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The Carle Announces Plans for its 20th Anniversary Celebration

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art will celebrate 20 years—and close to a million art- and book-loving visitors—with special exhibitions and activities this summer and fall. Two decades after the Museum’s opening, Eric and Barbara Carle’s legacy continues to grow, bringing hope and joy to generations of young readers.  “We wanted a place where art made for children could be understood as art. It’s a passion for us. We wanted to pass that passion on,” Barbara Carle once said. 

“This is a major milestone for the Museum and for the children’s book community,” says Executive Director Alexandra Kennedy, who has led the institution since 2008. “The Carle has accomplished so much in just two decades. It’s known around the world now as a champion for picture books and their creators. We’re excited to celebrate with our visitors!” 

In June, the Museum kicks off six months of anniversary events. There will be several opportunities to join in the festivities—in Amherst, at the 2022 Carle Honors in New York City in September, and online through virtual programs. 

Celebrating Collage: A 20th Anniversary Celebration 

The Museum kicks off its anniversary with the exhibition Celebrating Collage: A 20th Anniversary Celebration opening, June 25 and on view through December 31, 2022. Inspired by the distinctive art of co-founder Eric Carle, the exhibition presents the work of 20 picture-book artists who specialize in collage. They range from acknowledged masters of the medium like Eric Carle, Lois Ehlert, Ezra Jack Keats, and Leo Lionni to vanguard artists of today, who continue to innovate and expand the possibilities of the art form. Together, the 90 featured collages tell the story of a style and technique that has been at the creative heart of picture books and visual storytelling for half a century. 

The following artists are featured in the exhibition: Micha Archer, Ashley Bryan, Eric Carle, Bryan Collier, Nina Crews, Lois Ehlert, Julie Flett, Ekua Holmes, Steve Jenkins, Ezra Jack Keats, Thao Lam, Leo Lionni, Oge Mora, Vanessa Brantley-Newton, Christian Robinson, Susan Roth, Melissa Sweet, Simms Taback, Ed Young, and Elizabeth Zunon. 

Opening Day Celebration

June 25, 2022, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm  
Meet five of the artists highlighted in Celebrating Collage: A 20th Anniversary Exhibition—Bryan Collier, Nina Crews, Thao Lam, Susan Roth, and Elizabeth Zunon—for the opening day of story times, gallery talks, and book signings. Enjoy family activities in Bobbie’s Meadow and collage-making in the Art Studio. Caravan Kitchen food truck will be on site from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. 

Eric Carle: Book Birthdays  

The Museum is not the only one celebrating an important birthday this year. So are many of Eric Carle’s books! The exhibition Eric Carle: Book Birthdays (September 3, 2022—March 5, 2023) honors 14 Carle titles marking their 20th, 25th, and 50th birthdays in 2022 and 2023. They include Have You Seen My Cat?; Walter the Baker; Head to Toe; Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What do you See?; and “Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,” said the Sloth; among others. Animals figure prominently in every book, underscoring Carle’s love of using nature to tell stories. Discover how his animals introduce concepts of movement, color, adventure, and family for young readers.   

The 2022 Carle Honors  

This September, The Carle celebrates exceptional individuals and organizations in children’s literature at the 16th annual Carle Honors Benefit Gala and Art Auction at Guastavino’s in New York City. On Thursday, September 29, 2022, at 5:00 pm, the Museum will honor the following: Artist: Faith Ringgold, Angel: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library—represented by President Jeff Conyers, Bridge: Ajia (阿甲), Mentor: Wade and Cheryl Hudson.  The annual event also includes a Silent Art Auction featuring works of art donated by the industry’s most celebrated artists, to be named at a later date. 

“We are delighted to celebrate our honorees with our first in-person celebration since 2019,” said Rebecca Miller Goggins, director of development at The Carle. “This year, we also plan to incorporate some exciting virtual components that were first introduced in 2020, making this our first hybrid fundraiser. When the pandemic sent us all reeling, we returned again and again to our deepest connections. The Carle fosters these connections through picture books, which bring us together and remind us to be our best selves. We can’t wait to celebrate the Museum’s 20th anniversary and those who make these books possible.”

The Carle Collection: Recent Acquisitions 

On November 19, The Carle Collection: Recent Acquisitions opens in the Central Gallery, showcasing more than 60 artworks added to the collection over the past five years, the majority through generous donations. The art covers more than a century of picture-book illustration. Older pieces include an 1899 ink illustration by Golden Age illustrator Charles Robinson and a 1941 watercolor by groundbreaking artist Wanda Gag—both new artists to the Museum’s collection. There are additional treasures by Remy Charlip, Raúl Colón, Lulu Delacre, Lois Lenski, Allen Say, Maurice Sendak, E. H. Shepard, Pamela Zagarenski, and others. 
 
On the Museum’s official anniversary—November 22—The Carle will publish hundreds of artworks from the collection on carlemuseum.org. The new pages will afford virtual visitors an opportunity to see and learn about the breadth of The Carle’s collection. Nearly 95% of the art has been gifted. “We are so grateful to all the artists, estates, and collectors for their generous gifts of art. It was something Eric Carle was very proud of but didn’t anticipate – the incredible growth of our permanent collection,” says Kennedy. 

About The Museum 

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is the international champion for picture books. We collect, preserve, and exhibit original illustrations, encourage guests of all ages to read and create art, and foster an ever-growing audience passionate about children’s literature.  
 
The late Eric and Barbara Carle co-founded the Museum in November 2002. Eric Carle was the renowned author and illustrator of more than 70 books, including the 1969 classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Since opening, the 43,000-square foot facility has served nearly 1 million visitors, including 50,000 schoolchildren. The Carle houses more than 11,000 objects, including 7,300 permanent collection illustrations. The Carle has three art galleries, an art studio, a theater, picture book and scholarly libraries, and educational programs for families, scholars, educators, and school children. Bobbie’s Meadow is an outdoor space that combines art and nature. Educational offerings include professional training for educators around the country and master’s degree programs in children’s literature with Simmons University. The Museum offers digital resources, including art activities, book recommendations, collections videos, and workshops for online visitors. Learn more at www.carlemuseum.org and on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram @CarleMuseum.  

For media inquiries, additional press information, and photo requests, please contact Sandy Soderberg at sandys@carlemuseum.org 

Explore Further

Event
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Join us for storytimes, artist talks, and book signings for the opening of Celebrating Collage: A 20th Anniversary Exhibition.
Current Exhibition
June 25 - December 31, 2022
Going to pieces at The Carle.