Ezra Jack Keats, “Crunch, crunch, crunch, his feet sank into the snow.” Final illustration for The Snowy Day, 1962. Collage and paint on board. Ezra Jack Keats Papers, de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, McCain Library and Archives, The University of Southern Mississippi. Copyright Ezra Jack Keats Foundation.
Ezra Jack Keats, “Peter’s mother asked him and Willie to go on an errand to the grocery store.” Final illustration for Whistle for Willie, 1964. Collage and paint on board. Ezra Jack Keats papers, de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, McCain Library and Archives, The University of Southern Mississippi. Copyright Ezra Jack Keats Foundation.
Gallery reading room as installed at the Akron Art Museum.

The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats

March 16, 2013 - June 30, 2013
Karl and Bertl Arnstein Galleries

"The Snowy Day marks a breakthrough in children’s literature because it features the first African-American protagonist in a full-color children’s picture book. Its importance can hardly be overstated; it inspired generations of readers and paved the way for multiracial representation in American children’s literature.

It also was among the first to bring a touch of realism to children’s books. The gritty urban settings of Keats’ stories revealed a landscape rarely seen in children’s books. It was a landscape Keats filled with mystery and stark beauty, and it has ever since enchanted legions of children.

The show features more than 80 original works, from preliminary sketches to final paintings and collages for the artist’s most popular books. Examples of his lesser-known works are also shown, those inspired by Asian art and haiku poetry, as well as documentary material and photographs."

-Dorothy Shinn, Akron Beacon Journal

The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats is the first major exhibition in the U.S. to pay tribute to award-winning author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats (1916–1983), whose beloved children’s books include Whistle for Willie, Peter’s Chair, and The Snowy Day, published in 1962. The first modern full-color picture book to feature an African-American protagonist, The Snowy Day inspired generations of readers. The exhibition features over 80 original works by the artist, from preliminary sketches to final paintings and collages, including examples of Keats’s most introspective but less-known output inspired by Asian art and poetry. A space in the galleries will be transformed into a reading room inspired by Keats's art and stories for visitors of all ages.

Exhibition Catalogue

The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats Exhibition Catalogueby Claudia J. Nahson with an essay by Maurice Berger and a contribution by Emily Casden

In 1962, Ezra Jack Keats's picture book The Snowy Day introduced readers to young Peter, the first African American protagonist in a full-color children's book, who traipsed alone through the snowy, wondrous sidewalks of New York City.

Coinciding with The Snowy Day's 50th anniversary, the current publication features more than 75 illustrations alongside essays by Claudia Nahson and Maurice Berger, who discuss Keats's Jewish background, his advocacy of civil rights, his inventive art, and his wide-ranging influence.

Hardcover
104 pages

Exhibition Catalogue -$24.95 + 6.95S&H

The Snowy Day and The Art of Ezra Jack Keats is organized by The Jewish Museum, New York, from the collection of the de Grummond Children’s Literary Collection of The University of Southern Mississippi. The exhibition was funded at The Jewish Museum through a generous grant from the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. Additional support was provided by the Joseph Alexander Foundation, the Alfred J. Grunebaum Memorial Fund, and the Winnick Family Foundation.

Its presentation in Akron is supported by major funding from GOJO, Inc, and the Robert O. & Annamae Orr Foundation.

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Additional support is provided by Day Ketterer Ltd., Attorneys at Law and Huntington Bank for the exhibition opening and Akron Children’s Hospital and Summa Health System for the exhibition reading room.

Related Links:

[ Ezra Jack Keats Foundation ] [ Educator Events ] [ Press Release ]

Ezra Jack Keats: Storytelling Resist

Take inspiration from the simple shapes and bold use of color in the illustrations of picture book author/illustrator Ezra Jack Keats with watercolor resist lesson. (Recommended for grades K-5).

Ezra Jack Keats: Mixed Media Storytelling

Explore collage and paper marbling techniques used by picture book author/illustrator Ezra Jack Keats with this mixed media lesson. (Recommended for grades 6-12)

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