What a week! On Tuesday I visited with Atlanta International School via Skype. Technology is mind boggling. It was my first time using video Skype with anyone, let alone a classroom of youngsters. The video is pretty long in cyber time (a whole 10 min.), but is pretty interesting for those interested in conducting Skype visits. Thanks to Morris Gardner with the Auburn Avenue Research Library and Sharon Hermann, media specialist, at Atlanta International School for sharing this video!
And a special CONGRATULATIONS to my Visual Journalism class for being featured in this week’s edition of Baltimore City Paper. One of my sophomores, James Harper, even made the cover! Go MICA!!
What a whirlwind! Yesterday I visited students at Barrow Elementary School in Athens, GA. We had a great time. The kids even convinced me to draw on the spot for them! Here are a few pics from the event. Thanks so much to NBAF, Barrow Elementary staff and students, and Morris Gardner at the Auburn Avenue Research Library for such a wonderful time!
drawing Jermaine, who likes bikes!
Andy Plemmons, Barrow Elementary's awesome media specialist
Pre-K, Kindergarteners, and First graders at Barrow
Wow, it’s been a minute since I’ve blogged, but I’ve been busy, busy, busy. WHITE WATER debuts in 3 days! I’ve been working on a promotional material for that, including a shiny new trailer for my youtube channel (coming soon) . School starts in a week and I’ve been obsessing over my syllabi, meeting people on campus, and getting to know more and more about my new city (which I adore). It’s going to be a great year! In awesome news – The Ashley Bryan Traveling Exhibit of Illustrated Africana Children’s Literature is now on display in the Barrow Media Center! This exhibit is provided through a collaboration between the Auburn Avenue Research Library and the National Black Arts Festival. The exhibit will be at Barrow until September 27th when I will visit the school. To support the exhibit, Barrow has copies of six books that accompany the exhibit, a curriculum guide to inspire lessons using the texts and artwork, and a school-wide subscription to Literacyhead. Woot Woot! You can read more about Barrow and the exhibit here:
AMAZING. Sadly, I wasn’t able to buy a copy of the catalog because the gift shop was closed…on a Saturday afternoon *sigh*. It’s worth another trip to collect the catalog and see the museum again. There’s so much to take in from the permanent collection. If you are visiting B-more, I highly recommend seeing the exhibit. A huge THANK YOU to Dr. Leslie King-Hammond for recommending this.
Wow, what a whirlwind! I was in Atlanta last week to run the Peachtree Roadrace (which I ended up sleeping through) and at “Words and Color: A Lifetime of Discovery”, to receive the Ashley Bryan Children’s Literature Award for Illustration!!!
the gorgeous sun-catching star
The award reads: “Contribution of Excellence to Preserve the Legacy of Ashley Bryan”
Ashley Bryan Children's Literature Illustrator Award 2011
It was so great to accept this award in my hometown so that most of my family and friends could be in attendance. Many of them had never heard me talk about my work in a professional setting. THANK YOU goes out to Dr. Collette Hopkins, Director of Education and Public Programs for the NBAF and Morris Gardner, Program Division Manager for Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, for embracing me and my work, and a huge heartfelt THANK YOU with love to Ashley Bryan for bestowing such a wonderful and personal honor upon me. Ashley is magic.
One more thing got scratched from my “to do” list yesterday. I hung my show, “Living the Dream, the art of Shadra Strickland” at the Auburn Avenue Research Library. A HUGE “thank you” goes out to Dorothea S., Morris G., and Morgan G. for helping with the hanging and lending me their eyes and opinions. The show will be up throughout July.
There will be an Artist’s Talk on Thursday, July 7, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. Participating in the conversation will be award winning author, Carmen Deedy and legendary author/illustrator, Ashley Bryan.
I’d also like to thank Elizabeth Dulemba and SCBWI Southern Breeze for allowing me to be a part of this year’s show at Little Shop of Stories in Decatur! It’s always such a pleasure. I showed original art from HURRICANES and WHITE WATER. Some lucky patron even bought my only advance copy of WHITE WATER! I was surprised because the book doesn’t come out until August, but I learned that if there’s a barcode present, anything can be sold. Originally mortified, I put everything in perspective (and alerted my publisher). In the end I’m flattered~ Hopefully it’s a good sign of things to come for this book
I check my blog stats weekly to see which pages get the most traffic here on “Living the Dream”. The most viewed page on my site is Bridal Shower Drawing. Go figure…. It gets hits everyday without fail. All you maids of honor out there looking for that special bridal shower invitation, thanks for checking me out~ Good luck with your planning!
