This summer, the Saline District Library is once again hosting an incredible collection of original artwork by children’s book illustrators. On loan from the Mazza Museum of Findlay, Ohio, this year’s collection ties in the library’s summer theme, “Libraries Rock!” Titled, “Bravo! Music in Children’s Book Illustration”, the exhibit features artwork from children’s books focused around musical themes.
Audra Eddy, Saline’s Youth Services Librarian, is the one responsible for writing the Shrandt Grant that allowed the Library to get the Mazza artwork for the summer. According to Eddy, “Ever since I started attending the Mazza Conferences, I was blown away by what I saw there. It became a dream up my sleeve to see if the Mazza Museum would ever be willing and able to organize an exhibit at SDL. It took a couple of years until the ball finally started rolling, and now it looks as if the Summer Show could become an annual event.”
Eddy was also responsible for selecting specific works to coordinate with the summer reading program theme "Libraries Rock". She explained the process:
“Part of my planning process is to come up with a way to tie in with the summer reading program theme. SDL has typically adapted to whatever the Collaborative Libraries Summer Program has set up.
“I pass my idea for a show on to Dan Chudzinski, the curator at Mazza, and he will then select potential exhibit pieces. From these selections, I fine tune how the pieces would complement each other and embellish the show's theme as I have envisioned it…
“This summer's theme is about music, and I knew from my visits to Mazza that there were plenty of art pieces with musical elements in some form. But the trick was to make it into a cohesive show, not just have random art pieces. That's when I decided to draw parallels between music and the book publishing world, with illustrations as the art form that binds the two together. For example, the cover of a book is like an overture. Both are in introduction to what follows, that is, the main body of the work of art, whether it is a book or an opera. I make the final selection of art pieces, depending on which ones are available and how they fit together with what I had envisioned.”
This isn’t the first time that Eddy has put together this type of show. “Last year, the summer reading theme was ‘Building a Better World,’ and it fit nicely to parallel that with the ‘building blocks’ of picture books.” She explains that there is more to children’s picture books than the general public might realize. “Not everyone realizes the different aspects of picture book creation and publishing. Picture books - as a unique form of art and literacy - have become a passion of mine, so I really get excited about different ways to share something about picture books with anybody - writers, illustrators, young readers (or listeners!) and old, visitors to the library. It was the perfect way to initiate an art exhibit, because it used picture book art. Illustrators are a unique group of artists, but a picture book is a dynamic interplay between the visual and the verbal.”
Eddy and the Saline District Library hope to “expand or embellish our annual Mazza summer show,” she says. “This summer we have added a reception with Michigan author/illustrator Matt Faulkner presenting. For anyone with a passion for picture books, writing for kids, or illustration, this is a great occasion to meet like-minded people.”
The Mazza Exhibit runs from June 2 through August 24 at the Saline District Library, with the opening reception held Sunday, June 10th, 2:00-4:00pm.