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The Art of Story

Emerson Umbrella hosts reception for their current exhibition.

 

Here’s my question: Why is it that weeks with a Monday holiday, which are theoretically “short” weeks work- and school-wise, somehow seem longer? Is today really only Thursday? For some reason, it feels like it should be Friday already. And I sent kids back to school this week, so I should just be doing the happy dance and not counting the days until the weekend. Sigh.

Last week I went to the at the library, to welcome Assistant Library Director Deb Ervin. I got there toward the end, but there was still ice cream available, as well as an assortment of candies and toppings – a sweet way to introduce Deb to the community. And as usually happens when I go to a town event like this, I learned about something ELSE going on in the community: an exhibit over at Emerson Umbrella.

Emerson Umbrella is the very cool home of many and varied artists. They provide studio space, classes and workshops, and art exhibitions of all kinds. The current exhibition is “The Art of Story”, and it features six illustrators and their very different ways of telling a story. I went over to check it out, and while each illustrator has their own distinctive look, they are all engaging and fascinating.

There are framed originals all around, as well as some multimedia pieces by artist Max Payne – her hanging sculpture at the top of the stairs of a fish with a load of people sitting in its belly is titled “Mass Pike.” In the glass cases around the corner, there are illustrations and artwork, as well as each artist’s statement about how they got to their particular art. It’s really an informative glimpse into the mind of the artist, truly interesting when you’re looking at their creative output right there.

I love that it all has a touch of whimsy and humor. Artist Wayne Geehan’s books, for example, combine history and math: one of his characters is Sir Cumference. His studio has puns all over it. Deb Loverd’s illustrations are something she calls “portentious moments." In one, Prince Charming is standing over Sleeping Beauty, while considering his level of commitment.

The exhibit includes a table with the beautifully illustrated books of the artists; nannies and parents with small children have been stopping by and sitting down to read the books and marvel at the pictures. And though anyone can stop by anytime the Umbrella is open, there’s a special reception TONIGHT from 6 to 9 p.m., where you can not just view the art but meet and talk to the actual artists. This is a fabulous opportunity to ask all those questions you want to ask, but usually can’t because, really, how often is the artist just standing there??

Of course, there will also be some kind of food and beverage, also provided by the artists, which should make for a very interesting time.

Artist Ilse Plume

One of the featured artists of “The Art of Story” is Concord illustrator Ilse Plume, whose book The Bremen Town Musicians received the Caldecott Honor. Her recent pieces include some very delightful frogs, among other aquatic life. Ilse is willing to share her expertise by offering classes this fall at the Umbrella on “Making a Children’s Book.” If this piques your interest, get more information here; it could open up a whole new hobby. Maybe even a career!

And next Friday, Sept. 14, Ilse will do a reading of her latest book, The Year Comes Round: Haiku Through the Seasons, over at the Concord Bookshop. It’s happening at 4 pm, and is just one more way to support a local artist.

And one more

Artist Julia Miner once studied with Ilse; now she’s excelling on her own. Her current book, The Lighthouse Santa, takes place on a stormy Christmas Eve, with a little girl who lives in a lighthouse wondering if the Lighthouse Santa can get through the storm with his gifts. It’s beautifully illustrated, and a lovely story to boot, and you can see it over at the Umbrella.

 

Do you have something you would like to share? Contact me at stefanieac@comcast.net and I will be happy to help you spread the good news. And follow me on Twitter: @stefanie3131.

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