On the work side of things, I visited the Central Branch of the Atlanta-Fulton County Library this week for their summer reading kickoff. I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. C. Hope, the children’s librarian there along with Dr. Hopkins, the director of the National Black Arts Festival. The big treat for me was seeing my first bound copy of A PLACE WHERE HURRICANES HAPPEN! It’s already making it’s way to libraries . I had only seen the F&Gs prior to this visit, so to actually hold the bound, color corrected book was a huge and wonderful surprise. Looking forward to becoming more involved with my hometown libraries~
(Taeeun Yoo, this year’s new illustrator and Tonya Hegamin, this year’s new author)
(Taeeun Yoo and Dr. Deborah Pope, Executive Director of the
Ezra Jack Keats Foundation)
(the crew – Paul, Lauren, Bean, me, Tae, Injoo, and Choi)
Last week I spent a few days in NY celebrating one of my best friends, Taeeun Yoo as she accepted this year’s Ezra Jack Keat’s Award. It was a grand reunion and a fabulous night! Below is Tae’s charming acceptance speech.
April is going out with a bang! Last week I was the featured artist at the 23rd Annual Conference on Children’s Literature as a part of the Ashley Bryan Art Series. I was hosted by the wonderful librarians of the Broward County Library, specifically the African American Research Library and Cultural Center. If you are in Ft. Lauderdale please visit the Center. It is a beautiful library that houses many wonderful special collections. For example, there is the Alex Haley Collection (includes eight unfinished manuscripts by the author, scenes from Juffure in the Gambia, West Africa, where Kunta Kinte was born, cast photos from Roots, letters from prominent individuals and more), the Esther Rolle Collection (the collection consists of photographs, plaques, newspaper articles about her success as an actress. The collection also includes a painting of Esther Rolle, a dress worn by Rolle and awards, such as the NAACP Eight Image Award and Emmy Award- there’s an “actual” Emmy on display in the library! There the John & Vivian Hewitt Hatian Art and Book Collection (consists of books, artifacts, ephemera, sculptures, and paintings focusing on Haiti) and of course, there is the growing Ashley Bryan Art Collection (The ABAC is a collection of artwork of illustrators of African descent.)
The work still turns, so while I am in the big apple, I will be meeting one of my publishers to discuss an upcoming project (one that I can barely contain my excitement for, btw) and will be spending time in the NYPL working on revisions for another dummy. Then it’s back to NY to wrap up the last paintings for WHITE WATER and a school visit next week.
If anyone had told me two years ago that I would be challenged with balancing multiple projects and appearances, I don’t think I would have believed them.
This Wednesday I will head to Ft. Lauderdale, FL, to speak at the 23rd Annual Art Conference on Children’s Literature and the 2010 Ashley Bryan Art Series. My library talk is titled, “Through the Storm: Framing Social Issues in Books for Children”. I will discuss the visual devices used in my upcoming picturebook, A PLACE WHERE HURRICANES HAPPEN along with BIRD, and how artists use symbolism and visual metaphor to communicate to children about the tough issues in their world and help them negotiate trauma. I will go in depth on my research process for my books, and the choices I made in adding to the allegory of Hurricane Katrina. If you are in Florida please stop by to join the conversation.
At that time I will unveil a piece of original art that will be permanently housed in the Ashley Bryan Art Collection as a part of the library system’s research archive.
From the web site: The “Ashley Bryan Project” is the vision of Mr. Bryan with a two-fold mission: 1) to have a home where original works of art, including drafts, manuscripts, books, sketches, illustrations and other materials by children’s authors and artists are deposited and 2) to encourage research by authors, artists and others who are interested in promoting children’s literature and learning. With the intent of increasing children’s interest in and appreciation of literature and art, Ashley Bryan has challenged the Broward County African-American Research Library and Cultural Center (AARLCC) to create programs that make his vision a reality.
The AARLCC answers that challenge with two programs: “The Ashley Bryan Art Collection”
(ABAC) and the “Ashley Bryan Art Series Conference” (ABASC).
The ABAC is a collection of artwork of illustrators of African descent. The ABAC has as its core: eight original pieces by Ashley Bryan that were donated to the AARLCC by Dr. Henrietta M. Smith at the first ABASC in 2003. The AARLCC seeks to acquire and preserve papers and other materials from children’s authors, artists and illustrators and will seek donated works appropriate for addition to the collection. The artists’ works are deposited in the archives of the AARLCC and are available to researchers, as well as for exhibitions. These materials will eventually be digitized and made accessible online for study by researchers globally. Other materials will be used for continuing education and program purposes.
