on November 4-5, National STEAM Day at West Hill Cakery on November 8, a concert featuring Adam Bruce and April Lynn on November 12 at the River’s Edge Gallery and the second Masterworks concert of the Muscatine Symphony Orchestra’s 2022 season also on November 12 at the Wesley United Methodist Church.