Tuesday, February 3, 2009
COMMUNITY/ Interview with the Mazza Museum
Image: Melanie Hope Greenberg and Anne Rockwell at the Mazza Museum in 2002.
Many people behind the scenes in the picture book arts community work alongside the authors and illustrators.
The Mazza Museum: International Art from Picture Books was founded in 1982 at the University of Findlay in Ohio and is the first and the largest teaching museum devoted to literacy and the art of children’s picture books.
I was fortunate to be a keynote speaker and workshop presenter at the Mazza Museum in 2002. That’s where I met my author, Anne Rockwell of GOOD MORNING DIGGER. We dedicated our book to Mazza’s curator, Dr. Jerry Mallett. The Mazza Museum also collects my picture book art. Their beautiful 2009 calendar includes one of my illustrations, "Balancing On Stars". I’m honored.
Image: "Balancing On Stars" copyright Melanie Hope Greenberg
Ben Sapp, Director of the Mazza Museum, was kind enough to let me interview him.
Q: Why is it important to create a museum specifically for picture book art?
Mazza: For too long the art in children’s books has been considered to be a “poor cousin” to illustration…which, indeed, itself has been considered to be a “poor cousin” to “fine art.” Of course, this is ridiculous and it became time to relegate this art to its true value. That is, to equal any art in quality, form and design. How unfortunate that in the past much of this art was lost to history since it was considered “disposable” art…of no use after the book was published.
It is our belief that our children deserve the best of all art and fortunately throughout modern history the “fine art” in children’s books have provided just such an experience.Therefore, it was high time to recognize these wonderful artists of children’s books and elevate their achievements to the height of all wonderful artists.
Q: Who are some of the picture book artists in your collection?
Mazza: We own the art of over 500 wonderful artists of children’s books. From the historical of Randolph Caldecott, Walter Crane and Kate Greenaway to the contemporary of Maurice Sendak, Marcia Brown and Wendell Minor.
Q: How many original artworks are in your collection?
Mazza: We now own over 4,000 original artworks in our collection.
Q: What does the Mazza Museum do to support young students?
Mazza: The Mazza Museum offered school tours for every grade level with optional art activities following the tours. There are also story times each month for the preschoolers. On the first Sunday of each month from October to April, we offer a literacy festival for the family called Funday Sunday. There are story stations, art projects and many other fun activities for the young child and their parents or grandparents. In the summer, we have a week- long art camp for those children who have completed first grade to fifth grade where they learn to make a picture book.
Q: When is your 2009 Mazza Celebrity Art Auction of original children's book art?
Mazza: The auction will be held during the week of our Summer Conference on evening of July 15. The Dr. Jerry J. Mallett Institute is an endowment set up so that the Museum will be around for many years to come. Not only will it be around, but so will the many educational programs that if offers. You will be able to view the artwork online and place a bid online.
Thank you so very much Mazza Museum.