A woman stands on the stage watching as the crowd gives her a standing ovation.
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The Carle Pays Tribute to Outgoing Executive Director Alexandra Kennedy

Rebecca Miller Goggins

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art lauded its outgoing executive director Alexandra Kennedy at a private Museum event held on Saturday, November 4, 2023. Based on the theme, “To New Heights,” the event was a thank you for donors who contributed to a special campaign to recognize Kennedy for 15 years of extraordinary leadership at the premier Museum, and an introduction to her successor Jennifer Schantz. The Carle surprised Kennedy that night with an incredible $240,500 raised for three institutional priorities and announced gifts of 47 artworks donated to the Museum’s permanent collection, all in her honor.

The funds raised in Kennedy’s honor by more than 150 donors will help The Carle grow even more inclusive through staff development and public programs; will support collections care for the 9,000 pieces in the permanent collection; and will provide free access to the Museum through a special program which welcomes visitors regardless of ability to pay. These priorities were named by Kennedy when asked what legacy she would like to leave. Her commitment builds on the legacy of co-founders Eric and Barbara Carle, and of Founding Director and Chief Curator Emeritus, H. Nichols B. Clark, setting the stage for the Museum to soar to even greater heights, and paving the way for Schantz to assume its leadership.

“We reached out to honor Alix and highlight the Museum at this seminal moment and the community responded in a big way,” said Director of Development Rebecca Miller Goggins. “The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is strong. We have continuity and we have solid leadership in place. The sense of camaraderie on November 4 was palpable. Our board, our staff, and our many supporters are all incredibly grateful to Alix and excited to know that Jen has the head and the heart to lead The Carle to a bright future.”

The monumental gifts of art to the Museum’s collection were donated by artists and collectors, and included a matching gift with former board members who are artists. Highlights of the new pieces include artworks by revered artists Ludwig Bemelmans, Lucy Cousins, Juana Martinez-Neal, Barbara McClintock, LeUyen Pham, Jerry Pinkney, Allen Say, Rosemary Wells, Mo Willems, and Pamela Zagarenski. Abelardo Morrell donated a print of the iconic photograph of Eric Carle’s shoes which graced the cover of the New York Times Magazine’s “The Lives They Lived” on December 26, 2021. 

See photos of the celebration. 

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 one million visitors. The Carle houses 9,000 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, exhibition 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.


Rebecca Miller Goggins headshot

Rebecca Miller Goggins

Director of Development
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