Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney

FLINT — The Flint Institute of Arts will present a retrospective exhibition of illustrations by Jerry Pinkney, one of the most highly acclaimed children’s book artists in America. Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney was organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and will be at the FIA from Jan. 22–April 15.

Pinkney has illustrated more than 100 books and is the recipient of numerous awards including a Caldecott Medal, the Coretta Scott King Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Illustrators, New York. In addition to his work as an illustrator of children’s picture books, the artist was commissioned by the U.S. Postal Service to create a series of 12 Black Heritage portraits for postage stamps in 1978. His illustrations have also appeared in National Geographic magazine and the Reader’s Digest.

The exhibition chronicles a 50-year journey by the artist. Born in Philadelphia, Pinkney grew up with a strong oral tradition and was inspired by the telling of such classic folk tales as the Adventures of Brer Rabbit, Uncle Remus and The Ugly Duckling. Pinkney studied design at The Philadelphia School of Art and developed an interest in the art of illustration.

After first encountering the work of Jacob Lawrence, Horace Pippin and Romare Bearden and later the imagery of N.C.Wyeth and Howard Pyle, he began illuminating picture books. His drawings and watercolors reflect a broad range of imagery that include both the African American experience and a love of historical fiction.

Jan. 21 beginning at 6 p.m., the FIA will host a Community Gala featuring an illustrated presentation by Mr. Pinkney discussing the African American experience and the wonders of classic literature with a vocal accompaniment by Gloria Pinkney. Following the program the exhibition will open with live music and strolling supper. Admission is $35 for FIA Members and $50 for Non-Members (includes a six-month Free Family Membership).

Jan. 22 at 2 p.m. there will be a free family book reading and signing. Pinkney begins each project with the question, “Is this story worth telling?” Learn how the artist creates and sketches his wonderful books.

The Flint Institute of Arts is located just two blocks off I-475 in the Flint Cultural Center between the University of Michigan-Flint and Mott Community College. Museum hours are Mon–Wed & Fri 12p–5p; Thu 12p–9p; Sat 10a–5p and Sun 1p-5p. There is a charge for non-members to the exhibition. Saturdays are Target Free.

Details: Call www.flintarts.org, or call 810- 234-1695. — G.G.

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