The Ashley Bryan Art Series Conference (ABASC) is a continuing education series for librarians, teachers and literacy professionals, and others engaged in the use of children’s literature to improve reading appreciation and skills. The ABASC provides resources for teachers, scholars, writers and artists who want to study the lives and works of authors and illustrators and their creative philosophies. Books written and/or illustrated by persons of African descent are promoted during this conference. Attendees are also introduced to African-centered art forms, including but not limited to, storytelling, music, song, dance and crafts.
Last week I was hosted by Mrs. Chrystal Carr-Jeter and the Cleveland Public Library in conjunction with BloomsburyUSA, for the opening of OUR CHILDREN CAN SOAR, a traveling exhibition the 12 original paintings from the book. If you are in Cleveland, please stop by to see the work. Paintings will be on display until February 13, 2010. What an amazing time! I was given the royal treatment from the time I arrived to the time of my departure.
I arrived Thursday morning and once settled in, was whisked away to my first speaking engagement at Cleveland School of the Arts. It was a combined presentation with about 100 kids or so in the school cafeteria. We had a great time talking about art, their enthusiasm for the arts and reading, and how to make good choices from the examples they read about in books.
Exchange of the day
AWESOME KID A: “Where can we find your books?” ME: “You can find my books in all major bookstores and online booksellers” AWESOME KID B: “And in the library!” ME: “YES! Especially in the library!!!”
AWESOME KIDS GROUP SHOT (click to enlarge)
Next we were off to the Martin Luther King branch of CPL where I shared ideas with librarians about how to show the exhibition, do a sound check, and get ready for the reception! I met more great librarians and was inspired by local Cleveland talent. Huge props to ChiefRocka Q-Nice, our spoken word artist of the evening, and local poet/genetic engineer, Sir Joshua.
The highlights of the night were performances by Q-Nice, a performance of “I Believe I Can Fly”, sung by Joshua Delk, from Cleveland School of the Arts, and a dramatic interpretation from Our Children Can Soar.
Afterward I shared a presentation of my work and talked a bit about my experience of illustrating Ruby Bridges as she took her first courageous step into history.
Exchange of the evening
CSA Higher Campus student: “If you could trade places with any of the pioneers on the wall, who would you choose and why?” ME: “Ha! All of those shoes are much too large for me to fill, I have a hard enough time trying to walk around in my own.”
The evening was a success! I met wonderful people, sold some art, and sold all of the books that were made available by A Cultural Exchange.
The next morning I was greeted by Mrs. Carr-Jeter and escorted to the Cleveland Institute of Art where I spoke to a few graduating seniors in the illustration department headed by Dominic Scibilia and high school students from Cleveland’s NEXT generation program. I was slotted to do one talk but we were able to get two presentations in with two different groups. I was super impressed with the four students who presented and the overall quality of work from the illustration department.
Next we headed over to Woodland Hills Elementary School where I spoke to a couple of fourth/fifth grade classes. The class was full of very talented students who shared their enthusiasm of drawing with me. I read BIRD aloud, shared with them OUR CHILDREN CAN SOAR and talked about my life as an artist and the work behind the work.
I also met and was shown work by Cleveland’s own hidden talent, Mr. Ty Moore, teacher by day, artist by night.
Exchange of the day
AWESOME KID A: “What made you keep drawing from when you were a kid?” ME: “Do you like to draw” AWESOME KID A: “Yeah!” ME: “That feeling right there, that’s why I keep drawing. It never goes away even when you grow up. ”
After running around all day on red hot candy and two peanut butter cookies (inside joke for Mrs. Jeter), we slowed it down and enjoyed a wonderful meal at Cleveland Fish Market. Later that evening I met up with a good friend from SVA for some air hockey and finally called it a night.
Exchange of the night
ME: “What do you call cheese that doesn’t belong to you?” 16 year old KWANADA: (thinking aloud) “What do you call ch….NA-CHO CHEESE!!!!!!” EVERYONE: “pahahahahahahahahaha!”
The next morning I was escorted by John Jarvey a retiree from Cleveland Teacher’s Academy and member of the *Sugarman Children’s Biography Award Jury (which I will discuss more about at NCTE next week) to the Cleveland Museum of Art to see the Paul Gauguin, Paris 1939 exhibition. Mrs. Jeter met me back at my hotel for hugs and thank yous and I was off back to the real world.
Thank you to everyone who played a part in the trip! I had a wonderful time.
*special thanks to P. Cummings who reminded me that the 12th was on a Thursday and not Friday! wouldn’t have made it without you~