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news release Opening Party for Ed Emberley Exhibition at the Akron Art Museum

For Release: December 14, 2017

Akron, Ohio—An exhibition featuring artist and beloved picture book illustrator Ed Emberley will open with a family-friendly party at the Akron Art Museum on Thursday, January 11, 2018 from 6:00 to 8:00 P.M. The museum plans art activities, storytelling and drawing demonstrations, as well as music, snacks and opportunities to meet special guests Ed and Barbara Emberley. Ed Emberley: Better You Than Me includes artwork from the artist’s personal archive of hand drawn sketches, woodblock prints, mockups and first edition books, along with never-before-exhibited drawings and prints.

Akron Art Museum Director of Education Alison Caplan said, “Party participants will be the first to experience Emberley’s original works up close and personal at the Akron Art Museum. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate that experience than allowing visitors to get creative themselves and participate in fun, hands on activities with talented local artists, not to mention meeting the Emberleys in person.”

Better You Than Me is created from a specially-curated selection from the first retrospective of Emberley’s work that was presented by the Worcester Art Museum in 2016 and 2017. Guest curator and mural artist Caleb Neelon will attend the Akron party and will demonstrate some Emberley’s drawing techniques. The Emberley and Neelon will also sign books, which are available for purchase in the museum store.

Kyle Jozsa of Wandering Aesthetics will bring some of Emberley’s imagery to life through interactive storytelling. Artist and educator Jennifer Davis, from SmART Studio will create thumbprint puppets with party-goers so they can get in on the storytelling action.

“Ed Emberley’s drawing books empowered a generation of kids to live creatively by taking simple shapes and lines and making them into elaborate worlds,” said Caplan. “I love his statement, ‘Not everyone needs to be an artist, but everyone needs to feel good about themselves.’ Seeing the work in person inspires that energy in both adults who grew up with the work and new generations of young artists.”

Emberley received the Caldecott Medal in 1968 for his picture book Drummer Hoff. He is also well-known for the 1992 bestseller Go Away, Big Green Monster. Generations of artists and illustrators grew up with his inventive teaching book Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Animals (1970). The book launched a series of colorful, step by step drawing books that taught aspiring artists how to draw animals, faces, boats, dragons and more using simple shapes.

The exhibition will contain interactive features, including a stylized reproduction of the artist's drawing and light table from his home studio—where visitors of all ages can try their hand at his techniques. Additional programming during the run of the exhibition includes a workshop for educators on February 24, 2018, hands-on school tours, and February education programs Creative Playdate: Playdough Love Monsters Inspired by the Art of Ed Emberley (February 1), Tots Create: Fingerprint Impression Art (February 3) and Kids Studio: Woodblock Printing with Ziplock Bags (February 3). Visit for details and to register.

Ed Emberley: Better You Than Me will be on view from January 11 through July 15, 2018.

Ed Emberley: Better You Than Me was organized by Caleb Neelon for the Akron Art Museum. Its presentation in Akron is sponsored by a generous gift from the Mary S. And David C. Corbin Foundation. Media support provided by ideastream®.

For more information about Ed Emberley: Better You Than Me at the Akron Art Museum, visit Join the conversation on social media with #emberleyakron and follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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