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“Our founders, Eric and Barbara Carle, dreamed of creating a museum that would celebrate picture books and inspire a love of art and reading,” says Alexandra Kennedy, the Executive Director of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. “We’re very proud of the many ways the Museum has fulfilled that mission. In just ten years, The Carle has become a vital center for artists, writers, teachers, librarians, scholars, and families – a place where important conversations about the future of art, books, and education happen every day.”
As The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art plans to celebrate their 10th Anniversary since opening their doors in November of 2002, it’s comforting to look back at the core mission that the museum put forth – to inspire an appreciation and an understanding of the art of the picture book – and in most cases, it takes us all back to our first experiences with art as adolescents.
Eric Carle, the renowned author and illustrator of more than 70 books, including the 1969 classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has been the illustrator behind an abundance of those first-time art experiences, and his beloved book, “Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,” said the Sloth, published in 2002, makes for the perfect 10th anniversary celebration with an exhibit called The Birth of a Book and a Museum, that launched yesterday.
For Carle, 2000-2001 was a hectic time. Between meetings, planning, and decision making all necessary for the launch of the museum, things were moving exceptionally fast, and eventually, he decided that it was important to slow things down.
He headed into his studio, closed his door, and put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign. With this calm environment, he set forth to work on a new book, specifically, a new book about an animal who knew what it mean to slow things down; a sloth.
Thus, “Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,” said the Sloth tells the story of a misunderstood animal – an animal that actually isn’t lazy; he’s simply just living the way sloths live. At its roots, the sloth’s message is that we need to slow down every once and a while, take some time to think, and reflect.
The Museum’s 40,000 square-foot building houses three Galleries dedicated to rotating exhibitions of picture book art from around the world; a hands-on Art Studio for creating masterpieces of one’s own; an Auditorium for performances, films, and lectures; a comfortable Library for reading and storytelling; a Café with a vending machine for snacks; and a Museum Shop stocked with creative gifts and old and new picture book favorites.
So, if you’re looking to slow down, do a little thinking and reflection, celebrate the sloth’s message, and head over to The Carle, located in a beautifully bucolic setting in Amherst, MA, and check out The Birth of a Book and A Museum as it continues until September 2, 2012, featuring a selection of working draft “dummies,” as well as several preliminary dust jacket designs, and early versions of the book’s pages.
The Carle is truly a special place, a special place worth traveling to, and certainly, a MassFind.
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 West Bay Road, Amherst, MA 01002, Phone: 413-658-1100