This March, the University of Findlay’s Mazza Museum will feature several award winning artists in the Catherine Freed Galleria. When the 2016 Caldecott, Carnegie, Newbery, and Pura Belpre awards were announced this year, Benjamin Sapp, director of the Mazza Museum and his team realized many of the award winners’ artwork is already a part of the Mazza collection.
“It gives us a sense of pride in the quality of artwork we have at the Mazza Museum,” said Sapp. “We’re pleased to see so many Mazza artists being recognized, and we want to showcase them so that our visitors can enjoy their work and understand the process involved in creating them.”
All of the artists and award winners being featured have a special connection with the Mazza Museum. In fact, many have been featured as keynote artists in the Mazza Summer or Weekend conferences in recent years. Artists who speak at the conferences—like 2016 Caldecott Award winner Sophie Blackall did in 2015—share personal stories about their work and often meet and sign autographs for participants during the conference. Many of last summer’s attendees were delighted to hear “Finding Winnie,” illustrated by Blackall and written by Lindsay Mattick received the Caldecott Medal this year, especially those who had her autograph their copy.
While here in Summer of 2015, Blackall donated art from her book “Mr. and Mrs. Bunny—Detectives Extraordinaire” to the Mazza Museum. Her work, along with other award winners and award winning titles, will be featured in the Freed Galleria this March.
The Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, honors the most distinguished contributions to American literature for children each year. While the American Library Association recognizes one Caldecott award winner, the committee also honors other books worthy of attention each year. Receiving Caldecott Honors in 2016, Kevin Henkes and Bryan Collier both spoke at Mazza conferences in past years as well. Art from Henkes’ books “Sheila Rae, the Brave” and “Lilly’s Big Day” will be featured in the galleria, along with Collier’s “Visiting Langston.”
Victoria Jamieson received a Newberry Honor this year for “Roller Girl.” Mazza will feature two works of art from “Roller Girl,” a graphic novel for middle-grade readers about friendship and surviving junior high through the power of roller derby. Jamieson draws from her experience as a skater with the Rose City Rollers roller derby league.
Rafael Lopez, who spoke at the Mazza Summer Conference in 2015, received the 2016 Pura Belpre Award for a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience. The galleria will include his art from “Tito Puerte,” “Mambo King” and “Book Fiesta.”
A portfolio from “Pigeon in the Hat” by Mo Willems will also be a part of Mazza’s galleria of award winners. Willems spoke at the Mazza Weekend Conference in 2012 and has received Caldecott honors three times in past years. This year the animated version of his “That is NOT a Good Idea” received the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children’s Video. He produced the video along with Weston Woods Studios, Inc.
While these works are to be featured this spring, Dan Chudzinski, the museum’s curator, is putting together a collection of award winners and award-winning artists as a featured exhibit for one the Museum’s galleries for the next academic year.
The Freed Galleria is located on the east wall near the museum’s entrance and serves as an introduction to the rest of the museum. The Mazza Museum is open Wednesday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m., Sunday from 1-4 p.m., and at other times by appointment.